Ass kicker. Soul Crusher.
A chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out deal.
Making comparisons is nothing new. And, if you’re anything like me, you probably catch yourself falling into the ever-alluring yet emotionally-dangerous trap of comparing yourself to others. Frequently.
CAN I GET A YAAS?
According to social comparison theory, we do this in an attempt to make accurate evaluations of ourselves. But at what cost? In as much as comparisons (and role models) are both invaluable and essential, we can’t be driving ourselves insane shadow-boxing those whom we think have done better, accomplished more than us. Those whom we perceive to be in better, nicer places in their lives. Emulation is a tricky terrain. A slippery slope covered with the slime and mud of envy, with the immense potential of spinning us into a tail-chasing frenzy of self-doubt. Hello.
Social media hasn’t helped, really. Distance no longer exists save for (a) when we physically board a plane; or (b) the time it takes for our ISP to actually do its job. That which was once a beautiful gift in helping families and friends stay connected
can has (ironically) also evolved into a source of comparison, discontentment.
USING OTHERS AS A BENCHMARK OF OUR OWN WORTH
I don’t know about you but I dare say I’m guilty of this at least once a week. At the very least. More, if I were to be perfectly honest (she admits, shamefacedly). You know, the downside of writing these bare-all pieces is that I have to bare all, and let my own inner demons come out. Not always the easiest thing. Speaking with Fr Troy through a dimly-lit confessional box is so much easier. But I digress.
So again, role models are useful.
But comparison is a killer so CUT. IT. OUT.
Remember Mark Twain? I do believe he was really onto something when he said, “Comparison is the death of joy“. Don’t you agree?
We don’t need research to tell us that comparing breeds feelings of envy, low-self confidence, and depression. Or that it compromises our ability to trust ourselves, let alone others, and doesn’t that just form the loveliest of backdrops for a disaster just waiting to happen?
On the flipside, while downward comparison (comparing ourselves to those less fortunate) can provide some measure of benefit to one’s sense of self, even this form of comparison comes at a price. It requires that we derive pleasure in the failures or misfortunes of others to feel adequate, and that’s not cool. When comparing drives you to devalue not just yourself, but also others, you know it’s bad.
Let’s face it. What people present to the outside world is usually an edited version of their reality. Do you think they’d really tell you that they feel like a failure at work? Or that they suspect their spouse is having an affair and they have no idea what to do? And that they think they’re about to completely lose it?
OF COURSE NOT
We struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. Think about it. There’s a reason why it’s called blind envy, or was it blind jealousy? Either way, you know what I’m trying to say.
Mulling over how someone else appears to be reeling in the big projects; or seems to have so much money/friends/shoes/clothes; is apparently more successful – it’s just SO time-consuming and, really, quite ineffective. Being hard on ourselves actually zaps a lot of energy. It’s tiring and, worse, it’s a battle we’ll never win. I should know. I’ve been doing it for ever so long and I am officially done. I am tired of being envious. And constantly comparing myself with Trish, Dawn, and Heidi. So tired. Time to let them go.
Laced-Up Maxi Dress (Forever21) | Bucket Bag (The Zoe Report) | Sunnies & Trinkets (thrifted) | Heels (similar, Ami Clubwear) | Chokers (worn as necklace, Ettika)
SO, BYE BYE, LADIES, I BID YOU ADIEU
Before finishing, I want to share with you these thoughts I stumbled across recently. I think they’re quite possibly the best tips ever in helping me personally combat those vile little comparison demons, and maybe, just maybe, they may prove to be of some use to you too?
(1) Give yourself permission to want what you want
(2) Wish the best for those you’re envious of
(3) Get your own ass in gear
Envy is naught but a call to action
And remember to link-up?
p/s photos by Sofia Touassa
I link up here.
Hi Sheila, I do think comparison is part of human nature, but totally agree with the onslaught of social media not helping if one is prone to compare oneself to others. I think I did much more of this when I was younger, but still do from time to time. I do try a self-comparison when it comes to blogging, see where I was last year etc.. I find that this community is very supportive, which is something I truly enjoy about blogging. Enjoyed your article. I am loving this mix of soft Fall hues, the brown tones and the mustard maxi dress looks lovely! Have a wonderful weekend! xo
I needed this today as I have a friend or family members that seems to be doing so well in life that it makes me look at my own setbacks and wish i started out the way they did. I often wonder was it because I didn’t have enough money to get this and that started or the confidence. My hubby would agree with you in that we don’t know their circumstances so why should I be in want for what they have. Great post…there is more I can say but my computer is dying. WIll link up later. Rachel xo
Wise words, Sheela.
