You Just Don’t Compare

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Comparing seems to be a good way to determine how good something is. When you go shopping you compare who has the best prices, the nicest shop, the best selections. Comparing works great for finding car insurance, but when it comes to personal matters such as self esteem, comparing doesn't offer the most help. In fashion blogging people make comparisons all the time and as fashion blogs become more popular, the comparing only increases… ‘So-and-so is younger, prettier, skinnier, has nicer shoes, gets more comments, has a great photographer for a boyfriend… rich..'. you name it. I've heard it, and to tell you the honest truth, I'm not immune to the whole comparison game, I do it without really even thinking about how destructive it can really be.

Once a very wise person told me this:

compare

The truth is, everyone has their battles, everyone has their own victories, and the beauty of life is that we all get different challenges to overcome. What may seem to us someone is living a perfect life, the reality may actually have it's own hardships we can't immediately see. In all my heart I wish I could practice this non-comparison line of thinking with ease, but it's not always the case.

Here are some tips on how to manage self esteem and the comparing game.

Listen to yourself. Don't deny what you are feeling because you think it makes you a bad person, if something keeps coming up over and over again, it may be an indicator that it's time to listen to yourself, because more often than not what's bothering you isn't them it's something inside of you. I get this all the time, and if it's a matter of looking at myself and seeing what I can do to change my perspective I usually end up growing a little bit.

Do it for yourself. When I first started blogging I went for months without getting any response to my blog, what kept me going was my motto… ‘I'm doing this for myself.' My blog wasn't for anybody and that really took the pressure off me, and reinforced the reason why I was blogging in the first place. Then it doesn't matter what anyone says or thinks because it's not for them. Use your blog to develop your own voice, do it for yourself.

Envy/jealousy/cattiness whatever you want to call it, often comes from this idea that somehow love is somehow limited, when in fact it’s unlimited, it’s everywhere and in everything.

Get perspective: Envy/jealousy/cattiness whatever you want to call it, often comes from this idea that somehow love is somehow limited, when in fact it’s unlimited, it’s everywhere and in everything. It’s really easy to have a distorted vision of reality when everyone is young and pretty and impeccably dressed, when all you see is the happy side of things… the reality is that it doesn’t really exist. People are photoshopped, they get hangovers, they have credit card bills. Everyone has their own obstacles.

Have a little gratitude… and share it. It's funny how when you look for examples they seem to be everywhere. When I have periods of feeling less than other people, I sit down and make a gratitude list. What is going right in my life? What am I taking for granted around here, because I need to stop that?  You don't have to share your gratitude on your blog, but share it with the people in your life. Share it with the people on the bus. Share it with your co-workers. Sharing gratitude in little ways really helps reinforce the feeling and grows more gratitude.

powerSay it to the lady in the mirror. Personally I have a hard time not playing ‘Bloody Mary‘ in this one… but telling yourself affirmations out loud in the mirror helps reinforce positive thinking. Louise Hay published a beautiful set of Power Thought Cards which I had all over my apartment for a long time. They are really great in helping form what a positive thought looks like. If you're into the whole positive thinking thing, I would also suggest her book You Can Heal Your Life. I've not only read it a few times, but I've given it to friends… it's one of those books.

Subscribe to blogs that make you feel good. While I want to say that all blogs are beautiful, some blogs bring up feelings that don't improve my day. For a long time I kept my subscriptions to them because I wanted to keep on top of things but it just irritated me, so one day I just unsubscribed, and I don't miss them. There are so many blogs out there that really bring a smile to my face, that inspire, that make me feel good, that show me new things and new ways of thinking. I owe it to myself and to the writers of those blogs to read them.

Go easy on yourself…

All in all, when it comes to measuring success, it’s also important to realize, that though there are people who experience success quite quickly, early successes doesn’t always equate with real success. And in this day of instant everything, the truth is that the worlds greatest successes didn’t happen over night… and they didn’t occur without setbacks and temporary failures. Real success occurs over a lifetime, it’s a journey, and if you really look at it, there are multiple ways of measuring it.

What are some of the nice things you do for yourself when you're caught in the comparison trap?

