We’re all guilty of it. An innocent Instagram scroll in the morning before getting up leads to all the negative thoughts. We’ve all got that monster – the green one that appears at the most inconvenient times, reminding us to compare our lives to other peoples. That lovely jealousy that sneaks up on you and consumes you if you’re not careful.
Why aren’t I that skinny? Isn’t this their seventh holiday this year? Why doesn’t my house look like that? I wish I had her eyebrows.
And it carries on. The problem with this is it then seeps out into your actual life. You’ll start comparing yourself to people you walk past on the street, or your friends or family. With social media becoming as huge as it is, you cannot escape peoples lives – or at least the versions that they choose to show. I won’t lie – for the last year it’s been SO difficult watching friends and family get all the things we want. Sitting back and watching people buying brand new houses, brand new cars, having babies and moving out has been great fun….sarcasm intended.
Why do we as a society have this thing about making ourselves feel bad? Why do we feel it’s necessary to only post the good things in life, and never the raw, honest truth? I can’t remember the last time I posted an Instagram or Facebook picture that wasn’t at least a little bit staged or filtered. You never see a Facebook status of someone when their life isn’t going too great. And that’s because we don’t like to show that side of it, we don’t like people knowing that not everything is rainbows and glitter. Then there’s how we’re brought up and what people say around us. I think we’re conditioned from a young age to compare ourselves to others, at school you’ll be told “do what that child’s doing” and you instantly think well they’re obviously better than me. There are so many times in life where you can compare yourself to someone else and it instantly brings you down.
I’ll hold my hands up and say that I frequently compare myself to other people. Friends who don’t have credit cards to pay off, or who have their own place, or who’re skinnier than me despite only ever eating Big Macs. Ben has to talk me out of my lovely pit of despair at least once a month when I’m worrying about money and remind me that we’re saving for a wedding – of course we’ve got less money than other people at the moment!
It’s so incredibly easy to get sucked into this little world where everything and everyone is perfect and shiny, but you very rarely see the other side. The side where that instagrammer with 500k followers is paying for half of them. The side where people are sticking their brand new car on finance then worrying about the repayments. The side where people are struggling to pay their credit card bills and keep up their persona at the same time. I’m not knocking it – fake it ’til you make it and all that – I have a credit card that I’m still paying off (funny story, wasn’t paid by my old job and ended up having to take out a credit card to buy food that month) but sometimes it feels like people are in too much competition with each other to see who can have the best life.
I think the fact that nowadays it’s so easy to get validation in the form of likes and comments that when something good happens obviously you’re going to post about it, why would you post when things are going to shit unless it’s to get sympathy? Social media’s like a dangerous addiction, it becomes a game to see how many followers and likes you can get on various platforms, and you start to value your fake life a bit too much.
There’s so much crap going on we don’t need to add to it. Just because someone is doing slightly better than you doesn’t mean you’re not doing well. Success isn’t measured by what promotions you get, or what car you drive, all you can do is work hard and accept that some things take a little longer for different people. Maybe we need to take a step back and be a bit more honest about our lives…