One of the darker sides of social media is the tendency to constantly compare your life with those around you.
While on the one hand, it’s nice to be able to connect with pals, do a little self-promo or get inspiration from like-minded folk, the flip-side is that social media platforms provide a vantage point to see what everyone else is doing around you, too.
I think back to when I was in my early twenties with a very successful career in fashion buying. Facebook had just been invented, but I didn’t have an account. Thought it was some kind of ‘Murrrrrican High School thing that wouldn’t catch on, lol. Twitter and Instagram didn’t even exist.
I had a company car, was regularly flying business-class on international buying trips, and handling multi-million pound budgets. I recall arriving at a hotel in Lake Como once. I removed my Chanel shades to survey the scene. It was a beautiful sunny day, my room overlooked the lake and I felt very, very content.
I was confident, self-assured, focused and extremely happy with my lot. Yes, I’d worked hard to get where I was but I wasn’t clouded by self-doubt or distracted by what (I thought) my peers were doing, or how much they were earning.
Aside from the sheer, ballsy confidence of simply being a young sass-pot, I can only attribute my ‘zero f*cks’ demeanour to the fact that I simply didn’t know what my peers were doing.
Without social media to give me a glimpse into their world, my focus remained firmly on mine.
So I’m trying to take this approach in the present day. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve deleted Snapchat completely and refuse to use Insta Stories. I’ve also deleted the Facebook app off my phone co mpletely, so I’ll only go on there occasionally, on my desktop.
While I’m happy for the success of my friends and peers, and will always be a cheerleader, supporting them when I can, I’m also remembering to stay in my own lane. That is, to not get side-tracked from the goals I’ve set for myself (I have a tendency to take inspiration from EVERYONE and think, “I can do that!” – which may be so, but you can’t do ALL the things, all at once).
I’m sure I’ll be writing more on this topic, as in this digital age, learning how to to swerve self-comparison is the Holy Grail of social media.
For now, I feel like the answer, as with many things, is interaction and collaboration – of the human kind. You don’t have to do everything on your own.
Secondly, if you speak to the people you envy, you’ll often find there is a backstory, full of obstacles, sacrifices and sheer hard work getting them to the position on the pedestal you’ve put them on.
Thirdly, you’ll probably find they’re envious of YOU.