I recently found myself on scrolling through various fitness Instagram accounts when I realized that instead of being inspired like they claimed they wanted me to feel, I was left feeling like I needed to go for a run. I found myself comparing how flat my stomach was compared to theirs, how much muscle I had in my arms, and if I ate as clean as they seemed to.
In my depths of scrolling, I found accounts that highlighted their romantic relationships and while some accounts felt authentic, others made it seem like relationships will fail unless you’re teetering on the edge of a full blown sex addiction.
I noticed that as I continued to scroll, I started to feel worse and worse about myself and began comparing myself to the accounts I was following.
I was started to view everything as a competition, I looked at other girls and compared myself to them. This competition quickly became exhausting and then I had moment where I realized that comparing myself to these accounts did not make me a better person, and it certainly wasn’t making me happy. It was in this moment of clarity that I finally decided to toss in the towel. I started to realize that comparison was the thief of joy. Yes, you read that correctly, comparison is the thief of joy. When you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people, you lost sight of what makes you unique and why your journey is just as inspiring and worthwhile as others.
I didn’t want to live a life where I was upset because of what people I don’t even know post on social media. I didn’t want to let these strangers have any more power over my thoughts and feelings than they already had. Deep down, I knew that my life was great and that I was successful by my own definition of success. Yet, in an instant, these accounts made me question all of that. It all felt trivial, so I simply stopped caring.
I began being more mindful of the images I was taking in and questioning myself about how I was feeling when I looked at the images. I would gently remind myself on days where I felt the old beast of comparison tapping on my shoulder, that I am great just the way I am and that there is no need to change a thing just because of somebody’s Instagram story.
I have started writing down each morning in my journal, about something that makes me happy or something that makes me feel good about myself. I think of those who love me and what they love me for. I think of the moments in my life that have defined me and how they have impacted my life. I also think of all that I am grateful for.
When I am in those moments of deep thought, I focus on how I felt in particular moments. I think of how I felt accomplished, proud, playful, successful, curious, happy, and emotional. It is the small moments that help us appreciate the big moments and the moments in between these that mold and sculpt and chisel out our best selves.
These moments that I think of aren’t necessarily moments that I would post about on social media, rather, they’re moments that I shared with the people who I care about the most. The people who would truly care about my success.
Is it always easy to live a life without comparison? Absolutely not. There are still moments where I catch myself comparing myself to other people, but I do it a whole lot less now that I used to.
The freedom that comes when we let go of comparing ourselves to the highly unobtainable ideals that social media sets for us, is beyond anything I could have thought it would be. I’m happier, I’m less snippy, and I’m much more present in my day-to-day life.