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Raise your hand if you’ve ever been scrolling Instagram and you come across someone who is on an amazing vacation, they’ve got a car you wish you had, or their wearing an outfit you could never pull off? If your hand isn’t raised, I’m calling your bluff.
I Get Jealous, Too
I get jealous of other people. Happiness on Instagram is what gets me. They’re on the beach or cozy with a cup of coffee— I ask myself why I can’t feel that? But then I remind myself that social media is just a highlight reel. The glimpses you see are not what make up everything. They’re cherry picking the best moments and putting them on display.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. But, when I’m scrolling and I realize that I’m comparing myself or feeling jealous… that’s when I know it’s time to log off.
My Highlight Reel
In my last relationship (the one where I was engaged and then not engaged… that hot mess?) people would message me and tell me I had everything I could ever want. I had boats, cars, everything that mattered on social media. We were both severely unhappy, I was the lowest I had ever been in an abusive relationship.
I would cry myself to sleep at night and wonder what it would feel like to have peace or joy. People who knew me well would often say that I had a spark or a fire in my belly and it went away. But people who didn’t know me were comparing my life to theirs based on a highlight reel.
My ex once said, “I wish people could see the real you. You are not who you pretend to be online.”
Granted, some of those cuts in those words were not meant to be kind. It was meant to be a wound, but there was validity in what he was saying. I was comparing myself to others situations and vise versa. But when you’re looking at someone else’s life you don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know that someone is struggling with debt, addiction, or in an abusive relationship and needing to get out.
Life is like photography
It’s easy to look through the lens and focus on a subject, but so often we focus on the wrong subject. We’re looking in the background or the foreground, the things that don’t fully matter.
I recently did a photoshoot with Mary (who was on the show) and I’m teaching her how to use my camera. Some of the photos were blurry and I wasn’t what was in focus. I sat there and it hit me. How often do we change the focus of our lives to the wrong things? If we just focused on ourselves we’d see the value we bring to the table. The things that make life great.
There are things that have happened to people that aren’t okay. And I’m sorry— the things that happen in your past, the things that can make you lose focus, they can hurt. My apology doesn’t change the past, but we too often overlook and forget to validate experiences.
But when we move forward, it’s okay to re-shift the focus. It’s okay to look at the preview on your camera and decide to change the focus. That photo could be a day, a season, a life, a chapter— but it’s okay to shift.
Shifting the focus
Someone is always going to be prettier, smarter, more outgoing, and light up a room more than you. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop being the best version of yourself because someone is better at something than you.
Fight Comparison With Gratitude
When I see someone on that vacation I wish I was on, I stop and think to myself, “What do I have that someone else wants?” Food, shelter, love, support, faith— things that ground me.
Of course everyone wants everyone else’s highlight reel, but to get out of a funk I remind myself of the things I have money can’t buy, I list people that matter to me, I visit places that ground me, I remind myself of accomplishments I’ve made, I think about the future, I write down my goals.
When you’re grateful and in a posture of gratitude, it will come back to you. You’ll see the good in things, you’ll notice how good coffee tastes, how warm laundry out of the laundry feels, how sweet the laugh of your nephew sounds.
Comparison isn’t a happy emotion. It’s not a place you can receive from. You’re not looking for positive things. So why would the universe reward you if you’re not in a place of even being able to accept it? If you’re constantly in a bad mood and comparing, why would the universe want to give you something you can’t even be grateful for?
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