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It happens every day.  When you click on any social media app you are automatically thrown into other people’s worlds.  You see where they are eating dinner, where they are vacationing, or what wonderful experience they just shared with their children.  People are constantly bombarded these days with others’ lives.  Actually, we are bombarded with people’s highlight reels.  We only see the best of the best and that’s it.  I’m not saying that social media is bad; I’m a part of social media and I enjoy seeing what others are up to.  The bad thing is when you lose sight of what social media is telling you.

The Comparison Game

It’s easy to start playing a part in the comparison game when you get sucked into the world of social media or Pinterest.  It happens every day.  It starts with just checking in on friends and what people are sharing about their lives.  You notice the nice, big house that someone just bought or the amazing Disney vacation that your friend took.  The children are all smiles and you can almost hear the laughter through the photos.  That’s when you start comparing your life to someone else’s.  When was the last time you took a vacation that looked like that much fun?  And that home cooked meal you just made doesn’t compare to the restaurant pic you just saw on Instagram.  Why can’t you go out to dinner to nice restaurants all the time?  Oh yes, it’s because you have toddlers at home or kids to take to soccer practice.  Oh and your home!  It’s never as clean as hers!  Comparing yourself to others can hit you when you least expect it.  Not to mention, it’s the hardest thing to stop once it’s started.

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Why Comparing Sucks The Life Out Of You

Once you start comparing your life to others, it can suck the life right out of you!  What started as an average, nice day can turn into a day that doesn’t feel special at all.  But can I be completely honest with you?  It’s okay to have days that don’t feel special.  Those days are normal and must be a part of our life.  If we don’t have normal, average days, then special days won’t feel one of a kind.  People aren’t as likely to post their normal, boring days on social media because there isn’t much to share about them.  The problem is when we assume that people’s lives are just as they portray online; constantly filled with delicious food, big purchases, and children who are always smiling.

How To Stop Comparing

In order to stop comparing yourself to others, you need to be prepared with several strategies before you jump on any social media platform.  First, understand that people only put their best selves on the internet, know that happiness doesn’t come from stuff, and follow people who are honest.

Understand that people only put their best selves forward.

To combat the comparison game, you must realize that most people are only going to put their best self out on the internet.  You’re not going to see a picture of a couple having a disagreement or receive a synopsis of a parenting fail moment.  Just because people are smiling in a picture doesn’t mean that everyone was smiling moments before the camera snapped.  Just like you might not share the difficult times in your family, other people are probably not going to share their struggles.  Please know that for every cute, posed picture, there is more behind the scenes.  There’s more good, bad, and ugly because that’s life.  No one person’s life is perfect.  Not yours, mine, or your friend’s and that’s absolutely okay.

Know that happiness doesn’t come from stuff

My husband and I started our debt free journey shortly after we got married and found out we were pregnant.  I’ll never forget the moment that I walked into a large chain baby store for the first time.  There was so much stuff.  Tons of it!  I had way too many choices and I didn’t know what we actually needed versus what was just being sold to me.  Thankfully, we were both dedicated to the idea of becoming debt free, so we bought a lot of used items and did not go overboard with the baby junk.  In the end, our kids didn’t miss the extra special swing and our Baby Bjorn still worked perfectly even though it wasn’t brand new.  At the end of the day, stuff is just stuff.  Just because someone has more than you, doesn’t mean that they are happier than you.  A lot of people equate new material possessions with happiness.  I mean, I get it!  The thrill of a new outfit or brand new car does make you happy, but only for a short time.  It doesn’t lead to long term happiness.  In the end, stuff is just stuff and it won’t last forever.  So when you start comparing what you have to someone else, remember that happiness doesn’t stem from things.

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Follow people who are honest

Not everyone out there only shares their highlight reel.  In fact, you can find a small percentage of people that will share a lot of truth on their social media profiles.  They share the miscarriages, the messy house, and the burned dinner.  They also share their children’s soccer games and family vacations.  Fill your news feed with people who are honest and tell a whole picture of their lives instead of just a fraction of it.  Who knows, maybe they will inspire you to share your whole life and not just your picture perfect moments.

Next time you jump on social media, you can appreciate your friend’s pictures even more because you know that they are just a snippet of her day, not a view of her entire life.