The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone's highlight reel." -Steve Furtick
Have you ever found yourself on Instagram or Facebook and suddenly, what started as a quick update or check-in turns into a virtual time machine, evaporating hours at a time?
You find yourself pulled into the social media black hole watching Instagram story after Instagram story imagining you had someone else's life while simultaneously wondering why your life is so lame in comparison.
With a click, you’re on someone's website and it’s slick and modern. They look so shiny and successful. You look down at your sweats and ratty t-shirt and get a knot in your stomach. You're just so far behind. All of the work you’ve been doing pales in comparison.
“What’s the point?” you think dejectedly.
It’s pretty easy to get sucked into watching other people on social media and momentarily wish we had their lives.
We paint an entire version of their reality based on the images we see, usually devoid of the everyday, real life stuff and hang our head as we see all the ways we don’t measure up.
If you’ve ever been in this comparison trap, rest assured that you’re not alone.
According to research, we're driven to evaluate ourselves based off of how we stack up against others. We make all sorts of judgments about ourselves and often use comparison as our measuring stick.
We’re wired to compare, but with social media literally at our fingertips, it isn’t getting us anywhere fast.
Two recent studies found that people who used Facebook the most frequently had lower self-esteem than those who used Facebook less or not at all. Chronic Facebook users experienced a negative impact from comparing themselves to others who are "better" than them.
It isn’t only our self-esteem that takes a hit. Our productivity and progress toward our own version of success stalls every time we get lost in the grass-is-greener game.
And who hasn't lost time to social media and the comparison hangover we get as a result?
The latest stats guess that we're on social media for over 2 hours per day and that number is going up every year. My guess is for the entrepreneurs out there who are using social media for marketing that number goes up exponentially and comes with the built-in rationale that it's necessary for business.
This isn’t just about time lost on social media, but the aftermath and hit on our motivation after we've gone down the rabbit hole of everyone-else-is-better and further-along-than-me.
Even when we manage to refocus and tune out the noise, we water down our work and message as we invariably try to mimic what we think is working for someone else. Instead of carving our own way, we morph into a second-rate carbon copy.
In order to create our own unique version of success and stop living vicariously through the lives we see online, we have to stay in our own lane.
But that’s easier said than done when the opportunity to compare pops up every few minutes on our phones and computers!
While taking a social media detox, turning off notifications, scheduling your posts and the times you check in on social media can do wonders, they don’t completely eradicate or solve the problem.
It's unrealistic to think we're all going to suddenly quit social media in the name of quieting our inner-comparison critics. After all, we’re all human, and comparison is a part of our makeup.
We can strive to use social media with intention and awareness instead of mindlessly scrolling and allowing our monkey minds to take over and dictate our internal dialogue.
For those times you do get stuck, I'm sharing some of the ways I like to pull myself out of comparison quicksand next week. Until then, stay in your own lane and create your version of success!
P. S. I'd love to hear from you, do you find yourself comparing and judging when you're on social media? How does it affect you? Let me know in the comments below!