On Social Media & Comparison: Can We Not?
Written By Dana Sotoodeh // Header photo by Callie Morgan
It’s hard to imagine life, as we know it ten plus years ago. I mean, when was the last time we wanted to be crafty and didn’t use Pinterest for inspiration? Want to get on a fitness kick? Follow a few fitness models on Instagram for inspiration, meal plans and workouts. Want to find the best jeans for your body? There is a blogger who just listed her favorites and provided links to them so you can have them in the click of a button. It’s easier than ever to be connected to people, places and things. It’s also easier than ever before to feel jealous insecure and even anxious.
Let me explain.
Social media is an amazing tool that has transformed our landscape tremendously. We can vocalize our thoughts, keep up with friends and family, and find inspiration in the smallest stories and photos. I love seeing friends doing well, people I admire cultivating change and photos of beautiful places and things. However, there is a side of social media that rears it’s ugly head in ways that we don’t always like to acknowledge
Just this week I was laying in bed doing the famous “before bed scroll” on my own Instagram when I came across a set of honeymoon pictures, three posts about people starting new jobs, a pregnancy announcement, two engagements and a handful of vacation photos. Did I scroll through all the photos and read all of the captions? You bet I did. And as much as I wish I could say I closed out my apps and went peacefully to sleep, that was not the case. Instead, my head was more clouded than before I opened my Instagram app. I had more thoughts about where I was in my own life and how that compared to all of the things I just saw.
Now this isn’t something I’m proud to admit. I wish I could boldly say that all of those things I just saw didn’t affect me, but they did. I found myself laying in the dark wondering when I would be financially stable enough to just up and fly to Paris like one of my followers did. I started comparing the timeline of my own relationship to the timeline of the engagement announcement I just witnessed. I started wondering when I would finally find that “dream job” of mine that I feel like I have been searching for since I graduated college. All of these thoughts that lived safely in the back of my head were suddenly front and center and it didn’t feel that great.
I began to think about why my headspace suddenly felt different and I realized it was social media that made me feel this way. I’m a true testament to being in my late 20’s, having a degree, thinking I knew what I was supposed to do, and realizing that maybe I’m a little confused. I’ve had a lot of successes and a lot of failures and I’ve come to terms with the fact that life is weird like that and maybe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be even if it’s not necessarily where I thought I would be at this point and time. However, in the day and age that we live in, it’s easy to forget that all of our paths are different, and that just because our friends from middle school and high school are now married or pregnant doesn’t mean we have to be. Just because we have that friend that visits a new country every other month, doesn’t mean we are less cultured or less successful.
Social media is a great tool for a lot of reasons, but if we begin to feel our self-worth undermined it may be time to take a step back and really reevaluate some things. Are you buying something because you truly love it? Or because your favorite blogger loves it? Are you pushing an engagement in your relationship because that’s what you truly want? Or because your friend just got engaged? These tough questions can make a difference in the way you navigate your own life and truly find yourself.
It’s important for us to find ourselves apart from social media and live that truth on a daily basis. Once we realize that life is bigger than who or what lives in a social space, is when we truly begin living our best life and walking our path with confidence. Social media is a tangible thing, but living a life that you are true to is something that can never be taken from you. And that is something worth holding on to.
Dana is a publicist and content writer living in San Antonio, Texas with her boyfriend and two charismatic pups. In her spare time she loves running, writing, eating queso, trying new wines, traveling and listening to live music. Her New Years Resolution is to focus on doing things that make her happy, and not to sweat the small stuff. You can find her on Instagram at @danabanaaa and. if you're into dogs on Instagram, her dog at @abeaglenamedtucker.