There’s a very fine line between inspiration and comparison, while the first can drive you to raise your own personal standards and accomplish dreams, the other can cause envy, negative self-image, and even lead to serious depression. Even though we all know how detrimental to our mental health comparing ourselves to others can be, it’s something that’s become close to impossible to avoid, much in part due to social media…
This may sound ironic coming from me, a social media influencer whose job it is to live on social platforms and share life and inspo, but take it from me, I struggle with comparison just as much, if not even more than your average. That’s actually what’s inspired me to write this article. To be my best self for not only my personal sanity, but the health of my family, I’ve had to identify my triggers and bad habits regarding social media intake, and change them! I’ve cut myself off! If you’re struggling from similar feelings, read on to hear what’s worked for me and can hopefully help you too!
1. Never start your day with consuming. Before taking in other people’s energy, get your own positive energy flowing whether that be in the form of exercise, meditation, prayer, cooking, walking your dog, talking to your fish, whatever it may be, create a morning ritual that makes YOU feel GOOD and starts your day off on the right foot because I truly believe you dictate your mood for the rest of the day within the first 20 mins.
2. Identify your triggers. If you’re being honest with yourself, you can probably figure out the accounts and people you follow whether they be friends, influencers, celebrities, gossip accounts, that make you feel dark inside. Just unfollow. If something sets you off, remove it from your life. If it’s a friend and you feel bad unfollowing, mute their account.
3. Set time limits. Identify a healthy amount of consumption time for yourself per day and really try to stick to it (your phone actually has a feature where you can limit your own social media consumption time so use it if you must). For me, there’s always a point, when scrolling the gram turns from inspo to dark feelings and questions to myself about why I’m not living up to some imaginary floating standard my brain starts subconsciously constructing from the highlights of that day’s feed. And because of the way IG’s algorithm works now, we’re really only seeing the highlights of the highlights because that’s all they’ll show, just making people’s glory moments seem that much more abundant than they ever seemed in the past.
I really struggle with this as a creator because I hate to think that I’m ever part of the problem or can make people feel this way, and that’s a balance I am constantly looking to find with my own content. I love to post my life highlights too and cute moments of my 2 year old… it may bring joy to some and it may trigger others. Would love your feedback on the type of content I create that makes you feel good and you gain from, and the content that has the opposite effect on you.
4. Stop using social media as a crutch. This is a really bad habit we’ve all gotten into. Not only have we made habits of scrolling social media while we have a spare minute at home on the couch or if you’re like me, when you lock yourself in the bathroom to get a minute away from your toddler, but also when we’re out in public or at a lunch and feel uncomfortable around new people and don’t know what to talk about. It really really limits the possibility of striking up new relationships and just exercising our physical social skills. We used to have to look up and talk to each other in a bar or at a conference, now it’s easier to just stay in our own little bubbles with all of our “Insta-friends” to keep us warm, but it’s really so incredibly isolating and the effects of that can lead to darker feeling of loneliness over time.
5. Set your own bar. The more you identify for yourself what would make you feel accomplished and fulfilled in life (I like to physically write these down in list form with pen and paper), the easier it will be for you to stay mentally focused on a positive track to those goals, and harder it will be for the dark side of Insta to derail you. If you don’t know what your life goals and desires are, it’s easy for your brain to get side tracked and tricked into thinking you’re worthless without things you probably wouldn’t have thought twice about otherwise like that new Bottega bag or a trip to Tulum lol.
My last piece of advice here would be to take complete social media detoxes from time to time, where you do not enter the apps for a number of days to clear your mind and just force you to remember (or learn) what life was like with your head up, present, in the moment, and focused on your own life more than the lives of others. Completely delete the apps from your phone for your detox periods if you have to. Last time I did this was for 6 glorious days at the end of 2019, right after Christmas, and I swear it fueled me into 2020 with such a clear head and ready to accomplish goals I had set out to do but couldn’t find it in me to accomplish all of 2019. New music, a music video, started this article series, designed a capsule collection with KYA Swim that’s set to launch in May and finalized designs for my own baby brand that’s launching late summer. Consume less, do more. I should be telling you the opposite because I want you to consume my content lol, but even more I want you to LIVE and I want my daughter to live in a world where people still know how to talk to each other face to face and where teenage depression isn’t on the rise because of the pressures and comparison of social media.
Let’s find the balance.