I have been very lucky to have very successful friends. I have friends who have succeeded in various industries, and I have friends who have luxurious lives. I have friends who have gorgeous homes in gorgeous places, who have won awards, who attend Super Bowls… you name it. Imagine that thing that you’ve always wanted… private jets, Malibu homes, important titles, and all of the accoutrements of a life well lived.
And then there is me. I have all that I could ever want. But I’m not in Ibiza right now like someone I know. And I’m not even on a Greek island like another person I know. I’m not going out to eat tonight at a fancy restaurant. I’m wearing grungy pants and a WordCamp t-shirt with my hair in a messy bun.
But if I told you where I am, how I spent my day, or even how I am living now, you might compare yourself to me and consider my life to be fairly epic in comparison to your own.
That comparison, no matter to whom you’re comparing yourself to, is really awful. (Ask me how I know.)
Social media can be wonderfully connecting. But if we fall into comparison, it can terrible for our mental health. No matter the abundance and joy you are experiencing today, social media shows you how someone else is experiencing some other kind of abundance and joy that you’re not experiencing. It can cause us to compare ourselves to others in ways that take us out of appreciation of the present moment, you know, the ever present now that holds your power.
Like me, looking at my friend on a beach in Ibiza.
Gratitude for What You Have
There is immense power in being present. Being present with the trees (or cacti!), with your breath, with you, is your point of power from which all creation occurs. And having gratitude for the smallest thing in your life is both freeing and empowering. You cannot create something more for yourself if you’re feeling like less. Even if your gratitude is only for being able to bend over and tie your shoes, that gratitude sets you up for expansion into more than you ever dreamed.
Who You Were Yesterday
If you do feel the need to compare, instead compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Who were you last week? Or even think back on who you were 6 months ago. Have you made improvements to your life since then? More likely than not, if you’ve invested in your future, you’re doing far better now than you once were.
A comparison to who you once were shows that you’ve been growing this whole time, even when you thought you were not.
In some respects, when I look over the last decade of my life, there are some real milestones of achievement. And, there are some drastic, fear-based decisions I’ve made that have taken me off of my path and my purpose. But even with those mistakes, they showed me more of who I really am and gave me a greater appreciation of those goals I once had. It’s all been growth, and it has all been good.
Taking stock of who you are today in comparison only to who you once were is the only comparison you need. It gives you a realistic check in of who you are, it gives you a check in of how far you’ve come, and also gives you an idea of where you might have missed your target.
Realistically Appreciate Others
It doesn’t mean you have to turn a blind eye to others or social media, but a realistic appreciation from afar is empowering. Looking at gorgeous photos of friends enjoying their life can feel good when we truly appreciate others’ good fortune. But it’s also important to remember we are limited to only showing a small part of the best part of our lives.
And that appreciation can also be fodder for our own bucket list.