Comparison is the thief of joy

What is it about Sundays that turn us all into emotional wrecks? According to logic, Sunday should be just like any other day, but it seems that its position tucked neatly away at the end of the week seems to have transformed it into a day of sober reflection for all of us. Hangover or no hangover, I have often found that Sunday is my designated day of contemplation, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Today’s post is often the subject of my Sunday thoughts, in fact, it’s been in my drafts for many months, yet for some reason it remained unrealised until now. If you read my post Instagram vs reality: A friendly reminder, then you will already have an insight into my opinions about how ‘real life’ is portrayed online, and if you haven’t, then I urge you to if you want a good laugh at my expense (you’ll see what I mean when you read it). Even before becoming a blogger, I have always been aware of the ways in which apps like Instagram can warp your perceptions of a ‘normal’ life. However, I must admit that since entering the bloggersphere, I have noticed more than ever how easy it could be for someone to convincingly portray an online persona, look or life that doesn’t necessarily match their real life one.

I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram, I admire people who can take great photos with flawless looks and who achieve great things through their platform, I realise how difficult it actually is to create content on a regular basis and overall I think bloggers get too much stick for doing what they enjoy doing. Nevertheless, I have found it increasingly important to remind myself that a photo, created specifically to contribute to a certain aesthetic, is nothing more than just that, a photo. As much as I we feel that we have been let in to someones life, we only know what the pictures and stories tell us, and as recent events have shown, the reality can be a far cry from what we think to be true.

The title quote of this post is often something that resonates with me when I’m browsing on social media, because I personally feel that it sums things up perfectly. Comparing yourself to others may start out as source of inspiration and ambition, but when done excessively, it becomes precisely what Roosevelt stated, a thief of joy. For many people, Instagram is a job, a brand, a business, and for that reason I have to remind myself of it’s constructed nature. Despite this, it can be difficult not to analyse your own life in ways you never thought you would, I mean, you scroll for five minutes and all of a sudden you need a haircut, a spray tan and even jaw surgery?? I didn’t even know that existed until now…

This post isn’t necessarily to advise that you should simply stop comparing yourself altogether, because that would at the least be hypocritical and quite frankly a little patronising. Of course it’s just not as easy as that. Instead, this post is more of a reflection and a reminder that whatever you’re feeling, I can assure you that others are all feeling it too, no matter how high up the internet social ladder they may appear to be. Insta vs reality has sort of become a meme in recent years, but the premise remains completely true. Very few people really know what’s going on in your life, so it’s important to remember that it’s the same the other way round, because a picture really doesn’t speak a thousand words.