Comparison Is a Thief, and It’s Business Partner — Social Media — Isn’t Any Better
I’m just going to say it: comparison is a liar. It is a thief to work alongside our monsters and tell us, You should be ashamed of who you are because who they are is so much better.
But is that the truth?
Why are we so quick to ruminate on what comparison feeds us, yet so slow to put up a fight and question the notions convincing us you must…you should… only if…maybe one day…maybe never.
Perhaps it’s the glamorous view of social media to keep us stuck, validating the insecurities comparison whispers.
Whether or not your feed is full of memes, wellness inspiration, food recipes, family photos — each play a role in our psychology — how we see and think about ourselves.
Social media and comparison profit off of each other. Social media pulls the strings to get our attention with content that will stop our scrolling and transform us into pure obsession mode, and comparison piggybacks off the obsession to highlight our flaws and keep us coming back for more.
Both run highly successful businesses.
Especially during a global pandemic where people are even more isolated than before. In fact, shame is another business partner of these two.
I had a chat with a stranger yesterday. Since I just published by first book, she wanted advice on the route I took and what the experience was like.
Before our phone call, I made sure to give her the classic social media stalk because comparison, of course, told me I needed to make sure I was qualified to do that. So, it sent me to the dictator of worthiness which we all know is Instagram.
Within seconds, I talked myself out of the phone call. Her feed was clean and bright. She got hundreds of likes on every post. Her coaching business was official, and her website even more immaculate than her feed.
Comparison asked me, What is someone like her going to learn from someone like you?
It turns out, we both had much to learn from each other. It turns out, comparison lied and revealed itself as the thief we are all too quick to believe.
And social media too, uncovered itself as fiction — based on true events (maybe)— but certainly not fact.
When I talked with my new friend I learned she isn’t the person comparison and social media told me she is.
I quickly saw she has her own insecurities too, and she was asking me for advice because she wanted to do this big thing that scared her and I had just done that very thing.
She said, “In a way, I feel I’ve been procrastinating on what I really want to do, which is being an author and speaker.”
I told her it was funny she mentioned that, since I feel similarly, only I’ve been procrastinating on being a coach or mentor.
We both were doing what the other aspired to do, yet both of us felt stuck.
In the waves of vulnerability, comparison and social media lose all power and their deceitfulness becomes known; their storytelling, laughable.
My new friend said she was hesitant to call herself a coach since she isn’t certified. Then, she made it clear she still works a 9–5, even though I was positive she coached women full-time.
Suddenly, what scared me in the beginning lost all power and I felt free.
In Good Enough, I write that, “Vulnerability opens the door to healing and through healing we start to taste freedom.”
To overcome the madness of comparison and social media, we must talk about the roadblocks in our way; our insecurities, our assumptions — and yes — our fears.
Vulnerability keeps you living in the present, unlike comparison and social media. Their goal is to keep you living in the future. Always striving for the next best thing and relying on them to tell you when you’ve “won.”
But there is no finish line with comparison and social media. They will always drag the race out longer and longer, until you are lying face down on the track, exhausted and upset you fell for their nonsense once again.
The next time comparison invades, ask yourself these five questions:
- What accomplishments have I already achieved?
- Is what I’m believing about myself fact or fiction?
- How can I accept my insecurities today?
- Is there anyone I can talk to who might be feeling similar?
- What would I tell a friend in my shoes? (Tell yourself that same thing!)
Oh, and while you’re at it, give yourself a break from social media. Go on a walk, take some deep breaths, and remind yourself you’re a unique badass with our own path and purpose.
To end, I want to leave you with a beautiful quote from Amy Morin. In 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, she writes:
It’s easy to think someone has a great life from the outside, but you never know what sort of battle they’re fighting on the inside. It’s not fair to compare the way your life really is to the way you perceive someone else’s life to be…Life isn’t a competition. Trying to outshine everyone will drain your mental strength. When you give up comparing yourself to other people you’ll be free to focus on your best effort. You won’t feel threatened that other people are somehow going to beat you.