Have you ever found yourself scrolling through social media, comparing yourself to a stranger? Or have you ever been looking at photos online or in a magazine and started to notice an icky, less than feeling rise up? If so, this post is for you.
Today I’m talking about the comparison trap and why it’s so dangerous. Plus I’m sharing the super simple tip to help you drastically reduce how often you compare yourself to others. It’s time to start feeling better and happier about the life you’re living.
If you’ve ever found yourself comparing your life to someone else’s, than you’re already familiar with the comparison trap. This tendency to compare yourself to others, whether it’s on social media, in magazines, or real life is alive and well. And oh, is it dangerous.
The comparison trap convinces you that “so and so’s” life is better, happier, and more exciting than yours. It convinces you that everyone is more fabulous, fun, and put together than you. The comparison trap leaves you feeling yucky, less than, and really down about your own life.
To be honest, the comparison trap has been around a long time. It’s not new because of social media. Before Instagram, we had Facebook. Before Facebook, we had People magazine. And before People magazine, we had high school yearbooks. Comparison is a natural part of being a human. That said, social media has radically changed this pattern, giving us an easy platform to compare our lives to others, looking only at their highlight reels.
You scroll through Instagram and see perfectly curated photos of outfits and vacations. You look at Facebook and see everyone gushing about how much they love their significant others. You flip through a magazine and see oodles of beautiful people. And without even realizing it, you start to feel inadequate. Your life suddenly doesn’t feel so great. You don’t feel so great.
The comparison trap is real. And dangerous. But thankfully, there’s a simple tip that can totally change the game. It’s both practical and helpful. It’s a tip I’ve practiced in my own life, and it’s made a huge difference.
The difference is dramatic, but the idea is simple. EDIT. Yes, you read that correctly. Edit. Look at the content you take in. Pay attention to what you’re consuming. And if it’s not healthy or helpful, don’t allow it into your space. Unfollow. Unsubscribe. Remove.
Don’t expect your brain to see a pretty, shiny stimulus and not respond. Your brain isn’t wired that way. The key to surviving the comparison trap starts way before you see the photo. It starts by not allowing that photo to be in front of your eyes in the first place. (There’s a reason I don’t keep Oreos in our house. Because I can’t have that stimulus in front of me without reacting. My brain isn’t wired like that.) Take away the stimulus by editing what you consume.
If you follow people on Instagram who only show perfectly curated images and outfits and never open up or get real, unfollow them. If you have friends on Facebook that are overly obnoxious or distorted in what they share, hide their posts or unfriend them.
This isn’t about being snarky, jealous, or salty. It’s about protecting your soul and only taking in things that are congruent with how you want to feel.
If you want your life to be simpler, then consume media or materials that support that. If you want to feel better about yourself as a parent, then follow people who are open and authentic about their parenting struggles.
Some of my favorite women to follow on Instagram are women are real and authentic, open and honest. Yes, they might post pretty outfits and beautiful home décor, but they also acknowledge challenges. They talk openly about imperfections. They speak out about important but potentially sensitive stuff. They don’t pretend to have it all together. They don’t hide their mess all the time.
I’m picky about who I allow into my online and real life spaces. I can’t always trust my brain to see things as they truly are, so I’m thoughtful and protective about who gets in front of it.
If you struggle with the comparison trap, hear me today, loud and clear. Edit. Unfollow. Remove. If the photos of a popular influencer or old high school friend don’t nourish your soul, stop following them. If someone isn’t in line with how you want to feel, then don’t invite them into your digital space.
Be protective about what your eyes look at. Be intentional about what you’re scrolling past.
The comparison trap is dangerous. It minimizes what you have and leaves you feeling inadequate. Protect your mental and emotional health by editing who you allow into your space. It makes a world of difference.
Are you willing to edit who you follow on social media? Have you ever done this and found it helpful? Leave a comment; I’d love to hear!