My stomach lurched as I witnessed my online friend’s subscriber count grow hundreds within seconds. I couldn’t believe it as I would refresh her account I was actually witnessing someone’s channel go viral and it seemed insane that so many people would subscribe to a channel so quickly!
The part that made my stomach turn wasn’t that she was getting so many subscribers. I loved her channel and I loved her bright spirit on camera. It was that I had started my YouTube channel years before she did.
It didn’t seem fair that I was working so hard to grow my channel and nothing seemed to be working for me. NOTHING! I obviously wasn’t cool enough or trendy enough to create content that could go viral…obviously.
And it was all being proven in front of my eyes.
“Maybe I should just quit” were the words that echoed in my mind over and over again. I literally felt like I had been slapped in the face! I know that sounds dramatic but I’m just being real here, my friend.
Comparison will do that to you. And I was knee-deep in it.
Do you ever feel like that? You are working so hard at something, whether it be fitness, social media, starting a business, or your job, and it feels as though other people are succeeding and leaving you in the dust?
Maybe you scroll through Instagram and wonder how people’s lives seem to look so coordinated and put together. Photos with tons of white space and perfect pops of color in those little squares that make up only a small percentage of our lives.
It’s hard in this age not to compare yourself to others because social media makes it so darn easy to get a glimpse into the lives of others. Now you can even get a peek into the lives of your favorite celebrity so you can feel even further from your dreams of success!
Years ago I was in the clutches of comparison. It got so bad that I became afraid to be myself because I thought it would stop me from succeeding. I was so worried about sharing my opinion online because I was scared that people wouldn’t like me or would criticize me. I created this false belief that I couldn’t do what I wanted unless I had a certain number of followers online.
That sounds so ridiculous now, but at the time it felt like the one unifying internet message was that unless you were ultra popular you couldn’t make money online, work with your favorite brands, or create and sell your own products.
As you can see my priorities had been flipped turned upside down.
(Did you get that Fresh Prince of Bel Air reference?)
The thing is I was changing from a bold and creative person into this fearful wimp and I didn’t like it at all.
I was changing from a bold and creative person into this fearful wimp and I didn’t like it at all.
One wintry morning I awoke with a feeling of determination in my heart. I was fed up with fear and feeling stuck. I decided to finally make an announcement to anyone who would listen (on Youtube of course) that I was going on a “be fearless journey” to reclaim my courage!
For the entire following year (2014), I made choices to do what made me uncomfortable. It started with sharing my opinions more online and realizing that it actually sparked the conversation and responses I wanted! I also started networking with my local art community and making more friends that would eventually help me with my own creative projects.
The biggest test of all came when my family became victims of gun violence. This spiraled our lives into a very deep hole that we were only able to emerge out of by the grace of God. Through that experience I learned what can happen when you are transparent with your story and how it can bring out the best in a community.
Later that year I did the one thing that I thought I couldn’t do without a huge following and that was write a book! I was able to complete my first book in the beginning of this year which I hope to release next year.
All that time I had been lying to myself about what I could or couldn’t accomplish because I was comparing myself to others.
Throughout this journey I’ve learned a few tricks to help me whenever comparison starts to sneak back up. I want to share these tips with as many people as I can because I believe that too many of us get stuck in the comparison spiral and don’t make moves towards what we want to do in life.
1. Detox your social media
Take some time to go through your favorite social media accounts and take note of accounts that you follow that elicit less than happy feelings from you. Choose to follow accounts that inspire you to be better, bring you joy and motivation.
2. Re-evaluate the email lists you are on
Many of us are on email lists to gain information to accomplish things we are interested in. Maybe it’s to learn how to improve your blog or even find out about sales from your favorite stores. I want to challenge you to make sure you are on lists that make you feel great about yourself, inspire you to try something new or bring you some much-needed peace during the day.
3. Remember to take stock of your strengths
Take some time and get to know yourself and your strengths. Celebrate your own gifts and talents and find ways to use them to serve others. Know that you are valuable and important. When you are functioning in your own purpose and loving your own life it’s a lot easier to stop comparing yourself to others.
4. Ask Yourself: Is it the feeling or the doing?
When you see a picture of someone on a surfboard loving life and you get the twinge of jealousy decide if it’s the feeling or the doing that you desire. Sometimes we mistake the desire to feel as happy and satisfied as the person looks in that Instagram photo as actually wanting to do what that person is doing.
They are not the same thing.
Many times we just want to feel happy and content in our own lives and when we see that in someone else it makes us envious. Instead, stop and believe that if someone else can achieve happiness you can too. Work to create a life that makes you happy instead of looking at others and wishing you could be them.
These are just a few of my favorite simple tips to get started on stomping out the comparison bugs. If you’re interested in going deeper with guided exercises, I’ve created a free mini-course that you can take to help you start taking steps towards breaking free of comparison and embrace your own awesomeness!
What are some tips you’ve used in your own life to help you get through the ‘comparison bug’? COMMENT below!
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