When you woke up today, what was the first thing that you did? For most, they roll over in bed, turn off the alarm on their phone, and twenty minutes later find themselves still aimlessly scrolling through social media. What did you do yesterday while waiting in line at the coffee stand or to check out at the grocery store? I would bet that you were, again, mindlessly scrolling through social media. While this may seem like a harmless way to pass the time, these platforms are a breeding ground for comparison. As your thumb traces over your screen, your brain registers all that others are doing, and translates that to all that you aren’t doing. You aren’t drinking celery juice daily for a liver cleanse, you aren’t dressing the kids in matching outfits for 4th of July, and you certainly don’t have the body or quaint farmhouse kitchen that Joanna Gaines has. To spend hours at a time comparing ourselves to the curated images that we see online leads to the belief that we don’t have our lives together, that we aren’t doing enough, and simply put, that we aren’t good enough.
Not only are our phones saturated with this comparative narrative, but so are our childhoods and subsequently our adult lives. As children, we are pushed in school to win the spelling bee, to be the fastest kid on the playground, and to be the most compassionate friend. As adults this transforms into being the brightest and most well-read academic with a successful job, performing at the highest capacity in sports and later having the perfectly chiseled body, and being there and showing up for everyone else when they need you. But when was the last time you showed up for yourself?
Personally, I struggle with removing myself from this comparative narrative constantly. I intentionally set time limits for my social media usage, that way I am kicked out in an effort to maintain my emotional sanity. And while I can close out of Instagram or Facebook at any point in time, I can’t close out of coffee dates with other parents, weekly meetings at work, and I certainly can’t close out of the gym where moms with breast augmentations and small waists are training in their sports bras. No matter where we are in life, society, friends and especially our families push us to be the best versions of ourselves. And sometimes this pushing unintentionally creates a break between who we want to be, and what society thinks we are supposed to be. This split between the desires of the heart and the prompting of the brain is what leads to regretted decisions, saying yes to things you’d rather say no to, and waking up to a reflection in the mirror that you aren’t in love with. When we spend our whole lives exerting our efforts in an attempt to be good enough, we often forget to give ourselves the opportunity to realize that we already are.
Coming from many years of being subjected to comparisons, both by my family and myself, I have learned that it truly adds no value to my life, or to the lives of others. When we allow ourselves to be submerged into a life of comparisons, we negate our YOUniqueness and the individual talents that allow us to stand out. We were designed to be remarkable, so if we spend our whole lives working to fit in, we take away from our opportunity to inspire ourselves and others with our own authenticity. And let’s be realistic here- it’s not likely that you will be the best at everything, in fact, I think it is impossible. You can’t be the best parent, most gorgeous woman, most active member of your family, and the wealthiest in your friend group. But is being the best at all those things really the point of this life? When you allow yourself to release the comparative narrative and begin to pursue a life that brings you joy and that you are in love with, that’s when you realize that you didn’t need those accolades or awards for being the best at anything. And with this comes the realization that you were good enough all along, perfectly as you are.
Author – Speaker – Coach
Yoga Medicine Certified
Autoimmune Patient Advocate