The Comparison Game
I’m sitting on my couch, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram because my brain is fried from working a 16-hour day, when another perfect photo in Greece catches my eye. It’s followed by a picture of what I’d refer to as “popular girls” grabbing mimosas and another post promoting the same sweater I’ve already seen on six other accounts today.
Instagram and Facebook have been referred to as “highlight reels for the best moments in life.” We share photos in the perfect outfits, at the hottest dinner parties, and express our “wanderlust,” when the reality isn’t that perfect. Yes, you might have been invited to that exclusive dinner party but you only knew one person, the food was bland, and you spilled wine on yourself. Or maybe you were able to take that trip, but your luggage was lost and you spent half the time with a sinus infection. This, at least, is my reality.
Social media makes it easy for us to play the comparison game. Shaming us to throw pity parties for ourselves because our real lives aren’t as cool as what’s on our screens.
You always lose when you compare yourself to others.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, obsessively using social media has led to depression, anxiety and feelings of loneliness.
"wow, what an amazing opportunity for her"
When I start to have negative thoughts about my life because of the content I’m absorbing, I ask myself “why?” Is it the same person I am doing this with over and over? Is it a lifestyle I’ll never live? What about the photo they’ve shared is causing me to question myself in a negative way? Here are a few things I do to keep a positive headspace when using social media:
Change your perspective.
If I catch myself saying something negative, I turn it into a positive comment. Instead of “why is she getting to do that,” I say “wow, what an amazing opportunity for her.”
Follow people who align with your mission and goals.
I enjoy following people who inspire me. I’ve learned what content I enjoy and what my audience enjoys. Jenna Kutcher is my go-to account when I’m looking for that “you’ve got this, girl” kick in the butt I need.
Absorb content that betters you.
I like to indulge in content that moves me forward and makes me want to grow my business or be a better person. I also engage with this content so that the person or brand knows they are making a difference in my life.
Unfollow or hide content if I feel like a specific person is the root of my negative thoughts.
I even do this with followers who are saying negative things to me.
Take a break and detox.
Delete the app if you have to, but give yourself some time to disconnect every single day or even for a full weekend. The world will go on.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.
It’s an old adage, but very much relevant and something I truly believe on social media. An update to this: If you wouldn’t say it to them in person, don’t say it online.
At the end of the day, this world is filled with critics and people who just want to hurt others. Be the change. Share messages of love, positivity and confidence. You can do this with your captions, but also with comments on posts and stories.
In general, we need to stop living our lives by the number of likes we get and start focusing on what impact our content has on not only our audience, but on ourselves. Cheers to using social media to better ourselves and our world.