Monday, 30 April 2018

Quitting Comparison In The Age Of Social Media


I’ve spoken previously about my issues dealing with negative body image, anxiety and low self-esteem (what a cheery start, eh!) and it’s taken me a long time to realise how connected these struggles are to comparison, both online and IRL. I wouldn’t describe myself as a jealous person, however I really believe in the age of social media it’s becoming more and more natural to feel a sense of envy towards another’s lifestyle, whether that be their relationship #goals, seemingly constant holidaying or even down to the smaller things like the bag they’re sporting that you’ve had your eye on for months. 2018 is the year I’m trying to channel a kinder attitude towards myself and my achievements (because if I wouldn’t dream of being so negative about others, I won’t subject myself to these harsh thoughts!) and therefore the realisation that so many of my problems stem from comparing myself to my peers and gorgeous gals in my ‘following’ list has prompted me to shake things up a little and consciously try to quit the comparison. I recently started following Lucy Sheridan on Instagram (the world’s first Comparison Coach don’t ya know!) and it’s small actions like this that I hope will leave me more informed on the, often damaging, thought processes I inflict upon myself every day. I’m more than aware that everyone and their aunt has written a post about comparison on social media, but I’m hoping as part of my journey to self lovin’ and battling my mental health demons I’ll be able to revisit these words whenever I’m feeling down and remind myself of the steps I hope will help! Fingers crossed this might also be useful for anyone else struggling with self-doubt or online envy- we can change our attitudes together!



One of the main reasons I lurve following other bloggers and influencers online is to see an aspirational yet attainable lifestyle- something I can hope to achieve myself in the future but that is still inspiring and not just your everyday beans and cheese on toast, do ya get my drift? I’m also absolutely here for celebs and influencers who jet-set the world, but I think if you’re already in a negative slump or feeling less than happy in your own life, it can actually be quite hard to see others live out the lifestyle you wish you had. This might sound selfish, but when it comes to self-care, I think being selfish is one of the most paramount realisations to have! Reassess your following list (I’m talking Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin’- THE WORKS) and even sift through your Facebook friends for a well needed clear out. I did this recently on Facebook and I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to get rid (soz ‘bout it) of the people from secondary school I had never even spoken to or the random FB friends you seem to have picked up over the years but you can’t quite place where from. A little online cleanse is never a negative and can leave your mind feeling so much less foggy when it comes to just focusing on the positives that will benefit your life, without leaving you feeling overly envious.

Of course following those online that lead lives a little more sparkly than our own is often a really inspiring thing and something I for one am a total advocate for! Channel your ‘following’ list by looking at the aspects that appeal to you and set your own achievable and attainable goals. I’m forever using the ‘save’ button on Instagram to document the outfits I hope to buy or places I want to visit, and I find doing so creates a more productive and positive outlook for using your time wisely online. There are so many things certain angles or captions can convey when often the reality is quite different, so do remember that these inspiring lifestyles may be far from how they appear (particularly when it comes to blogger trips etc- they are paid to attend and create content so are definitely not as relaxing as they may appear). I’ve been trying to look at things through less rose tinted glasses to recognise that I too could likely achieve similar things (albeit sometimes on a smaller level) if I really saved/tried to buy that dress/visit that restaurant/organise myself.



Following on from this is something that’s talked about a lot on social media but that still sometimes washes over my head when I’m feeling in a particularly sorry-for-myself mind-set- don’t take everything at face value online. It’s SO easy to look at another’s life and feel envious of their relationship, friendships or more material items, but it’s incredibly important to remember that 1. Not everything in their life makes it to the Instagram page and 2. even the things that do make it are often edited or a just a snippet of their life. Outside of the OOTDs and weekends away, almost everyone has struggles they’re simply not sharing and to be honest, that’s okay too! Although it can be difficult to distinguish between someone’s online life and someone’s real life, we often turn to social media for a welcome escape from the mundane or difficult every day, so we really can’t blame others for sharing their highlights reel- I know I’m certainly guilty of this too. Take the imagery that you see online with a pinch of salt and I guarantee you’ll be feeling more fulfilled in your own life in no time.


One of the learnings I’m desperately trying to channel most focuses upon the idea of gratitude and appreciating the little things in your own life! It’s so, so easy to take for granted the positives that make up your every day, because often no matter how great they are, they can become mundane or lose their excitement, despite the value they add to your life. Becoming more grateful can be as simple as writing gratitude lists on a weekly (or daily depending on how committed you are!) or just taking a moment when you're feeling down to focus on the good. It's definitely easier said than done, but actively trying to quash negative feelings can be really beneficial! Another important thing to remember is that no matter how great someone else's life looks online, it isn't necessarily something that would work for you! Popular trend or opinion isn't always gospel, so no matter how many bloggers you see in Santorini this summer or how many trips to Soho Farmhouse you feel you're missing out on, do remember that in reality a lot of these trends are likely not always as glamorous as they seem, and on the occasions that they are, your own life is also filled with happy, exciting and humbling moments- they just might not be as obvious. The world of blogging is an amazing one, and lots of influencers are given amazing opportunities to live out a lifestyle that is absolutely more glamorous and jam packed than the average person, but y'know what? That's okay! Everyone's story is completely different, and I think in the age of social media we're often envious of the lives of others because when it comes to blogging, those we admire are relatable and often come from similar backgrounds to ourselves. That's the beauty of it! Despite that, do try not to succumb to comparison and instead focus on gratitude for the life and loved ones of your own. We can build the life we want for ourselves and so sometimes a little healthy jealousy can be exactly what we need as motivation!

So in a world in which women are pitted against each other and the frenzy of Instagram can leave one feeling inadequate on a daily basis, I'm making a conscious effort to take back control and realise how bloody great (if I do say so myself) I'm doing, WITHOUT COMPARING MYSELF TO ANYONE ELSE. It's so easy to do, and I know it's caused me a whole lotta self esteem issues over the years, but here's to unapologetically being ourselves and celebrating the successes of other incredible women, without envy! We're ALL worthy! <3 



        

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