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how I'm choosing to live my best life

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Katherine Moon
Katherine Isabella Moon
Meow, hello there, my name is Katherine, but you can call me Kat; because I basically am a cat. Anyways, I am a 26-year-old, lifestyle blogger, with an INFP-T personality type, from the United States. I love fashion, the color pink, cats, dogs, and spending all my time on my computer. I'm often seen wearing cat ears headbands.
The Kat Life
The Kat Life

how I'm choosing to live my best life

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How To Prevent Comparison From Stealing Your Joy

Today I choose joy

In my last post where I discussed the best and worst ways that social media impacts my life, I mentioned the fact that, on social media, it's super easy to compare yourself to others; or compare your life to the lives of others. In that same post, I also offered a few tips on how to combat that comparison. But let's really talk about this for a minute, because I know just how quickly comparison can kill your mood; and it's not always even caused by Instagram or anything on social media, but by real life. As a matter of fact, for me personally, comparison with people that I know in real life kills my mood much quicker than any Instagram post from someone I follow on the internet.

This isn't to say that I'm not happy for these people, whether I just know them from social media or in real life, when good things come their way; but sometimes I can't help but wonder when my time will come for certain things, and sometimes will mind will also say "or if my time will come", which is never a fun thought. Especially when it comes to those things that I've always dreamed of, that I really thought I'd have by the time I turned 25; but here I am at 25 (and a half), and I'm still living at home, I've never been on a vacation that was anything more than a day trip, I'm basically single, I'm socially awkward AF, and the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, others from my graduating class (2013) are buying their first home, getting married, having kids, getting big promotions; you get the idea. I can relate to so much of what one of my favorite bloggers, Lucy Mary, said in her post about having a mid-life crisis in your mid-20s. Apparently, you don't have to be in your mid-30s or 40s to have one; because I certainly feel like I'm having one!

As I was saying though, that kind of comparison can seriously make you go from completely feelin' yourself to "what the fuck am I doing with my life" quickly.  But depending on how you handle it, and how you talk to yourself in these situations, you can bring yourself out of that state of mind, and you can even turn comparison into a way to find a bit of gratitude!

Comparison is the thief of joy

Never compare yourself to someone who has been doing something for years longer than you have

Be proud of how hard you're working
Photo courtesy of Emma Matthews on Unsplash

I said this in my previous post, but seriously, why would you compare yourself against someone who has been working on something, or doing something much longer than you have? Especially when you're first starting out. Whether we're talking about building a brand or online presence, taking up a new hobby or skill, starting a fitness or wellness journey, or whatever else, it makes no sense to compare yourself to someone who's been already been doing it for two, five, ten, or however many more years. It's not even a fair comparison, like at all! Everyone starts somewhere, and most people don't share their struggles from the beginning of their journey, or from when they first started; although there are many people who do at least briefly discuss it now, which I actually find to be rather inspiring and motivational! 

Seriously though, don't feel bad about being a beginner, and for not figuring it all out or mastering your new craft overnight, or even in the first few months, or maybe even the first couple of years. It's also important to remember that everyone progresses at different rates, and everyone starts off in a different place, depending on a number of factors, and depending on what that thing is; sometimes it's just pure luck or knowing the right people, or being in the right place at the right time, especially when we're talking about building a following online or landing a dream job. Though this definitely isn't to say you can't achieve those same goals through pure passion and hard work! Some people are also just an absolute natural at certain things such as writing, drawing, cooking, or doing a certain workout or playing a certain sport; so it just came super easy to them, although they still had to start from somewhere to get to where they are now. I could go on and on about all the different factors that can affect the rate at which someone progresses at getting better at something. 

Back to the point though, you simply can't compare yourself to someone who has already been doing something for a really long time. Nor can you even compare yourself to anyone else on a seemingly similar journey for the matter, as we're all on our own journey; and the only person you should compare yourself to is yourself at different parts of your journey. And if you're just starting? Think of it this way, you've already taken the first step (or steps) on your journey, when not too long ago, you were only thinking or dreaming of it! 