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29 Responses

  1. Miss Elle

    Great article, Jennine! All very good points, and I needed a bit of a reminder today. 🙂
    .-= Miss Elle´s last blog ..Gestión: las reglas no escritas =-.

    Reply
  2. WendyB

    This worked for me: “. For a long time I kept my subscriptions to them because I wanted to keep on top of things but it just irritated me, so one day I just unsubscribed, and I don’t miss them.” I’m not even going to give the blog the benefit of mentioning its name (it wasn’t fashion related) but it’s part of a mini-gossip blog empire and everyone should unsubscribe!
    .-= WendyB´s last blog ..Tennis, Anyone? =-.

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  3. Ashe Mischief

    “While I want to say that all blogs are beautiful, some blogs bring up feelings that don’t improve my day. For a long time I kept my subscriptions to them because I wanted to keep on top of things but it just irritated me, so one day I just unsubscribed, and I don’t miss them.”

    I think this is an absolutely brilliant one. I’ve done this a bit myself, unsubscribed to some larger blogs, just because what I felt when their posts came up in my Google Reader didn’t make me feel positive. I think a lot of it had to do with my perceptions of how forced, insincere, or narcissistic they came across… why should I follow something that makes me feel that way?

    To be honest, I haven’t noticed myself missing their blogs. If it comes across my mind, I’ll pop over, see what they’ve been up to, and I typically find I haven’t missed much…
    .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..The Dramatis Personae: The Duchess [Georgiana Spencer] =-.

    Reply
  4. Jennine

    ❤ ashe…oh cool… i felt a little strange with that one. sometimes i go back with a blog.. but to be honest, i feel much better since i did ‘the RSS cleanse.’
    ❤ Elle, oh I’m so glad… I think I needed this reminder too.
    🙂

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  5. JKISSI

    This is such a great article especially today where the oversaturation of having a fashion blog is pretty much apparent.

    I love the caption I’m doing it for myself , because thats what most of the sites original purpose was.I know I could speak for that one.

    Keep it up guys

    Reply
  6. Freya

    speaking of fashion blogs, I have now, sort of stopped following blogs which are only about personal style and they just contain fabulous photographs of dresses I might never get to wear. I feel this even though I’m not that materialistic and at the end of the day, just love my life. But I gotta admit, that comparison thingy arises. So, I follow blogs which give me great tips (actual posts) along with great personal style.

    Reply
  7. Denise @ Swelle

    I’m so glad you addressed this, it’s a niggling thing that sits deep inside your head and you know others are doing it, too, but no one would think of bringing it up.

    When we first start out it’s almost impossible to not be influenced by what others are doing, especially the ‘Big Ones.’ But now I love it when I see something different, a blogger with their own unique vision, and I think I can appreciate that because I’ve found my own as well – I’ve grown out of that crappy phase known as ‘Should I be doing that, too?’ It takes time to get that confidence but like you say, if you do it for yourself, it will happen.

    As for the blogs that to me seem ‘angry’ or appear to merely exist as vanity projects and sycophant-magnets, I just don’t go there. I figure I’ve gotten this far reading only people who inspire me and give me something to look forward to that they really don’t matter to what I’m doing. And there are so many great people behind really uplifting and beautiful blogs that we can all do without them.

    Three cheers for Happy Blogs! ♥
    .-= Denise @ Swelle´s last blog ..Urgent Appeal to Canadians to Save a Little Girl’s Life =-.

    Reply
  8. Liv Lundelius

    Thats such a great article!
    I guess most of us are too hard on themselves, and this comparing shit isn’t helpful at all.
    I really enjoyed your article here and its so stupid that I can’t think this way all the time.
    At the end of the day all that matters, is if you feel happy and confident…
    You reminded me of that today, thank you so much.

    What are some of the nice things I am doing for myselff when you’re caught in the comparison trap?

    If I really got caught in the trap, I need to speak to friends or my boyfriend, he is brilliant in bringing me back
    to the positive side. Another good thing is doing something just for me, (usually work) I have to get active to feel
    better.
    Thats a good advice you pointed out: do the things you love just for you!

    Reply
  9. Michelle

    This is a LOVELY post, Jennine!! That’s something that I used to worry about, I’ve got a little better about it though. I would get worried I wasn’t doing something right b/c “(insert blogger here)” had this many comments on their posts, and I didn’t have as many…then I realized that she or he has been doing it for 2-3 years, so of course they have more than me! I really love the “don’t compare your insides to someone elses’ outsides”, as well. And I have unsubscribed from several blogs in the past because of the seeming narcissistic/arrogant attitude mentioned to – nobody needs to be exposed to that every day!

    Anyways – awesome post! 🙂
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..10 More Places + Ways to Find Inspiration =-.

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  10. KB

    I love this post, I’m constantly comparing myself to other bloggers, though I know that it’s difficult to see the bigger picture. Just got to remember to be my own person, and hopefully people will keep reading. If not, it’s not the end of the world.
    .-= KB´s last blog ..Musical interlude… =-.

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  11. Jennine

    ❤jkissi… yep that’s a good one… i have to try it out more often….
    ❤denise… ah the ‘should i be doing that?’ i run into that one all the time… but happy blogs! they rule
    ❤liv… oh yes, nothing like getting active to beat the comparison blues. i love that note of advice!
    ❤wendy… hahah you are awesome.
    ❤kb… people will keep reading, when you’re true to yourself, they’ll keep reading. 🙂

    Reply
  12. Allison

    I can’t get over how incredible your blog is! All the posts are relevant and great. The subjects are always useful and spot on!

    Thanks so much for this great blog!

    -allison
    aspiring couture!

    Reply
  13. maria

    Oh, wow!! This is so timely for me!! Since I’m new to the fashion blogging community it’s really easy for me to get down on my blog!! And you’re right, I had to stop following a few blogs that just kept making me feel less than adequate, and I don’t miss them. Even though it’s more to do with me than them, it still helped to not follow them.

    Like you said, I just try to look at all the wonderful things going in my life and cherish them!! We are all more blessed than we sometimes realize.
    .-= maria´s last blog ..I Wish it was Sunday =-.

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  14. lisa

    Great post; it reminds me of the one you did about envy for The Coveted. Thanks Jennine. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Kristen

    awesome post! It is so easy to get caught up in comparisions. I love the advice about doing it for yourself. Whenever, i get caught up in comparisions, I remind myself that I do it because I love it and isn’t that enough? it tends to always make me feel better.

    I really love all these IFB posts about blogging, I am learning a lot from all you guys! THANKS.
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..IdStyle Spotlight: Kharly Harkin =-.

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  16. gilda

    as a designer in this crazy fashion world in new york, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others sometimes. i don’t think i’ve ever been caught up in this deathtrap till i came here and realized how competitive some people were.

    i think it’s sad when some people think they have to step on others to get to where they want to go to. when i get caught up in the madness, i usually pull myself away from all that, watch some hilarious japanese tv show to relieve all that stress, and then call and skype back home. nothing like friends and family to keep one grounded.

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  17. sar.

    this is a great post and similar to maria i am pretty new to the fashion blogging community which to start with was very overwhelming for me…so many talented people with so many great ideas showcased on their blogs, it’s easy to loose faith in yourself when comparing –
    i think comparison can be help growing at times but it’s important to compare to people appr. the same level, i.e. comparing my starting blog to one running since 5 years would of course not be a fair comparison and make me feel low. i try to turn it around when i find myself in that trap and pick one thing i admire on the other blog/person/*anything comparing to*. then i try to figure out how i can achieve this if i need/ want to. it’s not always good of course to take on what’s good for others so staying true to yourself is essential i guess.
    it’s also so important not to try and push others aside like gilda mentioned – it’s just so great to have access to such beautiful blogs and see how many people put effort into their ideas creating fashion we all benefit from!
    thanks for this post, jennine…

    Reply
  18. Princess Poochie

    I know that I get bitten by the green monster at times. Sometimes I even think of giving up writing because I can make myself crazy about comparing why I’m not getting something someone else does.

