“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
At times, social media can feel like our ‘drug of choice’. In fact, our seemingly uncontrollable urge to go down the rabbit hole and become immersed in someone else’s life isn’t just a compulsion; for some of us, it’s a full-blown addiction. Like an insatiable appetite at an all-you-can-eat buffet, we hungrily consume posts of grandiose vacations, heroic health transformations, and mega-motivational messages until we’re stuffed. Like a moth to a flame, this addiction draws us dangerously closer to someone else’s “fire”. And the hotter it gets, the harder it is for us to look away.
But let’s be clear. As social animals, our desire to explore what others think, feel, and do is never a bad thing. Doing so could enhance our awareness, enlighten our path, and expand our worldview. Getting inside the heads and hearts of others could satisfy a curiosity, inform a decision, or perhaps even solve a problem that’s plagued us… at just the right point in time. And if it’s relevant stuff that jives with our authentic needs and desires, someone’s mojo could motivate us to hurdle our obstacles, raise our bar, and uplevel our game when we need it most. However, when our chronic tendency to stare and compare emanates from a place of oppressive jealousy or obsessive insecurity, it could derail our motivation to even look at the bar or participate in the game, at all.
In fact, when our scrolling habits go from excessive to obsessive, skewed perceptions can result in twisted emotions, causing our demagnetized internal compass to lead us astray from our true path. Clogged and cluttered with digital debris, we gradually lose our sense of self (and our mind). And like a case of mistaken identity, we soon realize that we’ve blindly adopted someone else’s version of reality as our own.
Instead of loving our life, we’ve fallen in love with the idea of someone else’s.
Fact: We’re generous *landlords* who allow *unqualified tenants* to rent space in our heads for free. In this sense, being a good landlord requires an ability to rise above the social media swell when we feel the undertow. It requires intentionality — a silent promise to not give our outer world permission to control our inner world. And it requires the guts to love our life, not the idea of someone else’s. In fact, when the temptation to scroll begins to take its toll, we’re the only ones who can boss ourselves into believing the five most infinitely empowering words in our vocabulary:
No one compares to you.
Be it in the physical or virtual world, we’ve all checked out what’s going on in our peripheral vision at one time or another. But like a sharp nail in a tire, reckless social comparison can deflate our sense of purpose. It can minimize the meaning of our unique mission. As abundance slips away, we can feel an inexplicable sense of scarcity. And it can completely erode our trust in our ‘landlord’.
So, as we stand at the crossroads between compare and despair, embrace your completely incomparable, radically real, and authentically awesome self. Because uniqueness isn’t an oddity, a weirdness, or a quirk. It’s a superpower.
About the Author: Joshua GARRIN is one of Your Monthly Mentors. He holds a Ph.D. in health psychology, an M.S. in cognitive psychology, and a B.S. in general psychology and journalism. He currently resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Following the completion of his doctorate in 2014, Joshua was the recipient of Walden University’s Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research for his inquiry on health beliefs, outcome expectancies, and stress appraisal in college seniors. Read More…