It’s Dr. Kelly Wood, your Balanced Living Health and Wellness expert. My mission is to help women overcome their limitations and achieve total wellness and balanced living: mind,body and spirit. I do this through my blog, speaking and individualized group and VIP Balanced Living programs.
A few months ago a friend sent me a message commenting on how happy and carefree my life appeared. They were following me on social media and had seen the pictures I had posted. In most of them I doing something fun and always with a big smile on my face. The way they said it though, was as if they truly thought I didn’t have any problems or struggles. Like really?! I was a bit taken aback because at that very moment, that was furthest from the truth.
It however reminded me of the danger in placing too much credence on what we see on social media. We look at others’ pictures and posts and think they have perfect lives while ours…well ours suck! Before we know it, envy settles in. Envy which keeps us unhappy and void of gratitude for what we do have. Just like my friend, I would compare my life to the social media posts I saw too. However over the past few years, I remind myself of these three things whenever I fall into the comparison trap.
- NO ONE has a perfect life. I heard a preacher once say, “There’s always something that keeps us on our knees. All aspects of our lives will never work at the same time.” So that person who posts on Facebook about successes at work where they kick butt and take names, he might be lonely as heck and struggling in his personal life. The young mother who posts pictures of her children who are absolutely adorbs, she might feel like her life isn’t her own and is searching for her own meaning and purpose.
- We seldom post our lowest moments (especially as we are going through them) on FaceBook and to be honest, I don’t think social media is the place to air our dirty laundry. So take your friends’ account of their lives on social media with a grain of salt. It’s hardly ever what it seems. The grass really isn’t greener on the other side.
- Another thing to consider when we are tempted to fall into the envy/comparison trap is that we don’t know others’ past struggles or what they had to go through and conquer to get where they are. We might see a couple post pictures on Instagram and we get envious but do you know that this is his second marriage or that she survived domestic abuse in her previous relationship? The successful entrepreneur, posting his wins… this is his third business. Truly celebrate when others succeed because we don’t know what they had to survive. This should also be an encouragement to us that if we stay in momentum and don’t give up, we could achieve our dreams too.
That ‘happy’ person you see on social media doesn’t have a better, easier life than you do. In fact, it could be a lot worse than yours. The difference is, they are intentional about finding happiness each and every day. The truth is our happiness is our responsibility. No one is coming to save us. So rather than waste time comparing our lives with other people, we should focus all of our energy on creating OUR best lives. Tend to our own garden and stop looking at the grass on the other side.
Honestly, I thought by now I’d have a family- husband, two kids and maybe a cute dog, but my life hasn’t quite turned out that way. Sometimes it was difficult seeing friends experience what I wanted as I felt left behind. I have however changed my perspective and am now quite determined to live my best life and take advantage of the freedom of being single. I have fallen in love with travel- I get to go where I want, whenever I want and treat myself to whatever I want. I recently had the most amazing solo trip to London. As I explored on my own stumbling upon hidden gems in the city, I felt content. I had never felt so content.
What can you do today to stop comparing yourself to others and live your best life?
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