We all know that “comparison is the thief of joy”, and the “opposite of productivity”, but I still do it sometimes, and I bet you do too. Thankfully, I've figured out some things that help me not do as often as I have, which has enriched my life more than I can admit. Maybe they will help you too?
Here are the 5 steps I've taken to stop comparing myself to other bloggers:
1. Identify the Triggers
The first step is always admitting that you have a “problem” right? 😉 If you've never thought about it before, take a minute today to recognize how you feel when you look at certain things. Do you look at a fashion blog and immediately feel envy? or like you're not as “good” as she is? Do you start feeling like you're missing out on things when you check in on Facebook? If you do, then THESE are your triggers. My triggers are certain other fashion blogs, Pinterest & Facebook, so I tend to stay away from all of them unless I'm in the “right” state of mind or I'm doing competitive analysis. What are yours?
2. Remove the triggers
Just stop looking. It's harder than it sounds, because it's sort of ingrained in us in this day of being connected all the time, and knowing what's happening everywhere, but I promise, the internet won't break if you stop looking at it for two weeks. In fact, you'll probably be happier, feel better, get outside more, and not buy as much!
3. Shift your focus
When you find yourself going down that rabbit hole of envy and comparison, get up and walk away from the computer, or put your phone down and go outside. Take a bath, play with the cat, do ANYTHING but what you were doing when that voice in your head started saying “she's so much better than you, you'll never be that successful.”
4. Work backwards
I find this very helpful: look at the photo and try to determine what went into making it. Did the blogger roll out of bed with bouncy hair, smokey eyes, and Pashli bag in tow, perfectly poised the first time? Probably not. What went into that perfect home office shot on Pinterest? Was it spontaneous? (her office ALWAYS looks that perfect, clean, and there's always a candle burning?) Probably not. There's a lot of set up and time involved to “create” the perfect Pinterest or blog photo; more often than not, they do not reflect reality. You can take the time and make the effort to create “perfect” photos too, if you want to.
Here's a personal example: last week I took a photo of some of my clothes on a rolling rack in my office. I grabbed everything I wanted to photograph and took it downstairs, hung it on the rack and photographed it. As I was setting up the photo, I thought to myself “If I was a fashion blogger I'd make sure all the hangers match and are turned the right way. Maybe I'd put a plant there, or if I had a poster featuring cool typography, I'd hang it behind.” This is absolutely true. I had wooden hangers, blue hangers, black hangers, you name it…but that's just me, I don't do a lot of set up when I take photographs, or else they'd never get done. I have to do what I need to do to get the picture and move on to other things. I don't think my readers cared about the hangers; the post content would have been exactly the same. And while my photo was definitely not pin-worthy, it was ALL ME.
So, yes, you can create a more “perfect” photograph, or image you want to project, if you want to. But if you don't, then that's okay too.
5. Be grateful for what you have
Ultimately this is what will bring you back to reality – being happy with what you've accomplished and for the things you have in your life. That is the only thing you can know for sure. Even with social media and blogs, we don't know the reality of any blogger's situation (unless she chooses to talk about it frequently). We don't know what's going on inside of her, or in her relationship, or with her family life. All we KNOW is what we have to be thankful for in our own lives. What better example is there of this than L'Wren Scott? By all outward appearances she had EVERYTHING, yet she chose to end her life. Having everything, and more importantly APPEARING to have everything does not equal happiness and satisfaction with life. Would you want to trade your life for what you see on Pinterest? I wouldn't.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]