Appreciate the beauty or talent in others, but also acknowledge and appreciate your own beauty and talents

Comparison is the thief of joy
Photo courtesy of Alasdair Braxton on Pexels

Although I don't struggle with comparing how I look versus how someone else looks as much as I used to, I still have my moments; but I think all women do. Heck, I imagine a lot of men, and people in general, struggle with this a little from time to time when they see some beautiful person; whether on Instagram, Tumblr, or passing by them on the street. I often find myself looking at other women and thinking, "I wish my hair and nails would grow to be that long and healthy", or with that I had certain facial features, or whatever; or I'll start dwelling on my imperfections and the things about myself that I'm insecure about, especially the ones I can't "fix" in a day. But as I've noticed, especially in adulthood, it's true that we're our own worst bully and our own harshest critic; yes, there are some pretty mean people out there, especially on the internet where everyone can hide behind a screen, but for the most part, we are our own biggest critic. There's actually even a chance that the "beautiful person" that you're admiring the beauty of, and may even be a little bit envious of, may also have their own insecurities about something; maybe even about the very thing you're a bit envious of or admire the most about them! 

The same principle can be applied when thinking about your talents, your work, and other areas of your life as well. I know for a fact that I'm rather hard on myself when it comes to my artwork, photography, graphic design, writing, blogging, workouts, you name it. I'm always looking at other people's work or reading their blog posts and thinking "this is absolutely amazing", and it's hard for me to give other people genuine criticism a lot of the time, because if anything I can only suggest minor changes because it's that good! But then I look at my own work and pick it apart, and find every little thing I'd like to change about it. Don't get me wrong, it's good to want to get better at something, and it shows you have passion for it; and that may be why we all criticize ourselves so hard. But remember what I said about not comparing your work or abilities to others, especially in the beginning? 

Another important thing to remember that not everything is a competition, or it doesn't always have to be. Rather than looking at other people as competition, why not look to them for inspiration and motivation to get better at whatever it is you love instead? Or simply appreciate their beauty, their talents, or whatever they have going for them; but don't forget to appreciate your own beauty, talents, and whatever you have going for you as well. 

I challenge you to make a list of the things you like about yourself (both externally and internally), the things you know you're good at, and the blessings you have in your life, and write them down, so you can refer to them whenever you need a reminder. 

Remember that "likes" and follower counts on social media don't really mean much

Photo courtesy of Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

I know, I know, another person saying, "social media doesn't mean anything in the grander scheme of life... blah, blah, blah... thank you for coming to my Ted Talk", and it really doesn't; but I'm not just talking about all that "get outside and smell the flowers without your phone" stuff here. Like for real, the number of followers you have, likes you get, views you get, comments, etc really doesn't mean shit. Especially since it seems that every social media site runs on some ridiculous algorithm now, so if you're not getting a lot of followers, likes, views, or whatever, especially when you're first starting out, it's not because your content isn't good (or amazing), but because the algorithm may not be showing it to everyone if you haven't figured out how to make it work for you. But heck, I've even heard some relatively popular content creators talk about this, especially with YouTube not sending their videos to subscribers; and Instagram having an issue with putting posts in chronological order. 

Seriously though, what's wrong with just having everything in chronological order (looking at you Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram); or with making sure we see our subscriptions (seriously YouTube, I subscribe to a channel for a reason). These algorithms are seriously a pain in the ass for creators, consumers, and just about anyone else using the site; especially since it seems they put stuff from people you're not even following before the stuff from the people you are following. Then sometimes the stuff you do end up seeing from the people you're following is either from hours ago, yesterday, or even several days ago. Ugh. 

Remember that people don't share everything

Girl hiding behind flowers
Photo courtesy of Peter Bucks on Unsplash

Again, I said this in my last post, but most people really don't share everything on the internet, not even daily vloggers; but people also don't share or talk about everything in real life either. As a matter of fact, some people may share even less in person than they would to strangers on the internet to avoid judgment from their family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, or whoever. Point is, for the most part, people only share the highlights of their life and rarely share the bad or the mundane; and when (and if) they do share their struggles so they can get it off their chest, they're not likely going to fully elaborate on all the details.

As far as the mundane goes, most people just don't feel the need to share it, as it's pretty much just their everyday life and doesn't seem all that special, so there's just no need to share all the time. Sure, they may give you a snapshot of the highlights of their typical day, but more than likely, they're going to talk more about the exciting things that they've done recently or the big things that are going on in their life right now; without really mentioning their regular day to day life, or the four hours they spent watching reruns of some random show on TV last night. 

Try downward comparison rather than upward comparison

Today I am grateful notebook
Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Let me start off by saying that this isn't about being cocky or arrogant, but rather as a way to be grateful for what you are blessed with, and to have gratitude for where you're at right now. Whether you believe it or not, there is likely someone out there who wishes they could have something you have; a talent or skill you have, your physical (or mental) strength, anything. It could even be something many people typically completely overlook (myself included) such as your health, access to food and clean water, or having a safe place to sleep at night; as unfortunately, there are still many people out there without some (if not all) of these basic things. I know, that's a really dark thing to say, but sadly, it's true; and why you should be grateful for every good thing you do have in your life, even if it seems small.

It's also worth mentioning that when it comes to things like your workout, or any skills or talents you may have, there are some people out there who may struggle with something you're really good at or may not even be able to do it at all for one reason or another. But if you don't feel right about comparing downward against other people, why not compare just compare yourself from where you are now, to where you were when you first started something; and seeing how far you've come? 

Look for a silver lining where you can

Today I choose joy
Photo courtesy of Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

As I said at the start of this post, I'm basically single, I don't have kids, I still live in the house I grew up in, and I often just feel like I'm far behind other people my age; and that I haven't done all the things that I thought I would have by the time I turned 25. Now, as a complete hopeless romantic, I can't say that I'm thrilled about basically being single (and not knowing how to flirt for the life of me), but it does have some advantages! I mean, I don't have to share my bed with anyone, or my blankets; though I suppose I could spare or share a couple since I do sleep with 5 of them,  but still, I don't have to share my blankets and I don't have to make sure someone else has enough room to sleep comfortably in my bed.  As for not having kids, I can think of a million reasons why I'm glad I don't have kids yet; as a matter of fact, I'm not sure if I even want to deal with them for more than a few hours at this point in my life. I need my quiet time by myself, and I like being able to do whatever it is I need or want to do, with little interruptions; and let's not forget being able to sleep with no interruptions unless my bladder (or my dog's bladder) wakes me up. 

I suppose to some people that all sounds a bit selfish, and maybe it kind of is; but for me, it's the silver (or gold) lining to not being married yet and/or having children. This definitely isn't to say I don't want these things in the future, but I am grateful for all the things that I still am able to enjoy now. Even if it's just little things, and even being able to use my freedom to do all those other things I've always wanted to do. 

Comparison can easily be the thief of joy, but you don't have to allow it to be that way. Sure, it's nearly impossible not to compare, no matter how hard you try not to; but it's important to remember the good things you have going for you in your life as well, and not to make unfair comparisons between yourself and someone else. But it's also not a bad idea to compare downward (rather than upward), and remember what you do have and to be grateful for where you are now; even if you're just comparing where you are now versus where you were when you first started something. And never forget that people don't share everything with others and typically talk the most about the highlights of their life, rather than the bad or the mundane. And don't forget that even if you don't have that big thing you've always wanted yet, you can still enjoy your life as it is; and even in ways that you might not be able to otherwise, or at least not in the same way.

What are some of the ways that you do to stop comparison from stealing your joy, and what are some of the things you tell yourself when you do start to compare; and even start feeling a little down about it? And what are some of the things you're grateful for in your life right now, and the things you love the most about yourself? I'd love to hear your thoughts!  
Thank you for reading, and I hope the rest of your day is wonderful!
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1 comment

  1. This is a great post! sometimes it's easy to get caught up in comparison oneself to others. It's so true that people don't show everything that is going on in their lives, they only show the good/positive.

    Thanks for sharing this post, I really needed it.
    Loren | Plaid & Sugar


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