Comparison is not always a dirty word, but it can be.
We live in a culture of comparison. It’s magnified by our phones, our social media, and our insatiable need to document every single moment of our lives. We look to likes, to follows, and to clicks for validation and gratification. People now equate likes with potential income, and what used to be something just for fun has now become the state in which we govern ourselves and judge the lives of others. And it’s just… counterproductive.
When you start comparing your life to the ones you “follow,” you stop creating the life you want.
Tape that to your bathroom mirror and your refrigerator; tell yourself that every morning. Remind yourself of that all day if you need to. Type it out and make it your phone background so that you see this reminder every time you pick up your cell.
Liking a picture of your friend’s healthy meal will not make you eat better. Looking at new yoga pants will not get you to a class any faster. Seeing the posts of happy couples and chubby babies will not magically bring those relationships into your life. Soaking in photos of far-off places and pretty poems will not make you an artist if that’s your heart’s desire.
I know you know this.
I know we all know this.
And yet, we keep scrolling. We keep looking, we keep liking, and we keep comparing. We keep confusing inspiration with distraction.
Can you get inspiration from social media and the art and lives of others? Absolutely. I do it all the time.
But when what you are consuming is more than what you’re putting out there into the universe, it’s no longer inspiration, it’s a distraction. It’s quite possibly deflection from the growth you’ve made and the failures you’ve endured, and it clouds your vision of where you want to go.
Comparison is part of life, but it’s much more productive to compare yourself with yourself. That’s where growth happens; that’s when change is made.
Get off the carousel of competition with others and take a look at your own road map. What would happen if you tracked your own progress? What would happen if you wrote down your own dreams? What would happen if you stopped engaging with screens long enough to cultivate the relationships and art that you want to have in your life?
Go on, try it.
Stop looking outside yourself to track your own progress — look in. When you make it a habit to track your own progress and your own mistakes instead of worrying about those of others, you’re cultivating the ground to grow and flourish.