I’m an introvert.
I do enjoy being around other people, especially people I know, but if I had to choose, I’d rather be in my bed, under the covers, watching Netflix and eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, one of God’s many gifts to man.
As an introvert, I spend so much time thinking, analyzing and playing situations back in my head over and over. again. So you can imagine how hard it used to be for me scrolling through social media, Instagram especially, to see a ton of highlight reels, #takemeback hashtags, not-so-candid photo shoots and flower crown filters.
Don’t get me wrong, I think social media is a beautiful thing, and I’m usually one of the first people to comment YAAAAASSS or post five kissy face emojis under my friends’ photos, but it only takes a second to get sucked into all the hype.
As I looked through the Explore page, I found myself asking questions like "What do I need to do to look like this person?" And came up with reasons why that person had to be so much better than I was.
But that’s not the headspace that I wanted to be in, even though so many of us allow ourselves to read into these irrational thoughts every day.
I knew that if I didn't kick this unhealthy habit, I’d completely lose myself. Here are the reasons why.
I WAS WASTING MY TIME AND ENERGY
Instead of pouring into myself by doing things like practicing self-care, reading, learning something new or refining a skill, I was wasting my time and exerting my energy just to get a peek into someone else’s life, or rather what they wanted to present on social media that day.
I WAS PULLING MYSELF DOWN IN THE PROCESS
It was easy for me to see someone in a photo and put them on this mental pedestal because I felt like they were so much better than me or so much farther along in life. I thought there must be something wrong with me if they looked like that and I looked like this. If they got to go on this awesome trip that I couldn’t afford to even think about at that point in time.
I viewed myself as less than, and I played those thoughts back over and over and over again in my head. To the point where…
I WAS BEGINNING TO LOSE MY SENSE OF SELF
I was “getting lost in the sauce,” except my idea of the sauce was someone else’s photo album. Because I spent so much time comparing myself to others and getting lost in the negative emotions that I’d created and allowed to run amuck, I began to lose my sense of self, and who I was at my core. I questioned different aspects of my personality and wanted to change just so I could be closer to a version of someone I saw on social media. If I would have kept this up, I would have completely lost myself in an effort to be someone who I wasn’t born to be.
But the fact of the matter is that no two people on this earth are the same. I had to re-ground myself and remember that I was born to contribute my own unique gifts to the world. Only I can walk in my shoes. Only I can live out my journey even though it’s not always bright and filled with laughter. Sometimes it’s filled with tears. Sometimes it’s filled with anxiety or uncertainty or fear. Sometimes it’s filled with unanswered questions.
But my journey is my journey. I’m lucky enough that those tears or thoughts of uncertainty were almost always followed by some sort of reassurance or laughter, deep realization or a heart-to-heart with dear friends. Sometimes they were even followed by a good nap or a great night of sleep after which I was a little more rational or forgot what I was so upset about altogether.
If you find that you have a tendency to compare yourself to others, whether that’s on social media or in real life, realize that what you have to offer the world is valuable. It's unique. The world needs what you bring to the table, and you owe it to everyone else on this planet to give yourself, whether that’s with a smile, kind words, or by sharing your gift.
Also, realize that those people that you're consumed with on social media are just that, people. They are human like you and me. They experience setbacks and disappointments just like we do. So decide if you want to like their post or not and keep on scrolling.
And those moments when you feel even the smallest desire to compare yourself to someone else, take some time to appreciate who and where you are at this moment in your life, how you’ve grown, and how you’ll use what you’ve learned so far to build your future.
If all else fails, hit that unfollow button. I promise you’ll be happier as a result.