At the start of the year, I was a woman on a mission. 2017 was going to be the year I got my mojo back, the year I would feel normal again, and the year I would dedicate to the personal development of my mind, body, and soul.
I’ve already made positive progress towards nurturing my mental and physical health. However, during my mindfully-infused sessions where I take the time to learn and grow, I’ve noticed an uncomfortable trend – comparison. We all do it, but it’s in varying degrees of intensity. I’ve often wished that I could live in a warm country like my hugely successful cousin, Becky. Or that I drove a super sexy Land Rover Evoque like my bestie, Liz. These are the kind of comparisons that are merely fleeting thoughts rather than crippling destruction for our self-esteem. I love these thoughts because they shape my ambitions. I want to earn enough to buy a lovely car, and I want to travel to interesting places.
In January I bought a couple of life planners to help me plot out my world domination. As a stationery geek, this was no hardship, and I quickly filled each one with the relevant information. On a side note, I’ve yet to find a life planner that contains everything I want/need to satisfy my organisational needs. However, the planners helped because I was writing everything down and could, therefore, see at a glance what I was hoping to achieve, the date I wanted to complete the goal, and all the other SMART* necessities that go hand in hand with reclaiming your mojo.
At the same time, I joined some Facebook groups dedicated to boosting your inspiration, motivating you to achieve your goals, and empowering you to succeed. All the things that I value in my life and strive to pass on to others. The fit was perfect, and I became as active as time allowed in these groups.
Roll the clock forward a couple of weeks, and I started to feel twitchy about some of the groups I joined. Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet. I’ve posted about my own success on more than one occasion. If we don’t share our achievements, especially if you run an online business, then nobody will know you exist.
I, therefore, think that it’s not the groups that have changed, it’s me. My inner monolog of destruction is reading these ‘look at what I’ve launched/sold/done’ as a way to prove I’m not ‘there’ yet, wherever there may be! Perhaps I'm overly sensitive, or in need of re-reading my CBT notes but the feel of these groups has shifted for me.
Instead of feeling motivated, I feel drained. Instead of being inspired to achieve, I feel useless and defeated. I know that my depression has something to do with this, the cognitive settings in my brain are overloading with the ‘I’m not good enough’ chatter. So what can I do?
I’ve backed away from the groups. Some of them I left so the notifications no longer appear in my feed, and others I stopped interacting with, so the algorithms do their job and bury the posts until I might need them again. I feel better already.
I surprised myself with the intensity of my comparisons. I was so sure that being a part of those communities would be the best thing for my personal development and yet it backfired, leaving me feeling empty.
Comparing ourselves to others is dangerous. We are unique in every way, and we should embrace this fact. I worry about my daughter who, at fourteen, can be influenced by the celebrities she loves, and the body image that is portrayed on the cover of every magazine (that rant is for another post!).
I’m incredibly active in blogging and book circles online, and one group, in particular, has boosted my confidence and helped me to shake off those ‘not good enough’ thoughts. It’s these kind of communities that matter.
Surrounding ourselves (online or in real life) with people who support us is important. Learning to recognise negative thoughts and releasing them is another factor in boosting our self-love. Understanding how much damage comparing ourselves to others can be the first step in correcting these thoughts.
It’s another lesson I’ve learned on my current journey. I’m still healing, still recovering, and obviously I’m still vulnerable. That’s okay. Realising that fact has helped me to act accordingly. There may be a time in the future when I re-join these empowering groups and throw myself into the mix, but for now, I’m going to concentrate my efforts on the people/groups/activities that nurture my mind, body, and soul.
Over to you: I’ve chosen to talk about Facebook groups in this post, but perhaps you find yourself comparing your life to just one person or a set of friends. What could you do to correct this?
Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with to help:
- Be kinder to yourself – notice the negative talk and release these thoughts.
- Write it down – I’ve mentioned my love of journaling before, but I can’t stress enough the benefits of writing down what you are grateful for, or using a happiness jar (read my post about that HERE).
- Focus on what you have – cherish your family/home/job and don’t focus your attention on what others have.
- Commit to self-love – take care of your physical, emotional, spiritual needs every day. Commit to nurturing yourself to be the best version of you.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you find yourself comparing you to friends? Can you recognise the negative talk and correct it? What tips can you share that might help someone to break the comparison trap? Please feel free to share in the comments box below.
*SMART goals are:
Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here: Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest