Never before in history have we had people’s lives or “highlights” glaring before our eyes. It used to be that we would have to go to the neighbor’s house to catch up on the gossip and the whereabouts of Lola or Kyshira. We could go for days without knowing about anyone’s business and if the person happened to be a celebrity, we were lucky to get it on the news or magazines. But as for the everyday woman, her business was her business. If I didn’t want to know what was going on in her life, I didn’t have too. Nowadays, it seems as if the world with instant messaging and social media has done a 360. I have Kyshira’s baby shower pictures in my face and I know that Lola is on holiday in the Bahamas and not only that, that she’s looking good, she’s lost weight, paid off her debt, and is traveling the world making passive income. Suddenly, I know all about my friend’s business and I begin judging and comparing myself to her. Well, why can’t I lose weight like she did, or look at me, I’m swamped in debt whereas Lola has paid off her student loans and is turning up in Nassau, Bahamas? And the cycle of self-pity, sadness, depression begins.
As much as social media is a force for good and has brought amazing opportunities for the majority of us, it has also shown its “other side” and the negative effects that can occur if we don’t watch out, guard our hearts, and lay down those boundaries.
So, how do we deal with comparison in the online space?
1. Set Boundaries
The same way one is encouraged to lay down boundaries in our relationships is the same way we have to lay boundaries on social media. And guess what? I love it. My favorite buttons on these social media platforms, especially Instagram are the MUTE, BLOCK, UNFOLLOW, RESTRICT, REPORT buttons. LOOL. I had to include the Report button lool because some people are crazy out here with the hate, trolls and all the negative energy. Sis, I encourage you to make full use of these buttons. They are there for a reason. If you know a certain person’s “highlights” are making you feel a certain type of way when you scroll through their posts or watch their stories, UNFOLLOW them. If they happen to be someone close to you or those types of people who will direct message you after you unfollow them lol, the MUTE button comes to the rescue.
The MUTE button is my favorite button. If I feel like a particular “influencer” or even a close friend is blowing all her vacation highlights on my timeline, sis becomes MUTED. And I encourage you to do the same. I know this may seem harsh or callous but it will save you in the long run. Guard your heart sis. Protect your mental health. Some people on Instagram are obsessed with showing us they have what we don’t have and so we have to quietly MUTE them. This way you save yourself from going down the rabbit hole of self-pity, comparison, depression, low self-esteem etc. We already have enough to deal with in 2020. We don’t need Kyshira living our best life to keep us down on ourselves. Again, guard your heart. You know the things you see that get you all worked up and in a funk, so take “precaution.”
2. Remember Social Media Is A Highlight Reel
I know we hear this so often that it becomes so cliche but sometimes I feel we need to hear this reminder again. Social media is a collection of “highlights”. Not too many people post their “low lights” on Instagram. It is a highlight reel. And it doesn’t make sense comparing your “lowlights” or your reality to someone else’s highlights. The grass is always greener on the other side. Social media is far from one’s reality. The truth is that no one’s life is perfect. Life is a roller coaster consisting of good and not so good moments. And happiness is being able to find joy and peace during this rollercoaster. Not everyone smiling on Instagram or Facebook is happy in real life. Some people are comfortable with putting up facades; when you get to know them better, you find out that not all that glitters is gold. So whenever you see yourself going down this trail of comparison, remember, you don’t know the full picture. And even if that’s the full picture, they always have ‘ish they are dealing with. And going with this perspective, you learn to be happy for people. You learn to be happy for them in the good times knowing the bad times do pop along the way. Again, perspective is super important.
3. Remember Everyone Is On Their Own Unique Journey
This has been a huge lifesaver for me; realizing that my journey is not going to be like Kyshira’s or Lola’s. We all have our own unique paths and that’s where the beauty lies in; being able to appreciate the differences in everyone’s journey. Kyshira might be engaged at 21 and have three kids before 30. That’s Kyshira’s path and that’s awesome, celebrate with her knowing you have your own unique journey and it will not always look like Kyshira.
Life would be so boring if everyone had similar journeys. Imagine how the world will be if we all looked like models or we all finished college and got our dream jobs at 21, got married at 27, quit our jobs at 30, and purchased our homes at 32. Life will be super boring. And God is a God of variety. Some people are naturally skinny, others are super curvy; some are happy with working a 9-5 for the majority of their lives while others are born to be entrepreneurs. We are all different. Let’s embrace our differences and appreciate our own unique journeys.
There is no one like you in this world. You have something that no one else has to offer. This is what makes you unique. Why don’t you celebrate and thrive being yourself? Why do you want to be like Kyshira or have her journey? You are beautiful just the way you are. Embrace and celebrate this.
With the instant accessibility to the “highlights” of people’s lives, it is important we guard our hearts, remember social media is a “highlight reel” and that everyone’s journey is different.
How do you deal with comparison in the online space? I would love to know your thoughts, feel free to drop them in the comments.