Theodore Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy. While I believe that to be true, I also believe that comparison robs us of much more. It takes away our time, peace, confidence, self-esteem, gratitude and overall mental well-being. Comparison has become so much more than a sideways glance, fleeting desire or wishful thought. It no longer ruins days and weeks; it ruins LIVES.
We are bombarded by everyone’s filtered highlight reel of their life on social media and it’s more than any of us can take. Honestly, I don’t care how beautiful, thin, successful, wealthy, intelligent or physically fit you are, comparison is stealing your life and it’s time to take it back.
This entire month, we have been discussing ways in which we can love one another and ourselves in the best way possible. Self-reflection, self-care, love languages and meditation are amazing ways to love well, but I couldn’t help but think something was missing from our blogs. This last week, I found myself scrolling through social media and a feeling of self-loathing washed over me. I felt insignificant, unworthy and lacking in so many ways in which I couldn’t even put into words. I continued scrolling and making a mental list of all the ways in which I could be better. I don’t think it was even conscious. We have become so desensitized to the constant stream of negativity that we pour into our brain, but you guys, our brain is believing all of it! We think it’s not affecting us, but it is in a dramatically, negative way. The feeling of inadequacy that I was left with was REAL. I felt negative, short tempered, sorry for myself, angry, grumpy with everyone around me and I felt myself running straight for a day of self-sabotage. You know; the workout, the diet, the positivity, the meditation, the love was all on its way out the door which is the exact OPPOSITE of what I needed to feel better.
Comparison is a human instinct and it can drive us to work harder, but it’s gotten out of hand. Smartphones and social media platforms aren’t going anywhere; it’s how we communicate, get our news, keep up with our children, friends and family, work, listen to music and navigate our way to new places. We have to find a way to use them for good and not evil.
We already know the answer. Take the apps off of our phones, set timers for how long we can be on social media, monitor our time so that we feel bad about ourselves and we stop (that one has worked really well, NOT), delete our accounts, unfollow the people that make us feel bad (that would be everyone). These things aren’t helping so we need to take another approach.
I will tell you right now that I don’t know the answer. I can only tell you what helps me. It might not help you. You might need to find your own way, but listen clearly: YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO RECLAIM YOUR JOY, HAPPINESS, TIME, PEACE, SELF-LOVE, CONFIDENCE, GRATITUDE AND MENTAL HEALTH; YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
So what am I doing? I am filling my cup with water, workouts and positive words. I have started writing in the morning before I ever look at my phone. I HAVE DECIDED THAT I GET TO DECIDE how my day is going to be, not some girl in her sports bra on Instagram who has never had a carb, let alone a baby. I am only posting positive words on social media and possibly some wedding photos because, hello, my daughter’s wedding brings ME joy and happiness. I am deciding what social media is going to mean to me, not the other way around.
What I have found in the last few weeks is that by taking these actions I gain perspective. By working out first, I know that I have taken action to better myself. My endorphins help my brain to know what’s true. My story is obviously not the same as the 25-year-old on Instagram so why would I expect my abs to look the same?
The point is that we need to find the things that circumvent social media. We need to find ways to really LIVE our lives in real time and not through social media posts. And yes, let’s set some time limits on mindless scrolling and spend more time with the people right in front of us.
As we move through our last week of February and our focus on “being loving and kind” decide how you want to be as you move forward. What are some things you want to take with you and what are some things you’d like to leave behind? I hope that part of what you choose to take with you is joy, happiness, time, peace, self-love, confidence, gratitude and your mental health.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G