Comparison is the thief of joy. Once again, a bit louder for the people in the back, maybe? Comparison is the thief of joy.
It’s a simple quote and one that we can all take heed of. Throughout our lives, we compare ourselves to others - accomplishments, looks, athletic prowess, grades, popularity - and now social media exists as a tool to highlight the best parts of ourselves, meaning comparisons become stronger, and also more unfair. Because if you are comparing your average, everyday life to someone’s best bits filtered and cropped into a little square on Instagram - you are going to feel like you’re coming up short, right?
Read: Why Fearne Cotton talking about her bulimia battle is important
Measuring ourselves against others is how the human mind works, and sometimes it CAN be helpful and informative. Feeling inspired by someone else’s achievements can bring you motivation to improve your own life. But most of the time, comparisons are discouraging, and leave you feeling constantly inferior and miserable, they’re harmful.
And social media, which is constant and delivers generally positive, filtered information on our peers, is perfectly constructed to promote discouraging comparisons. So how do we overcome it?
Curate your feed
Someone stirring up feelings of inadequacy every time you see them on your feed? Unfollow them. Anyone who makes you feel bad in any way, unfollow. Even if that means you might potentially upset them - your mental health is a priority and you have to put yourself first. Instead, fill your feed with positive people who will show you the bad along with the good.
Read: Why you don't have to be underweight to suffer with an eating disorder
Redirect your attention
When you focus your attention away from social comparisons and towards the real world, you realise how pointless such activity is. Swap social media scrolling for something you love doing, or something that makes you feel good, like meditation or exercise.
Confront the comparison
Ask yourself why a particular comparison feels so unpleasant - does it reflect how you’re feeling? Perhaps you’re not doing what you want in life, or you’re not feeling very secure in yourself. This reflection allows you to work on the things that matter to you to allow you to get to a better place in your life.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone but yourself
Sonja Lyubormirsky, a psychologist at the University of California, said that “people who are happy use themselves for internal evaluation.” Basically, they focus on bettering themselves and their own improvement, rather than allowing others’ achievements to affect their own self-esteem.
I hope that helps. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s time to end the negativity that comparisons can bring to your life, and it’s worth working hard on - think of what other meaningful things you’ll be able to channel your energy into instead! Good luck!
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.
Social media is a brilliant way to connect people and create communities, but it also has a dark side. Join HELLO!'s #HelloToKindness campaign to promote positivity on social media. A kind ethos underpins everything we do at HELLO! and we urge our community to think twice before you post. Find out more about the #HelloToKindness campaign.