We’ve all done it.
Open up Instagram or Facebook, scroll through our feed, and cue the negative self talk reel.
“I wish my eyebrows looked like hers.”
“My business doesn’t have as many followers.”
“Why isn’t my stomach that flat?” (Real life thoughts by me).
Until it turns into an out of control spiral and you’re left feeling completely bad about yourself.
But it’s not all what it may seem, right?
I’ll be the first one to admit that comparing myself to others is easy to do and going down the path is one I am familiar with.
For months, I was being judgmental about our business wondering “why aren’t we gaining as many followers?”
“Our photos aren’t getting very many likes.”
It’s as though I started having imposter syndrome because I started questioning whether or not I was doing it “right”.
It was so easy for me to start placing blame for not doing as much as I “should” be doing.
But on a scale of the shoulds and shouldn’ts, where do I fall?
I like to think of social media accounts as an extension of us because that’s essentially what it is.
It’s the parts of us that we don’t mind everyone seeing, while there are parts of us that we just don’t care to share.
I’ll admit it, it’s easier for me to share the things I’m proud of rather than the ugly, depressing things life throws my way.
Since I’ve been on this emotional roller coaster of comparison, I can’t stand knowing that there might be someone out there comparing themselves to me based on a picture and a few words.
What I’ve found is, it’s helpful to understand what’s real and what isn’t.
What’s attainable and fitting for us and what isn’t.
Beginning to recognize that we are comparing ourselves is the first step and might be the most difficult one.
Emotionally triggering content can leave us stuck in that feeling and keep us there until we’re able to bring ourselves out of it.
So, how do we stop the social media comparison train?
Here are a couple of methods I suggest:
I would recommend playing with the face filters and seeing just how artificially altered you can become. Honestly, this can be a little terrifying and funny. Terrifying because you can become a completely different person in a matter of seconds, and funny because that doesn’t even look like you!
- Limit your screen time. Dedicate time per day to scroll. Since you’ll know what times you’ve set to scroll, you’ll find it easier to resist the urge to hop on and lose yourself. There are some useful apps for monitoring this, but find time to unplug and connect with those around you.
It’s time to connect face to face. I know with COVID-19 that may not be easy right now, but what would it look like to set up a facetime or zoom call with a friend or family member?
You’re not really missing anything. That FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) you’re feeling is there to keep you coming back for more! It’s a cycle we get sucked into sometimes.
Change your environment. Meaning, unfollow the people who trigger those unwanted feelings. What benefit is it serving you to continuously see their content?
You’ve identified your negative thoughts. Now where are they coming from?
For me, I can identify that I feel anxious and body conscious when I follow fitness Instagram models.
I would immediately think about the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.”
I shouldn’t be eating this, or I should be working out more then maybe I’d look like them.
What I’ve found is sometimes these women aren’t really working out, or that isn’t exactly what they look like.
In this case, the changes I made were all with my mindset.
Do I even have the same body type?
Is that achievable and right for me? Most likely those answers will be no, because I’m not them.
Unless I was an exact replica of this person how could I have the same body.
I’m going to throw some stats at you for a second just to show you that we’re not alone in this:
13-66% of Americans report their feelings of depression comes from the use of social media.
That’s a lot of people scrolling and comparing themselves to each other.
While it is unavoidable these days to not have a social media account, your usage can be managed and you’re not alone.
There are over 3 million people on social media platforms and that number will only get larger.
It’s time to get off the social media comparison train and be at peace with ourselves just the way we are.
You deserve it!