Comparison: One Year On

by blogger Julia Whiting.

An entire year has passed since I wrote “Comparison: How to make sure you allow yourself a level playing field“. It covers the issues associated with comparing ourselves to others and how to overcome the negative thoughts we often curate as a result.

We live in a society where the sharing of information online is part of our being. It has pushed us into making a brand for ourselves which comes from showing the best and happiest moments of our lives. It is a great way to document memories and experiences which can inspire and motivate others. The downside is that we only see the highlight reel of other people’s lives but have the tendency to compare our entire lives (including the good and the bad) unfairly, to a snapshot of someone else’s.

Our parents created photo albums, which were kept at home in the bureau to be shown to family and close friends after a holiday or during a special occasion. Photos and memories from our generation however, are documented online, mostly publicly and can be viewed directly beside other people’s photos and posts. Naturally, this easy access to people’s lives and more specifically the highlights of said people’s lives, are used as a benchmark for our own. This bombardment of information is unlikely to stop and therefore we all need to be able to manage it, make it useful and acknowledge its impact on our lives.

My previous post offered some tips on how to combat the negative thoughts associated with comparison and I am back again, a year on, to discuss the changes I have made using these tips.

  • Identifying the sources of comparison. I unfollowed! The first and most effective thing I did was to unfollow the accounts on social media that were fuelling the self-doubt. This may seem petty and some of the accounts I unfollowed belonged to people I know well – but what is the alternative? Feeling rubbish every time that person posts a bikini selfie or a photo of their new expensive bag? No! I want my social media to be inspiring, positive and enlightening. So, I started following more travel, daily positive quotes, interior design and food accounts to ensure that my feeds were filled with things I am interested in and feel positive towards. I have certainly noticed the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I still compare myself to others, but I am aware of it and have other positive things on my news feed to distract me. It’s all about balance!
  • Comparing my current self to my previous self. I’m not going to lie, but I forgot to do this. However, reading the article I wrote last year made me proud. It made me realise how well I could summarise a pretty complicated thought process. I also noticed how relatable my article was and how simple the tips were to apply to real life. I could also see that my writing is better now than it was back then – and this is perfect. This has shown me the power of keeping the comparisons level and fair. I need to appreciate how far I have come and so should you!
  • Appreciating what you have. I still have some work to do here, but progress has most certainly been made! It is not something that has changed overnight, but I have been able to encourage myself to think about the good in a situation, more often than not. I started with encouraging others to be positive in a bid to follow my own advice. I found that looking for the positive in other people’s troubles helped me find it in mine. Also, hearing and listening to other people’s struggles helped me appreciate the happiness in my life, whilst helping someone else. I hope that the same people can help me stay positive in the future if I am unable to use my own words.

Although I still have some more improvements to make, I feel as though I have greatly improved my understanding of how comparison affects my perspective. Without this understanding and acknowledgement, I would have been unable to make the above adjustments to my way of thinking. The main thing to remember is that with the amount of people in this world, if you compared yourself to every person you came across you would have no time to focus on life and your own being – what a waste that would be. Everyone is unique (I know it is a bit cliché to say it) so let others inspire you rather than diminish you.

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About the author: Julia Whiting is a wellbeing, fashion and lifestyle blogger. Working in the financial services industry after completing a BSc in Economics at the University of Birmingham, Julia is currently developing her journalism skills alongside her day job. Suffering with anxiety and low self-esteem for most of her young adult years she speaks from experience about the issues related to these personality traits and how to cope. Wellbeing posts on her blog focus on positivity and self-improvement allowing you to take charge of your own destiny.

You can follow Julia on Twitter @juliawhiting or visit her website at dejaju.wordpress.com.

image: Jealousy by Luke Saagi under Creative Commons license