Wednesday, January 22, 2014

comparison is the thief of joy


Let's talk about something that's kind of messy… 

COMPARISON. 

The internet makes this something that most of us struggle with DAILY. 

On instagram we see photos of perfectly spotless living rooms, complete with fluffed up couch cushions and a stylish array of magazines fanned out on the coffee table. We look at our own living rooms and see our husband's socks, the dog's toys, maybe last night's juice glass. 

On Facebook we see status updates about people getting engaged or finding out they're pregnant (trust me, when you're trying to get pregnant yourself, this is one of the toughest things). 

And if you're a blogger, chances are you read other blogs. You see all the cool things they've been working on lately; all the amazing weddings they're shooting or recipes they're posting. They attend conferences in really cool and exotic places while you're at home answering emails.  

"She has it all together." 

If you've never said that about someone you're following, then I'm jealous of your news feed. Truly. 

(love this print by sharonfarrington)

This quote was first introduced to me at the MTH conference last March. Comparison is the thief of joy… We talked about how constantly comparing yourself to others makes you less grateful for the things you have. 

Of course, that makes perfect sense. 

But what I really started to notice was how these constant, daily comparisons lead to an obsession with the appearance of perfection. NOT perfection…but the appearance of perfection. 

Truth time: we've all moved our husband's socks, the dog's toys, and last night's juice glass from the background of an instagram photo to make it look like we've got it all together and we too have a beautiful, spotless living room. 


(photo from satiregram)

The problem I started seeing is that I was focused on creating the appearance of perfection in a photo for my newsfeed, but I didn't really care about actually tidying those things up for me. 

Sure, I fluff my pillows before we have company over…and it actually makes me really happy when everything looks nice in the living room! So why don't I do that just for me?

So I started fluffing my pillows more. 

I started tidying up my desk as if I were about to take a really cute, styled instagram photo of my coffee cup with a caption that reads something like, "mondays in the office! #ilovemyjob." 

Suddenly my instagram feed became authentic. It looked like my real life. And in the process, I started feeling more and more removed from that drive to compare my life to others. 

Although, when it comes to business…it's still a struggle. 

Look at this box that popped up on my newsfeed about a month ago:


Read that small print… "track the progress of 5 or more pages you want to watch. You'll see how many likes they get so you can keep up."

So you can keep. up.

Pardon me, but since when am I in direct competition with other pages for likes? Haven't we all learned that 3 likes from people who TRULY love your work are more valuable than 150 likes from random people scattered around the globe? 

And I like that Facebook is suggesting to me who I should compete with…that's excellent. 

When I saw this box, I felt disgusted. I felt bad for the people who actually signed up to watch other people's pages. I felt bad for the business owners who worry about getting their numbers up so that they can "win." I felt bad that my page might have shown up in a similar box, suggesting to someone that they should be "watching me." 

Comparison is the thief of joy because of this kind of stuff. 

Worry less about how many followers you have. Worry LESS about likes and comments on instagram. Because I promise you, there's happiness waiting for you when you do. 

If you want a spotless living room, attack it for 10 minutes and fluff your pillows for no reason! Don't do it so that you can post a photo of it. Do it for you… 

And if you want to be working on something cool, reach out to people and start collaborating. Do it because you know it will fire you up, not because of all the potential beautiful photos you could share. Do it for you…

(photo from lara casey's profound blog post)

Just because comparison is everywhere, doesn't mean you need to feed into it. If there are people you're following on Facebook or instagram (or even blogs you're reading) who actually make you feel JEALOUS because of their seeming perfection…unfollow them. 

And if you cringe at the idea of no longer checking out the beautiful things in this particular person's life, it's probably a sign that you need to unfollow them. That's just my opinion, but like I said, in my experience I truly believe there's happiness waiting for you if you do. 

5 comments:

  1. Love it! Great way to start my day :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. i really struggle with this!! thank you for writing about it, i hope to hear more on this subject :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is one of my biggest struggles, I compare myself to everyone ALL.THE.TIME! Not good! Thx for the pep "talk". Melissa :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. There are several in my Instagram feed that I'm so close to hitting that unfollow button: the "messy" car (honestly, it looked staged), the "too much stuff" (same person as the "messy car"), and just recently, the "I can't take my office this unorganized and messy! Off with its head!" (well, not really, but I digress...). Why do we try to be perfect, and project our perfectness onto others? Would I like a less messy house? Sure. I have two men under this roof (one big, one little)-five minutes after I pick up and put away, it's messy again. One look at my Ig feed and you see my imperfect life-messes and all. And I like it. Thanks for your post today!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Agreed! And love that quote (I have it printed and hanging by my desk as a daily reminder). Each person's "perfect" is their own and that's really how it should be. Every now and then it's nice to look back on your own feeds to appreciate what you have or what your "perfect" is. It's an instant reminder that our lives are pretty awesome and we shouldn't be wishing for someone else's co-called "perfect" life.

    ReplyDelete