Don’t be fooled by all the happy posts you see on social media and definitely don’t start comparing yourself or your life to someone else’s.
We’re human, and we all experience some form of discomfort at some point in our lives. Life is not always candy and roses, and it’s important to remember before you start thinking your life is not blessed. I have more doubt than you know or like to admit, but I continue to think positively, remind myself daily that I am worthy, and lastly I keep smiling.
Those who post positivity are attempting to empower others; they’re also helping themselves. Posting positivity reminds the individual everything is going to be ok, something they need to tell themselves.
I don’t often share this with everyone, but I feel inspired today. Here is a personal quote and mantra of mine, and one I wrote a few years ago when I was recovering from a period of severe depression: “Trust Yourself, Love Yourself and Believe In Yourself.” – Corey Wesley
During my depression, I struggled with trusting myself. Now, I realize my gut (confidence in myself) is a direct connection to something greater than myself, and it will never lead me in the wrong direction.
I love myself, but back then loving myself was situational. The change occurred when life appeared hard or wasn’t what I wanted for myself. Situational love is temporary and not loving oneself completely.
I am still working on the loving myself part, but today I am proudly a better version of myself who is beginning to enjoy who he is becoming as a person (man) more and more each day.
Believing in yourself is simple, and easy to digest but the hardest notion to accept. Our dreams are ours, and only for us, and no-one can take that away from us unless we allow them to. If you work towards the success of your dreams, your dreams will come to fruition!
The article, “The Heartbreaking Cruelty of Comparing Yourself to Others” is an article I keep bookmarked because it’s the reason I can recuse myself from depression. Having experienced the worse depression this summer, I found myself longing for this article, and after reading it, I realize why. We fall victim to comparing ourselves to others daily, especially when social media is designed to showcase the fabulousness of life. It’s not intended to showcase the hardships in life. Just think about it for a second. When we are sad, feeling lonely, or are financial strapped, we stop posting. We are conditioned to accept only the positive as being true. However, that’s far from the truth. The human condition is designed for struggle. Our struggles in life are part of the bigger picture. We are here to create better versions of ourselves, and only when we reach the best version of ourselves are we ready to transition into something even better, a free state of being.
I believe the following article is something we all should read. It’s a piece from Zen Habits written by Leo Babauta:
We all do it: we look at what others are doing and wish we were doing that too.
Or, alternatively, we scoff at what they’re doing and judge them, and see ourselves as better.
One makes us feel bad, the other makes us feel superior.
Neither makes us happy.
Let’s take a couple of quick examples.
Example 1: Looking at Instagram
I’m not an Instagram user, but family members are, and I see the kinds of things that are posted: people going to parties, to the beach, having a great dinner, traveling, going on a run, doing yoga … generally living an amazing life.
If you were to look at these on a regular basis, it would be easy to compare your boring life (looking at your phone) to the incredible lives of your friends. Why aren’t you doing more? Why aren’t you eating more beautiful food? Why aren’t you traveling or exercising or doing anything other than what you’re doing right now? Why don’t you have a better body?
It’s not a fair comparison, of course. They’re not posting photos of themselves when they’re doing the more mundane things, including sitting around looking at their phones. They’re not posting about their anxieties or boredom, their arguments and procrastination, their insecurities.
But even if you do an apples-to-apples comparison — your highlights to theirs — what use is that? Do the highlights of our lives need to be better than anyone else’s? Why?
Do the highlights determine our happiness? Do they show us what life is about?
No: happiness comes from appreciating what’s in front of you, not wishing you were doing something else. You find out what life is about by paying closer attention to it, not wishing you were living a fantasy.
We don’t need to be better than anyone else: we just need to love where we are and what we’re doing and who we are. That’s what matters.
The comparisons don’t make us happier or appreciate life more — they make us feel horrible about ourselves. And that’s heartbreaking.
Example 2: Judging Someone Else
Let’s say I have worked hard to change my habits, quitting smoking and then taking up regular exercise and eating a lot healthier. I’ve worked hard to make myself into a healthy person, and I’m proud of it.
Then I see someone else who is overweight, who eats junk all the time and smokes and can’t seem to stick to an exercise plan.
One common reaction is to look at this overweight person and judge them: why don’t they stop eating all that junk? Go for a daily walk, eat some vegetables? They have no self-control! They are to blame for their problems.
So we judge them, and in comparison we feel superior for not having those bad habits. But this doesn’t make us happy: judging someone else only makes us dislike them. That’s not happiness — that’s shaking our heads in disgust.
We wish they were more like us, and might even feel some frustration that they don’t take action to do something good for themselves.
This doesn’t make us appreciate life more — it makes us wish it were different, and frustrated that it isn’t.
Instead, we might consider trying to understand the person. Have we ever struggled with habits? Have we ever felt bad about ourselves? Of course we have.
We know what it feels like to go through difficulty, to feel hopeless, to not think we can change. We don’t know what it feels like to be this person, but maybe we can imagine that they’re suffering, and we can wish for their suffering to end.
The Two Habits
In both cases, the comparisons led to feeling really bad about ourselves or others. This is heartbreaking, because we are good people, and so are they. It’s only in comparison that we take what’s wonderful and turn it into something cruel.
I propose two habits to replace comparison:
Appreciate where you are. Instead of looking at the lives of others, see the goodness in front of you, inside of you. Appreciate each moment, one at a time, and be happy where you are. When you find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others, turn to the moment in front of you and find ways to appreciate it.
Seek to understand, not judge. When you find yourself frustrated with others, or judging them … instead, try to understand them. Are they going through a hard time? Are they frustrated? Sad? Angry? Feeling hopeless? Do you know what that’s like? When we understand a person, we let go of judgment.
With these two strategies, our heart comes to the right place. And we let go of the cruelty of comparisons, as unthinkably unnecessary. (Indented content pulled from Zen Habits, authored by: Leo Babauta)
Wow, I’m inspired just reading this article, and hopefully, you’re inspired writing. Spiritual healing is also necessary for each of us, and it’s the foundation that helps us become the better version of ourselves.