Comparison is the thief of joy.
Repeat that to yourself. Over and over if you must.
Just this morning I found myself looking at the popular tags on Instagram and seeing photos that had been posted just hours earlier with thousands (or tens of thousands!) likes. And I felt jealous. I felt like maybe my photos aren’t good enough, or styled enough or just… not enough.
It’s fun to share the pretty and the happy parts of our lives. People like to brag and show off. We share our joy or our good fortune because it’s fun. We’re used to celebrities living seemingly charmed lives, but now it feels like everyone has it better. Another blogger who’s famous out of no where, the woman with the perfect kitchen or just some girl who has it all.
Let’s not lose sight of the full picture. We don’t know about the debt or the depression or the messes hidden in the corner. We don’t know about the self esteem issues or health problems lurking in the background. Simply put - we just don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life behind the scenes. Maybe posting pretty pictures helps someone cope with a huge hardship. People aren’t posting to make other people feel bad about themselves, right?
It’s hard to remember when it feels personal. You follow someone on social media long enough and you feel like friends, even if you’ve never met before (I do this all the time!) And it can also be hard when all you see are beaches and smiling besties and fresh peonies next to expensive sunglasses and a plate of macrarons. It’s easy to think your life could be better if you had those things. Or if you had more likes and hearts and comments from strangers. But at the end of the day, you can’t take those tokens of validation with you. When your phone is dead or there’s no wifi around, do those things really make us happy? Can a photo of that dessert ever live up to actually tasting it? Will you sleep easier after you’ve filtered and cropped bits and bites of your life? Will your happiness tick up higher and higher as your follower count grows? We all know the answer is no, but that doesn’t stop us from measuring our self worth with online acceptance.
It’s a nasty pattern and I’m ashamed to say I’ve played into for a long time. I want to be liked! That’s human nature! I like pretty things and taking pictures of them. I like sharing! But I also know I’m more than my Instagram account or twitter followers or page views. It doesn’t stop me from having days of jealousy or comparing other people’s happiness to mine. But then I remember this - I have value far beyond what I leave online.
And so do you. You are not your blog or your facebook page. You’re a three dimensional person with a personality that can never be captured in 140 characters. You’re a daughter and a friend, maybe a wife or girlfriend or a mother. As we look through the window of the social media world, with beautiful Holiday decorations, fancy food, endless gifts, let’s try not to compare. It’s possible to say to “good for you!” and mean it. Look inward to your own good fortune and instead of counting likes and followers, count your blessings.
You are enough and you’re worthy, just the way you are and no amount of online likes will ever change it.
52 Thoughts is a year long series to explore topics that matter to the women who read this blog - the things you might talk about with your best friend or wish you could discuss more often.