One of my New Year’s goals was to stop comparing myself to others.
It wasn’t an official goal. In fact, I told no one. I didn’t write it down with my other goals for this year. It was a complete secret.
Because I thought it would be easy. I didn’t think it would be something that I’d have to work towards. I have absolutely no idea why, but I genuinely thought I could just be happy for other people and where they are and not compare myself to them.
At the start of December, one of my blogging friends very wisely said, ” Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”. This really resonated with me and that was the moment that I decided I was going to stop comparing my life and my blogs to other people and their progress.
If it was a secret, why am I telling you about it now?
Dani, you literally just told us you weren’t making this goal/resolution/whatever you want to call it, public but you’re writing a blog post about it for the world to see.
Firstly, the number of people who read my blog is limited…mainly to my family since I took a year off!
But that’s not the real reason I’ve decided to share. The real reason is that approximately 36 hours into 2018 I failed at this goal.
Around lunchtime today (the 2nd Jan) I logged into Instagram to see what was going on. I’m currently on holiday in Copenhagen so really my phone should have been tucked away in my handbag but I can’t help myself. I saw several updates on there that absolutely crushed me. And, instead of feeling happy for the people sharing their business wins and announcing their pregnancies and bragging about the amazing Christmas that they had, I was…I don’t actually know. I guess I would say jealous of their successes. But more than that, I was disappointed in myself.
I was angry at myself for not being able to achieve my goals last year. Annoyed that people who have been working on their businesses for less time than I have, are doing SO much better than me.
I wanted to quit.
And when I say I wanted to quit, I mean quit everything. Stop blogging, close my business, quit life.
You see, one of the big ways that depression manifests itself with me is a drastic “overreaction” to things. If something isn’t working out for me, things spiral. Suddenly the fact that I’m making less than another blogger who started at the same time as me means that I’m never going to make this work. And never making this work means that I won’t be able to start a family. And well…what’s the point if I can’t do what I love and have a family?
Fortunately, my amazing fiance was on hand to calm me down. And now, 4 hours later, I’m sat in the airport waiting for our flight home feeling much calmer (although still feeling absolutely shit) writing about it all.
Why is it so difficult?
Well, that’s pretty simple. Social media.
It’s never been so easy to find out what other people are up to than it is now with all of the social media channels available to us (Bloody hell! How old do I sound saying that?) And, with my iPhone constantly glued to my hand, it’s hard to miss anyone’s updates.
Not only is information more readily available to us but there’s the social media filter. I need to constantly remind myself that people only share their best bits on social media. And those who share their bad bits too still only share what they choose to with the world.
I’m not saying that this is wrong. Not at all. We should all have complete control over what we do and don’t decide to share with the world. But those of us who are looking at other people’s successes, amazing holidays, beautiful babies etc. need to remember that we are only seeing the good bits and have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes or sacrifices those people have had to make to get to where they are.
And that’s really difficult to grasp. Not as a concept. As a concept, it makes complete sense. It’s exactly what I do. I take photos of my favourite places, choose my favourite image from about 50 that I took and then spend a good 20 minutes editing it to make it look better. A carefully crafted caption makes it complete. Even when I felt at my lowest today, I could have posted something that made you all think I was having an absolute blast. Chances are, someone out there would have felt jealous even. With absolutely no idea of what was actually happening.
So, it’s time I stopped.
Once and for all. It’s not good for me. I know that.
And actually, it’s really hindering my own progress. The more I compare my progress to other people, the worse I feel about myself. And the worse I feel about myself, the less I live my own life.
All of those hours I could have been working on my business that I spent stressing over how many clients someone else had. All of those times I stayed indoors because I felt too sad to go outside just because someone else had lost weight when I was just gaining. All of those times I didn’t do something because someone else, somewhere was doing something better and more exciting than my thing just didn’t seem worth it.
Today is the start.
Sitting here in the airport right now, I am resolving to stop comparing myself to others.
A big part of this is going to be starting to love and celebrate myself and my own achievements more. It’s going to be tough but it’s also going to be essential if I want things in my life to change.
I also think that another major part of this for me, at least in the beginning, is to try not to be on social media too much. Which is pretty impossible when you have four online blogs/businesses. But I can limit my exposure to certain types of posts and scroll right past them for now. At least until I feel better about myself.