When I compare myself to others, I always seem to come up lacking. I suspect that this is the same for many of us. Is comparison the thief of joy? And what role does social media play?
Before the advent of social media (and I am old enough to remember it) we went about our world fairly oblivious of what other people were doing. What they looked like. What event they had attended. How cute their kids were. Somehow or other we managed, and I suspect that we were happier.
I actually love social media
This blog post isn’t all about slagging social media off. Not at all. I really value social media and can list numerous ways it has made my life better.
- I have met such amazing people through social media who have become firm friends. When I was moving town, a wonderful woman I had met on a group promised to bring wine and cake on the day I moved. And she did. I really value her friendship (you know who you are – thank you)
- I have been able to share my blog with people all over the world. I have also used social media to meet so many other bloggers who have inspired me.
- I have reconnected with so many people from my past. Long lost cousins, school friends and numerous other wonderful people who I might have lost touch with. Especially as I moved from South Africa to Ireland.
- I have been gifted this window to the world. There are times when I have been lonely and knowing that I could pop into Facebook and connect with friends has been a true gift.
- I have gained knowledge. I have joined groups that deal with issues that I face such as arthritis and pernicious anaemia (which I knew nothing about). In these groups I have met fellow sufferers and we have lifted each other up. We have answered questions and explained the unexplainable.
- I have connected with hundreds of people through my own and have had the privilege of taking these online relationships offline through meet-ups and events.
- I have made a little money. I have sold art, found people to work with and met up with brands who wanted to work with me.
There is a big but though ….
There are two real negatives for me relating to social media.
The first is time. When I am online – either at my laptop or gazing at my phone scrolling or chatting, I am effectively disengaged from the world around me.
I know I spend too much time online. I know this because I scroll, and scroll and realise that I am seeing nothing new. I know this because I have to go back and ask what is happening because I missed a vital part of the conversation. I have literally been missing in action.
When I do ‘forget’ my phone I am far more productive. I get things done. I listen to music, clean the house and find my creative juices flowing. I love the practice of daily painting and I can’t paint and scroll at the same time.
I am really trying to limit my time online. Those that know me are chuckling and rolling their eyes and saying ‘yeah’. I promise though – I am trying.
The main reason why is that I am finding that comparison is indeed a thief of joy for me.
Comparison is my thief of Joy
My situation is unique to me. And let’s face it each of us has a unique situation. I am 54 now, and I suffer from severe arthritis which limits my mobility and in fact everything I do. Most days pain is my companion and I am always tired.
I struggle with my weight as well so I am no svelte size 10. I have wrinkles, and rolls and that is just the start of it. Working full-time is no longer an option – as I simply can’t. I also struggle with overwhelm and anxiety. There are weeks when I don’t post on my blog because I haven’t been able to write, or photograph anything.
On the positive side I have wonderful friends who support me. I have a good life. Fashion and beauty inspire me. Travel delights me and I am determined to do more (albeit on a strictly limited budget). There is nothing I like more than sitting down with a friend drinking creamy cappuccino. I find my true bliss with a paintbrush in my hand.
I am not writing this for sympathy, but merely to give you a true picture of where I am in my life.
Even though I am intelligent I am still drawn in to this dreadful comparison trap. I watch through the lens of social media as others attend events, go out for gorgeous dinners I cannot afford and seem to have endless cocktails with friends. I feel real envy when I see people progressing in their careers when mine is in a sort of standstill state. A cruise – oh I wish I could afford a cruise. Skinny Jeans and high heels – no chance Kerry!
I know that there are many people who are too sick to go out. People suffering from depression who cannot comprehend the goings on of others. Your child might be kicking and screaming and very dirty and you cannot help but compare with the angels you see on Facebook.
Real Lives versus Facebook Lives
A very wise friend and mentor once reminded me. Beware of the difference between real lives and Facebook Lives. We all put our best foot (or face) forward on Social Media. If I take a selfie and I look too tired and sick I don’t post it. Perhaps I should.
I think that there are a couple of things I need to do for myself to put social media in the right place in my life.
- Monitor my time spent online
- Remember the difference between real lives and Facebook Lives
- Don’t compare. Comparison is the true thief of joy.
- Be grateful for what I have!
Truth or Lies?
We don’t know what really lies behind those beautiful images and even if we did, do they really change anything?
If there was no social media, then I wouldn’t know about these things. I would simply be going about my day living my life. And perhaps being more joyful.
Thank you for reading