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When comparing yourself to others, here are some dangers and pitfalls:
You never get the full picture of someone else's journey -- you only see a snapshot, their highlight reel.
You can't compare progress, results, or success unless your starting point is the same. The reality is the
Everyone is gifted differently. Some people's giftings range from: athleticism, musical talent, dancing, singing, cooking, working with your hands, analytic/mathematical prowess, technologically savvy, organization, emotional IQ, and the list goes on. To compare your own talents against someone else's is a recipe for decreased self-love.
Everyone's network and resources are different. Being the child of a retired, all-start championship basketball player will definitely give you an upper hand in becoming the next basketball star in comparison to someone who has no experience playing basketball.
In humility, we must remember and accept that there will always be people not as talented as us in some things. In the same way, we must also remember that there will always be others who are better. There are only so many people who can confidently (and back up their claim through their achievements) that they are the best photographer, guitarist, or athlete.
These are some reasons why comparing yourself can be so dangerous to your self-image, mental health, and your overall outlook on life.
Links with mental health
There was a study done in 2017 that found a connection between the use of social media and increased depression and anxiety symptoms in ages 19-32 (although it did not confirm/conclude a causal link).
From personal experience, I too have found that there has been a correlation with my own life that increased usage of Facebook and Instagram have caused bouts of increased anxiety, symptoms of depression, and lack of contentment in my own life.
An article in Nursing Times magazine states that "evidence is growing, particularly in adolescent mental health, of an association between greater social media use and higher depressive and anxiety scores, poor sleep, low self-esteem and body image concerns (Kelly et al, 2018; Royal Society for Public Health 2017)". The article continues by making the argument that a potential cause of these concerns is from social comparison. The writer also states that "There could be many reasons why social media has been linked with increased anxiety and depressive symptoms, negative body image, sleep problems and cyberbullying (Royal Society for Public Health, 2017), but increased social comparison is one of the most powerful."
I share this article as a husband, father, educator, and friend to those reading this in hopes that we can continue the conversation about the importance of mental health and to increase awareness on how comparing ourselves to others on social media can really have a negative impact on our lives. This doesn't mean to remove it entirely from your life! Not at all. Rather, make a point to monitor your overall usage and don't "doom scroll"!
Some tips as you work on improving your mental-health and reducing comparison
Take social media breaks. Take a pause from all your apps that you frequent. See how you improve.
Sleep with your phone outside of your room for 2 weeks. See if there's any changes in your overall sleep patterns.
Put timers/restrictions on your social media apps.
Ask a friend to hold you accountable as you try this.
Compare yourself to YOURSELF! Pay attention to your own progress. As I read once, your goal isn't perfection.. rather, if you can "increase your batting average every day", then you should definitely celebrate that as a personal win!
Use others' successes as inspiration. Take it a step further: if you find yourself feeling envious over someone's recent success, make a point to reach out to them and congratulate them! Share gratitude with them and be an encourager toward them.
Are you currently working through comparing yourself less?
Continue working at it every day, and increase your batting average!
What have you done for your self-care? Have you considered a therapeutic photography session to boost your self-esteem? I would love to chat with you! You can also email me at email@example.com. I can't wait to hear from you!
Follow Jason on Instagram: @jseboudoir
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