We've all heard the saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy." You've probably even shared it as a post via Instagram or offered it to your friends in an attempt to pull them out of a funk. Still, after all is said and liked, you somehow find yourself in yet another rabbit hole with your old pal, Comparison.
The funny thing about what comparison has become in 2018 is that apps like Twitter and Instagram have made it that much easier to compare our lives to complete strangers. Who got engaged? Who just got a new job or promotion at the office? Who's having a baby now?
But have you ever taken the time to sit back and think why you're doing what you're doing?
It's almost as if we get off by analyzing everyone's every move and just pass it off by disguising it as "motivation." But there's really something strange and damaging about creating a mental Venn-diagram of all the differences and similarities between you and your online counterparts. Just as much as scrolling, liking, and reading updates on your college roommate's post-grad endeavors has been normalized, so has the opportunity for comparisons to be made. It's almost as if we don't even know that we're doing it when we're doing it.
I just have to ask, aren't you tired of that icky, drained feeling you get once you've put the phone down and returned to your homepage? If you're exhausted from the strains of comparison like I was, consider this to be your proverbial wake-up call, snapping you back to reality. Once you take a step back and put things into perspective, you will realize that all the time you've spent comparing your life to someone else's was a waste of time. In fact, I'm here to tell you exactly why comparison is completely, absolutely, and totally ridiculous.
You’re Out of Context
Fairy Godmother (in my head), Tracee Ellis Ross, once shared how we should all stop comparing our insides to other people's outside. How profoundly insightful is that? We've been tricked into believing that people just pop up one day and become these microwave success stories but in real life, that couldn't be further from the truth. When we look at someone's life through the lens of social media, we're only getting one sentence out of someone's entire life story. That's like starting a book in the middle and assuming you know all about the characters when you have no context to what happened before you started reading. Don't do that, beloved. In fact, channel the energy you're spending watching everyone else's life unfold and use it to create the moment you want to see in your own.
Faux Relationship Goals
The funny thing about the couples you see boo'd up on social media wearing matching outfits and performing elaborate birthday surprises is this: it's just a picture and nothing more. Anybody can hold a smile long enough to have their photo taken, but what you'll never see is what happens behind closed doors. Tell me: how many celebrities have you seen posing for the camera only to have their names pop up in the headlines about a cheating scandal the next day? When it comes to watching people's relationships unfold online, you only see what people allow you to see. No relationship is perfect. Every union has its shortcomings, that's why it's unrealistic to compare your singleness or even your own relationship to someone else's based off the little chunk they find to be good enough to share.
About 30 seconds before your favorite talk show begins, you're entertained by a reel of flashing images showcasing the best moments of past episodes. Unless you've seen every one of those episodes yourself, you're left to assume that those nanoseconds in time passing before your eyes were the best, most exciting times that could ever be captured on daytime television. If you could create a capsule for all the amazing moments in your life's show, you would only share the best parts of it too, right? That's what social media is like. A mere highlight reel of the (seemingly) best moments from everyone's day to day life. Don't be fooled into comparing the intricacies of your journey to the mere highlights of someone else's. Instead, take it for what it is, a picture.
You’re the Leading Star
I like to think of my journey like a movie role. God casted me in the role of the person I am right at this moment and no one else in this world can do it like I can because it was made just for me. Think of it like Viola Davis in Fences or Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls, it's pretty hard to imagine anyone else playing those roles because they owned it from start to finish. You're no different. Remember that your journey is perfectly yours. God has a plan that's handcrafted and tailored just for you, so comparing your route to someone else's is fruitless. Regain your focus and know that nobody can do the thing called life you do, so go and do!