    But then I remember all the great people I’ve met through writing the site and that’s part of what keeps me going…. that and the hubby would be bored to tears if I keep talking shoes to him!

    Luv ya!

    Poochie

    Reply
  19. Eyeliah

    Great post Jennine, I have done the comparison thing, even with blogging. But yes, I did start for myself and continue for myself, I post what I like, maybe even to the point of detriment as I am not posting what others may want to see. I really take to heart what you said about unsubscribing, there are a few that I really need to ditch and will do that right after I write this comment. I never understood the cattiness aspect to that, you are so right that love is limitless and I always stay true to ‘if I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.’ That is what I appreciate so much about this community that I have seem to become a part of, you all are so very positive, polite, wonderful and reassuring. I really am so thankful for the ifb group and members, right onto my gratitude list..
    🙂
    .-= Eyeliah´s last blog ..Post of the Day ~ Still in Berlin =-.

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  20. Sandra

    ugh, I suffer from comparisonitis all the time. I can’t help it. I’m in a small niche. It’s hard being a blogger who has been around for a while and not question yourself. I think we all want to give up once in a while, but I loved your mantra – I’m doing this for myself. And if someone likes my dribble along the way, come along for the ride!

    Reply
  21. BobbinsAndBombshells

    “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” is what I’ve been telling myself for years. It really works. You never know what is really going on underneath someone’s seemingly glamorous life. Stick to your guns and stay true to yourself. Thanks for posting this Jennine! Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one, and everyone else is in the know. It’s not true, we are all figuring out this thing called life as we go along.
    .-= BobbinsAndBombshells´s last blog ..Fashionable History: Swimwear By Decade- 1930’s =-.

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  22. Barcelonette

    Yes, I sometimes feel like some of you. Some blogs make me lose my confidence as they get more and more popular all of a sudden. And then I get down for not having enought time to post, research and work on mine. RSS cleanse is a good idea! I’ll do it.
    Thanks,

    Barcelonette

    Reply
  23. reckless daughter

    This is really interesting… to me the blogworld (for the most part) is a positive, self esteem building place. But maybe it’s that the blogs I subscribe to and my own are generally positive places and all about ladies (and some men) who have their own thing going on and a great sense of self or at least they manage to project it that way.

    I feel like I am less likely to judge them and more likely to appreciate what they are doing, their own style no matter what shape, size, style, color scheme, etc. It’s such a warm community when it comes to complements and egging each other on with our posts and personal style. Of course, there are people who lean towards more negative comments but I find on the best blogs everyone sort of ignores the pointless negativity and quickly moves on the the next.

    To be fair, I have stopped following a few blogs because they seemed purely superficial and not genuine after I scratched the surface. some of them just weren’t my thing as far as what they were posting at the moment and, yeah, ok it feels good to clear that stuff out because you probably weren’t reading it anyway!

    Of course, I am only human and am occasionally envious of how so-and-so looks in that cute dress, how great his or her hair is, how cool it is that they have “x” item or get to travel to “x” place. But it’s by no means hurting my self worth, they are helping me grow and showing me that I can do all of these things if I choose to. Maybe I am a romantic about it but why would I be involved if it wasn’t a positive experience?!
    .-= reckless daughter´s last blog ..be my Valentino :: ss10 =-.

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  24. Crystal

    It’s a greatly written article, (I posted another comment on the original site), however I have to applaud you on writing the truth! It’s hard not to compare others with yourself when you’re thinking that person is “real” and not a celebrity.

    But the truth of the matter is that they ARE celebrities – one way or another. When they start getting noticed by tv channels, the news, magazines, then they are becoming semi-celebrity.

    Then in reality, you’re no longer being compared to average day people, you’re being compared to people with somewhat celebrity status.

    How many of us own that many clothes or a nice DSLR camera to take pictures with? Only a few percentage. I still blog for fun but at the back of my mind, I still think of what kind of articles will attract potential readers.

    Watermoolen,,, Crystal*
    .-= Crystal ´s last blog ..Monday, May 03, 2010 =-.

    Reply
  25. Larue Erlwein

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    Reply