THE NECESSARY EVIL OF COMPARISON
From time immemorial, people have always compared themselves to others; from looks and lifestyle to possessions, career and opportunity. Sometimes you can tell when there is a bit of comparison going on (often in the form of competition) either between friends, colleagues and even mere acquaintances and with the advent of social media this has only gotten progressively worse. We are all trying to keep up appearances, act like we've all got our shit together, that life is beautiful and everything is popping and 'on fleek' (doubt that we even still use that term anymore...sigh!) even when we all know that life is never smooth sailing for anybody. As more and more people post their successes and 'glamorous lifestyles for all to see, still more people are getting stuck in the disease of comparing their realities to what they see on social media. Everyone is trying to present an edited, glossy visual of what their lives really are and it's all because of the images we see on Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat etc with all the catchy hashtags that make you wonder why your life isn't worthy of its own cool hashtag.
Lately I've been seeing a lot of bloggers and Youtubers talk about topics similar to this (it seems like we are all guilty of getting sucked in to what we see on the internet and need to remind ourselves to remain grounded) like the ever present fear of failure, comparisons to other established creators, wanting to appear perfect, and because of that, they take breaks from creating content on their platforms. Established creatives in the industry or any industry in fact, have tried (perhaps unsuccessfully) to dissuade newer bloggers/Youtubers from comparing themselves or their platforms to theirs. They try to tell us that we possibly have it easier than they did because there were no role models when they were starting out to guide them through to success and so had to learn everything on their own. They link old videos to drive home the point that they started the same way we are but it does very little to erase or alleviate our fears of never being able to measure up, acquire the same levels of success and have big name brands and businesses collaborate with us. They have followers and subscribers in the thousands and millions and the rest of us can't help but feel intimidated by those numbers.
Even within our own circle of friends sometimes, we compare ourselves so much to the point where it seems like a competition to see who can rise higher, acquire more, go further, be better and the list goes on. This often could lead to jealousy if care is not taken which is never a healthy state of mind to be in. I of course am not exempt because I am but human afterall and like you, I want what I want when I want it even though I know things don't always work that way. It was former U.S president, Theodore Roosevelt who said "comparison is the thief of joy" and while he was right, many have come to disagree with this statement claiming that when comparison is used as a skill, it can be positive in that it gives you a happiness boost when used to spark levels of gratitude and to restore one's humanity. In other words, that you are able to do something to help others less fortunate than you when you see how blessed you are in comparison to another who may not be as privileged to have the things you do. While I gree with this position, the fact of the matter is that it can get incredibly difficult to do because majority of us don't compare ourselves to those who have less than we do but to those who have more since that is what we aspire to.
When the online giants like the Patricia Brights and Jackie Ainas of the world show us all their brand collabs, trips to exotic locations and invites to all the high profile events, people like you and I want to be inspired and motivated (which we usually are) but then we start comparing their platforms to our tiny blogs and channels, forgetting that these things did not happen overnight for them, that's when depression and feelings of never being able to attain the same peaks of success start to set in.
When comparison is incorrectly done, that's when issues like insecurity, jealousy and other negative emotions come into play. However, done correctly, comparison helps us see how we measure up to others, so that we can either imitate them or do the opposite. It may not always be a comfortable feeling knowing that you possibly do not measure up to someone else but you must let it teach you how you ought to be or not be or what to do and not do. It's just one of those things that I guess we chunk up to being a necessary evil in life. Hard as it might be, every effort should be made never to compare our beginning to anyone else's middle and yet I often wonder where in my life's story I'm at or question if I'm even growing sometimes but I know I am, it may just be hard to see at first. Am I alone?