THE COMPARISON MONSTER, OR, HOW TO DEAL WHEN EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO BE DOING AWESOME.
The comparison monster. It is a devious being who gnaws at your self esteem just when you need it least. You’re having a bad day – you need a pick me up, so you start looking for stories of people who came out ok. People who had bad things happen in their life but managed to come out on top. You look for stories that inspire, and end up feeling worse than before.
Or maybe you just go to Facebook looking for a $#%ing cat video to make you laugh.
No matter what you’re looking for to change your mood, it still makes your mood darker.
So and so is getting such and such opportunity – or seems to be in a great new relationship. Somebody bought a house – another is excited to be pregnant.
Everyone else is doing awesome. Your life sucks.
You have been attacked by the Comparison Monster, and he’s kind of an a – hole.
You can combat the Comparison Monster by remembering these 2 things:
1) The majority of peoples’ lives seem better (or worse!) than they really are on social media. People cherry pick what they say (not on purpose, necessarily, but they do). Many people want you to think their life is amazing. Some people may want sympathy.
Not everything is as it appears on social media. Take everything with a grain of salt. Everything. I’m not saying people do these things on purpose, but it’s human nature to pick what parts of our lives we share.
2) Everyone is at a different place in their journey. Just because that person is having a great day doesn’t mean they don’t have financial stressors or relationship issues going on at the exact same time as they are posting a good thing. Social media is simplistic and linear. Real life is not. Many different things can be going on in a life that we do not know about.
I have days when I can’t deal. It happens. I have severe anxiety that occasionally makes it difficult for me to leave my house, let alone get out of bed. (Shout out to my dogs and my boyfriend for making me get up and go outside). That doesn’t mean I talk about it right at the moment it is happening on social media. I may post that I am excited about something I’m doing, or post something funny. That doesn’t mean I’m having a fantastic day or that my life is perfect. Conversely, if I post about anxiety or PTSD, that doesn’t mean that I am having a horrid day and that my life sucks. We can have multiple things going on in our lives – good, bad, sad, ugly, fantastic, but life is far too complicated to be realistically reflected in simple social media posts
Don’t bog yourself down in comparing your life to others’ – life is too short for that. Go outside if you can, take in some fresh air and shut off your phone. Have a real in-person conversation. Do not compare your worst days to other people’s best days. We are all at a different place in our journeys through life.