There’s a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt that I love: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
This is probably more of a girl thing (so bear with me guys). I’ve always lamented that I don’t have beautiful wavy thick hair that will hold a curl and can be cut into nearly any style and look great. I’d notice women who have the kind of hair I wish I did, and the comparison monster would rise up and point and laugh at my non-perfect hair.
I’ve also often compared myself to those who excel at math, people who are preternaturally calm (or as I like to refer to them: walking Valium), or are wildly popular and everyone likes them. Clearly I bestowed great significance upon these particular traits, traits I felt I completely lacked and therefore must somehow be less of a person, or had less value.
But guess what: I excel at language arts, have deep empathy for others that makes me be – ahem – not calm, and have a core group of my own love-you-no-matter-what friends that think I’m pretty great even if somehow the entire United States missed that memo.
Then one day social media showed up and slowly insinuated itself into our everyday lives. I was an early adopter, specifically on Facebook. Now I make a living in the world of social media. And I love it. I truly do.
What happened over time is that social media – a fantastic tool to keep in touch with friends, family, businesses and causes you care about – became the perfect breeding ground for the comparison monster.
If you’re a user of social media, you are inundated every single day with posts showing peoples’ lives – the vacations, the weddings, the new babies, the promotions, the weight loss, the career accomplishments, the beautiful thick wavy (perfect) hair, people with mad math skills – and the wily comparison monster can rise up and whisper in your ear that you are somehow lacking. Look at you, you’re not having a wedding – you’re getting a divorce. Your babies aren’t new; they’re teenagers currently exhibiting unpleasant teen stuff you forgot existed and don’t know if you’ll survive. And when was the last time you went on that 14-day Caribbean cruise? Oh yeah. Never.
Didn’t the mere reading of that paragraph steal some of your joy? Me too.
Social media can absolutely do that to you, personally and in your professional or business capacity.
Let’s take a look at that question.
Most people post their happiest, most interesting, or most shocking (hey look at my broken pinky toe angling straight out to the side) stuff. Yes, there are the chronic complainers and the “vabuebookers” and the show-my-cleavage-again types, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice this to be true. Because you’re human, you’ll take particular note of those things you either long for or feel you lack or “should” have.
If you follow a business account or popular brand name, they post their most popular products, the most positive testimonials, their best photos, or their most accomplished employees on their social media accounts. Of course they do. You wouldn’t follow them if you only saw the bad stuff.
In my world, super successful social media people appear to handle multiple social media accounts with ease, blog every single week no matter what, are up on the very latest and greatest tools, and bring in clients so easily it’s like they’re the latest hot nightclub everyone wants to get into. It is way too easy to compare myself to these people and see something I think is insufficient. Even I can lose perspective from seeing stuff on social media, and I work in this business.
What can you do defeat the comparison monster and keep social media in perspective?
It’s simple in concept, but takes diligence in action.
Find your gratitude every day. Write it down. Review it when the monster tries to knock on your door.
Here are a few of mine:
- I have beautiful silky hair that many have complimented me on.
- I am compassionate and loyal.
- I have long-term friendships from when I was in second grade.
- I have mad spelling skills. Take that, math.
- I’m successful in my business despite several challenges, and I grow every day.
- I’ll go on that Caribbean cruise and nobody will stop me. Back off, comp mon (comparison monster).
Try it for a week and then share with me how you’re doing. Let me know if it works for you as well as it does for me.
Start now by sharing in a comment what gratitude you have today.