11: How to Stop the Ugly Comparison Trap on Social Media

Comparison is a topic we talk a lot more about these days because social media has really made it rear it's ugly head! And as moms, on top of the guilt we heap upon ourselves, comparing ourselves to each other can really make us miserable. In this episode, I share how I get myself out of that comparison trap!

comparison trap

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Social Media Fasting Got Me to Thinking

So you know how a few years ago, maybe even longer than that, it became popular to take social media fasts? I started to notice that many of my friends who had once been very active on Facebook, started to get off. They were taking social media fasts and were really frustrated with it. I totally understood how they felt as I often felt worse after being on Facebook instead of better!

But I also thought and felt – something isn't right here. These people aren't doing anything wrong by sharing their happy moments on Facebook. So why does it make me feel bad?

You either walk inside your story and own it, or stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness. - Brene Brown

Social Media is a Mirror

So Facebook, Instagram and everything else – they are bringing to the surface what we already thinking and feeling. Facebook doesn't cause this – it reveals to us uncomfortable and painful things we are already thinking about ourselves and our own lives. We are feeling like we aren't enough, then we get on social media and that belief is reflected back to us.

We scroll pass pics of our friends going to Disney World with everyone in matching shirts, looking so happy and cute, holding Mickey Mouse ice cream, and we think, we don't have enough money for that! And it's just another reminder of what we'd like to do but currently aren't doing.

We see pictures of someone's family photo shoot in a sunflower field right after we've gotten in a fight with our husband. Look how cute they are! Their marriage must be perfect!

But here's the deal, moms. The mom posting that picture isn't trying to tell the world that her life or marriage is perfect, she's simply just proud of her beautiful pictures in a sunflower field! But if we aren't feeling like our marriage is what we want it to be, or that our family pictures weren't as good as her's, or that we are frustrated we can't afford family photos that year, we can allow ourselves to feel badly for ourselves while we look at her family pictures. We can actually turn all of that around by choosing, and it is a choice, to think differently about our own lives first.

Criticism is thus a form of self condemnation. We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbor that all of his pictures are crooked.

How Real do We Really Want to Get on Social Media?

And there's a lot of talk about being real on social media, and I think there's a lot of good in that! We are being more vulnerable and real than ever before. This is a good thing.

But it can also be a bad thing when we feel guilty for posting about something we are happy about or proud of because we worry people think we are being fake or trying to rub it in other people's faces.

Do we really want social media to be a place where people air their dirty laundry? I don't know about you, but I like to keep my dirty laundry private. If I aired it all in public, I could hurt other people because they are part of my journey and stories, too.

And I personally don't love reading about everything that's going wrong in someone else's life, or want to read their complaints.

It Goes Back to Worthiness

I feel like pretty much every problem goes back to the same root issue – worthiness. If you feel like something about your life or yourself isn't good enough, you will get that message everywhere you look. From TV, to church, to friends, to social media. So in theory, when we are choosing to feel gratitude and feel good about our own lives, we should be able to get on social media and be happy for each other.

When we feel worthy, and know that our lives and happiness are up to us, we are NOT victims of our circumstances, we can then get excited that one of our friends got to go to Disney World, because it means that we could also go one day! Gives me something to dream, plan, save, and work for. That friend is proving that it's possible. If I want it, I can have it, too. Just gotta plan and save, maybe work some more for it, or cut expenses. Or find another way to do something special for my family right now! Go to an amusement park, or go bowling, or to the movies. There are other ways to get those same fun feelings that you get at Disney World.

Admire someone else's beauty without questioning your own.

But we are humans and don't feel worthy all of the time

So as I'm finding on this journey to wholeness and healing I've been on, worthiness is a process. I feel much more worthy than I ever have, but there are still days, weeks, or even seasons when I get down and let those lies start to creep back in. Because it's an old habit to think I'm not enough, that the grass is greener on the other side. And I can allow myself to get lazy about practicing gratitude and then I stop seeing all of the good in my life.

So those are the times I back off on social media a little bit – because we are human. I'm not always going to feel good, or be able to choose to feel good. And sometimes I'll face it head on, knowing that I'm feeling bad while on social media because it's a red flag that I'm feeling yucky about myself and my own life again. It's an uncomfortable, but an effective, reminder to get back to that gratitude journal. Or reach out to a Life Coach or counselor and get some more help. Or read a good book form the self-help, section, or watch a motivational speaker on YouTube. We have endless amounts of great resources these days to tap into, which I am so grateful for!

Social Media is not the Problem – It's Our Stinkin' Thinkin'

So to wrap up, know that social media isn't the problem. Facebook isn't a person – it hasn't created problems. It merely magnifies and reveals the problem thinking we've already been doing before it came along. Know that the yucky, uncomfortable feeling you feel while on Facebook goes back to your feelings and beliefs about your own worthiness, and invest time working on that. I have blog posts I'll link to in the show notes below where I've talked about this before!

We can change our beliefs. You can change your perception – you are enough! Your life is as good as you choose to believe it to be. Let's be VICTORS and not victims, mamas, so we can encourage and cheer each other along on social media. So we can be happy for each others' successes instead of choosing to feel badly about ourselves. Let's choose to be inspired by our friends. Maybe even reach out to a mom who's accomplished something that you'd like to have and ask if they can cheer you on as you go after your dreams and goals – whether that's to exercise more, or to lose weight, or to be able to go on a vacation, or to heal your marriage or have a closer relationship with your kids. We can help each other, but it's up to US.

How to Stop the Comparison Trap on Social Media and Enjoy Facebook Again with Sara McFall of The Merry Messy Moms Show

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