The Comparison Game
The Comparison Game is my favorite game to play when I want to feel like day old broccoli, spoiled milk, or moldy cheese.
It’s the game I play when I want to feel like my life just isn’t measuring up to the other lives around me. You might be familiar with it.
Social media feeds my comparison addiction. All I have to do is tap my finger on an app on my phone, and boom! Instant shot to the self-esteem. Sometimes it feels like the world around me is moving at lightning speed. Engagements, pregnancies, babies, vacations, home buying, new jobs, new cars, weight loss – it’s all there with the tap of one button.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all of the positive things that are happening to the people in my life. I truly believe that social media gets so overloaded with negativity, that seeing all of these wonderfully positive happenings makes ME happy.
I just have to know when to stop obsessing. You might know what I’m talking about.
It’s 10pm on Saturday night, and I open up Snapchat. Instant access to what other people are doing on Saturday night, and usually, it’s not videos of them sitting at home watching Sing (great movie!) with their dog while scarfing down a bowl of microwave popcorn. It’s Sunday morning. I wake up, and decide to browse Instagram. Oh hey, a girl I went to high school with just posted her wedding photos, and now they’re buying a house! It’s Wednesday afternoon, I check Facebook while I’m at work. Look, a new status: “so and so is traveling to (insert really awesome place here).”
And it goes on, and on, and on. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what people have posted on social media. All the hashtags, the perfect pictures, the cute filters, the likes and comments. Pretty soon, I’ve traveled DEEP into the heart of social media. I’m now checking out my friend’s-cousin’s-boyfriend’s-older sister’s Instagram feed and obsessing over why I’m not on a great vacation, or why I’m not part of the #fitfam,or how she got her hair so perfect.
It’s beyond frustrating, fills me with negativity, and makes me feel terrible. And yet, I keep doing it to myself. It’s easy.
It’s easy to compare myself to someone’s “highlight reel”. The quick glimpses into the perfect parts of their lives. It’s easy to become jealous. It’s easy to feel like I’m not measuring up to everyone else when I check out social media. It’s easy to feel like I’m not keeping pace with the rest of the Millennials. It’s not easy to remember that those highlight reels only tell a small part of their life story. Just like my social media pages are a quick snapshot of mine. It’s not fair to my friends, family, and social media acquaintances to think “I’m so happy for you, but”.
“Happy, but” is beating myself up by thinking “I’m so glad so and so is buying a house, is it weird that I still live at home?” “Happy, but” is saying “I’m so happy so and so got engaged, I wish that I was dating someone.” “Happy but,” is thinking “Wow! So and so has gotten into such great shape, I wonder if I could look like that one day.”
Today, I decide to make a small change with large impact. I am stepping away from the comparison game. No, I’m not disappearing from social media. But I am changing the way that I view the statuses, pictures, snapchats, and tweets that I see. It’s a highlight reel. It’s a quick glimpse. It’s a sneak peek into the best parts of life. I have to step away from social media when I can feel my mood beginning to change. I have to remember that I also post the positive, happy moments of life and that’s okay too. I am learning to be positive, happy, ECSTATIC for the positive things happening to my friends and family without thinking about how it affects me and my daily life. I have to accept that I’m taking life at my own pace. No one lives life at the same speed as everyone else, and that’s okay. I will conquer the comparison game.
Their success is not my failure.