Are you the Queen of Comparison?
How many times have you looked at someone – a friend, neighbour, colleague, school mum, family member – and said to yourself “she’s got it all, she’s got it made, she’s got such a good life”? And then turned round and compared her life to your own life?
We all do it, whether it’s because of what they share on Facebook, how they’re dressed, what house they live in, what car they drive or how their kids behave. We’re convinced we know what is happening in their lives and that it’s perfect.
But the worst thing then is that we compare our own life – which we know inside out and back to front – to this other “perfect” person’s life. This life of which we only know and see a snapshot (and usually the rose-tinted one that that person presents to the world).
Social Media and Comparison
I used to be addicted to social media. I couldn’t breathe properly first thing in the morning until I’d had had a quick scroll through my Facebook timeline. If I woke up in the middle of the night I’d open up Twitter and see what I’d missed.
I’ve spoken several times about my digital detoxes and time off from social media, but I’ve not spoken about what was pushing this behaviour.
It was that old devil, Comparisonitis.
How did I compare to others? Was my life, my relationship, my parenting, my everything “ok” in comparison to others?
So much of my time, online and offline, was spent in comparison to friends and strangers.
And if I failed in my comparison. Wow. The kick in the guts that that feeling produced is not one I’d like to replicate.
This led me down a dark path a few years ago. Where everything “me” seemed to be failing, as I couldn’t live up to the impossible comparison of others.
There was always a better mum, wife, daughter, sister, employee, blogger, writer than me. Everywhere I turned I found someone doing “life” better than me.
So I doubted myself. Every little mistake became colossal as I was clearly the only one screwing up in that way.
It took me a long time to realise that nobody out there was perfect, and we were all just presenting our best selves.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Theodore Roosevelt was allegedly quoted as saying “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I’d say it’s far more true today, in our 21st century world, than it was in his.
We compare our jobs, parenting, homes, cars, outfits, body shape, hair and so much more to those of people we know in real life, as well as those we’re friends with online, and even worse, celebrities.
The media tells us we should be more like the aforementioned celebrities. Skinnier, prettier, richer, with glossier hair, more shiny objects and happier children.
We keep hearing that depression is on the rise and it’s not really surprising when we live our life in constant comparison.
Why YOU need to Stop the Comparison
We need to learn to filter what we see and hear from others – a social media feed is not reality.
Your colleague’s account of her weekend is filtered to share the good, funny, fun bits.
When we tell friends about our family holiday we rarely share the bit when we wanted to kill our other half, instead we talk about (the 5 minutes) when our kids played nicely together.
You need to remember that all these stories are filtered before they reach you, and it’s necessary for you to filter them some more. Remind yourself that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Now I’m not saying only share the bad stuff and hide your good, happy times away. We all want to see smiles and sunshine, but we must stop falling into the comparison trap.
Just because someone looks outwardly happy doesn’t mean they are smiling on the inside.
I know women who are beautiful, have great jobs, lovely houses, a husband and the perfect family, but who are falling apart on the inside due to infidelities, family illness, financial instability and worries over relationships with kids.
What you see on the outside is not necessarily what is happening on the inside. Remember the swan, who glides so gracefully across the top of the water, but who is paddling like a maniac below the surface.
You just don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
So stop the comparison today.
Be grateful for what you have in your life and take steps to improve the bits that don’t make you happy.
Learning to deal with Comparisonitis is a big part of my Life Reboot Camp online programme, which launches on 20th February. Find out more about Life Reboot Camp here.
During this 6 week course I’ll be helping you to hand back your crown as the Queen of Comparison, and to step forward in YOUR life, the one you love, warts and all. Make sure you don’t miss out and sign up to Life Reboot Camp here.
Do you know someone who suffers from Comparisonitis? A friend, sister, colleague or neighbour who wishes she has someone else’s life? Share this blog post with her so she knows she’s not alone. Because life is so much better when we stop the comparison.
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