I always try to remember that for the 3-4 reasonably good photos I post on the blog or on Instagram, there are several hundred that didn’t cut it, and some of them were absolutely horrible. And if this is the case with me, it must be the same for every other blogger (well, maybe not the ones who have a professional photographer…). And I keep reminding myself that we all only post the best bits of our lives anyway. We all have a ‘public face’ that we show the world, and there are all sorts of insecurities and problems and secrets that we hide behind it. And if I do that, then other people must be doing it, too, And therefore it’s pointless to compare my life to someone else’s since I don’t know (nor do I want to know) the whole truth. Most of the time this reasoning works, but not always…
Oh Sheela so true and beautifully written from the heart. Your outfit is amazing and you look gorgeous!!! Yup I am comparing myself to you as I type this in my pajamas with gray roots and pimples on my chin XOXO. Joke, but not really you look amazing!! Stop by and join the linkup @ http://www.beauty101bylisa.com/2016/09/linkupwithlisa-68-graphic-tee-with.html
I always love your rambling, rantings, words of wisdom or whatever is the mood of the day. I agree that we all need to stop beating ourselves up. To be honest I don’t really have much time to think about whether I match up to the opposition (or even know who they might be), but if I did I’d be sure to temper it with the knowledge that, as you already said, we all put out our best selves on social media anyway. I live a very small life, in a very small place so that makes it much easier for me. And you my darling, really need to get on with just being you – the wonderful woman you are!
I read first gobsmacked then I go back and look. One moment please….
You don’t need to be envious of anyone. You are your own entity! I envy bloggers ability to do things more than their looks. How did you get such a great photo, how did you think to write that etc. But I will be happy just trundling along . Thank you for hosting xx
Thanks for linking up to the Top of the World Style fashion linkup party. This dress has a quite unusual color for you, but otherwise is so you!
Sheela, another heartfelt and candid post! I think as a blogger, it is in our nature to see how we measure up against our peers (especially those that started the same time) and it just kills me to see that my blog isn’t growing as fast or my social media doesn’t have as much follower or enough likes and comments. It really brings down self-confidence and undermine what I have already accomplished. I am with you so I need to take a page from this post and really reflect how much comparison has hurt me instead of helping me. BTW, your social media is amazing IMO!!!
~ xo Sheree
Posh Classy Mom
Fabulous dress, I love the color. Great post too.
Yes I agree with you, I have a few weeks feeling very happy and confident with my fairly new blog, then have a bit of a wobble, which leaves me feeling less confident, and worrying if I’m doing it right and should I continue – having the support of my family, who remind me why I doing this and who for …..Me! However it’s nice to get support and praise from fellow bloggers. Love this post and thanks. Jacqui
You look so graceful in this beautiful dress! Your sunnies are gorgeous as well. And of course, the content of this post was truly inspiring and positive. 🙂 Also, please check out my latest travel post: Tokyo Disneyland experience + a few tips. Hope to hear from you soon! ♥
Yes, comparison comes naturally to all of us, but it’s so not helpful…. It can really take the joy out of life and out of blogging. A blog and social media presence only shows one part of a person’s life. And it’s actually often quite difficult to know what’s “real” and what’s not… You are right in suggestion that we should all focus on ourselves and be happy for others without over-analyzing things…
Great dress! It’s a gorgeous color on you!
Andrea’s Wellness Notes
That is such a gorgeous yellow dress! Xo, Ellese
Great post, I love your dress!
This maxi is perfect for Fall I tell you. It is in such an unique color with those peek-a-boo little cutouts and the soft mustard color is ravishing on you and then you went for an almost all-monochrome look with cognac accents. You are a vision in this my friend. A sexy beast too. I loved it so much I had to feature it on my latest Thursday Moda, my friend.
Have a great weekend Sheela!
This look is SO stunningly beautiful. ❤
You look so pretty.
You look so pretty.