I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘The grass is greener on the other side’. You probably know too that sometimes, it really isn’t. Welcome to Day 4 of my Mental Health Awareness Week posts. This week we focus on not comparing ourselves to others.
With accessibility to each others’ lives now made easier than ever through social media, it’s always easy to think that others have it better than we have. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. The key thing is, you should stop comparing.
Social media is a snapshot of a life. Individuals actively select what to share or not to share. It is a depiction of how each person wishes to be viewed or a creation of statements to be acknowledged. It is not a true reflection of a person in their entirety.
Often, I will see photos of friends smiling and the amazing lives they are leading. I am happy for them, truly I am. At some point in the past I thought, ‘I wish I were as happy as that’ or ‘If only I could do those things too!’. But the truth is, I’m sure some people look at my Facebook profile and think I have a wonderful life. I do, but it’s not wonderful all of the time. A lot of people also think I’m always happy and have it together. I promise you, I really don’t. And that’s ok – that’s how life is.
When you’re feeling low, try to avoid comparisons with peers. No one has it all sorted. In fact, it’s more than ok to not have everything 100% perfect – because that’s living in reality. What we need to do is learn to accept ourselves and our situations. Some of these situations can be really very bad, but the main thing is to try not to have negative internal talk of ‘I should be this’ or ‘I should be that’. What you should be is You. It’s very ok to be You. And if things are bad, all it takes is one talk with that friend with the ‘perfect life’ and you’ll find that they too have their struggles.
One thing I’ve discovered is how many people will not first offer information about their problems. Of course it’s each individual’s prerogative to keep things private. The problem for those who struggle emotionally is that it can make them feel like everyone else in the whole world has it together. However, you would be surprised that if you’re pretty open about your problems, it’s amazing how others will suddenly open up with relief that you’re both going through similar things! Sharing your problems with a good friend, a co-worker or counsellor can be a great way to get back perspective. We’re all in this world together. We all have causes of struggle and wish to be happy.
When we discover that others also have struggles, we realise that perhaps the grass isn’t greener on the other side after all. All it is is the same field with a fence in between. Each have the potential to be green(er), but you must look after your own field in order to reap the rewards instead of spending time comparing.
So pull out the weeds, plant some flowers and try to appreciate what you have. And if times are rough and you can’t help comparing, find someone to share your problems with to gain solutions or place things back into perspective. We all deserve happiness, but first should appreciate what we already have and then tend to the areas we want to improve and grow.