“Comparison is a thief of joy.”
We have all heard and even say this quote, yet often still fall victim to it. Now that we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat it can be super hard to get away from the highlight reels of everyone else’s life. It’s nearly impossible to go without seeing an engagement post, travel shot, overly edited photo, or new car/home announcement. Social media is wonderful because of the opportunity it allows for us to connect with others but a downside is the affects it can have on us, myself included. Keeping up with the Joneses and trying to show perfection is hard and mentally draining to say the least.
Faking it until you make it is widespread among our age demographic. All too often we post Instagram pictures of ourselves living our best life with “candid” images of us laughing & having staged fun with our friends. We promote the idea of being happy, young and having it all together. The reality is that most of us are stressed and pissed the jobs we thought were going to be great opportunities maybe didn’t turn out to be so great all while finding our footing in the world. The perpetual thought is that we should be further than we are by now, but believe it or not there are multiple pathways to success and we are blooming where we were planted.
This need to display perfection on social media is known as the Duck Syndrome. The duck syndrome has been specifically described in millennials and refers to the way in which the sufferer looks very calm and collected on the surface but in reality they are struggling to stay afloat with everything going on in their life. Think about it like this, when you see a duck gliding on top of water it looks very effortless, but if you look beneath the surface they are paddling frantically. The duck syndrome signifies counterfeit easiness and intellect laced with anxiety, fear of failure, frustration, stress and insecurities.
Duck syndrome/comparison oftentimes leads to: wasting energy, jealousy, competition and unrealistic expectations. It eats away at our ability to be self-confident and gratified. Instead of cheering on our peers we sometimes race them to the finish line of whatever the goal is. It’s better to view our peers as companions of life and not competitors of it.
Oftentimes we don’t discuss the reality of our situations: such as our feelings of inadequacy, monotony with the very position we thought we’d love or just normal growing pains. In reality we’ve convinced everyone that we have it together while perfecting our “brand” with our duck faces masking our real pain. Sadly, we sometimes put more work into perfecting our brand than perfecting ourselves.
The real question is: How do I stop comparing myself?
The remedy is super simple, but sometimes it’s hard in practice…
Sometimes you may need to take a social media detox to really evaluate where YOU are in life. If you aren’t detoxing then it’s important to be honest about your struggles. Now, I’m not saying to post ALL the blood, sweat and tears but I am saying to be transparent. Don’t just mask them with all the glory and none of the story. Allow yourself to see what your peers are doing but also make a plan to better YOURSELF. As a perfectionist I know all too well the dangers of comparing yourself to others, as well as, overworking.
There is a difference in emulating and envying others. Emulating someone is learning whatever they’re doing and trying to follow their model. Emulating leads to putting the work and sacrifice in for the prize, whatever it is. Envy on the other hand, is mere jealousy for the rewards of the labor and not necessarily the work itself. Envy discounts the struggle to reach the success. Learning the difference can save yourself so much energy, while keeping your spirit clear of negativity.
Beyoncé said it best, “Perfection is a disease of a nation.” We’re of course not saying to stop working hard to achieve your goals. Shoot for the stars, but understand that even though everything may not work out perfectly, it will still work out for your perfect story to inspire someone else.
Images: via GIPHY & personal iPhone