Comparing Culture: Harmless or Depression Trigger?

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 Hello Beautiful!

How are you feeling today? I hope you are feeling confidently YOU.

So here’s some food for thought today. How many minutes have you already spent on some form of social network today? This week? This month? Probably more than you’d care to admit (I know I have). That’s fine- but also I have to wonder- How many of those minutes were spent envying someone else? Their life? Their body? Their significant other? Their money? Their job? Unfortunately, it is all too easy to do in this day and age with the constant amounts of updates we receive from friends and strangers all over the world, moment to moment. 

My mantra for being online is typically ‘if you can’t feel happy for these people and whatever fabulous things they’re posting, GET OFFLINE. NOW.’ But that’s not always easy. Also, remember- there is a difference between looking up to someone/being inspired by someones lifestyle, and outright comparing yourself to them. There are plenty of musicians, wellness ‘gurus’ and bloggers that I pull inspo from, but I don’t ever feel bad or think less of myself while I am viewing them. However, it’s typically when I am simply scrolling through facebook or instagram that I’m visited by those thoughts of ‘not being where I should be’ and all those wonderful thoughts and feelings associated. All this happens in a matter of seconds, and I find myself instantly feeling lower than I was a few moments prior. 

As someone who has struggled with severe depression/anxiety, this is a huge trigger for me. As soon as I find myself slipping from ‘inspired’ to ‘envy’ or other such negative feelings, it escalates quickly to self doubt, uncertainty and confusion. We are only human, and it is natural to feel this on occasion, but if we can minimize it, why wouldn’t we? We deserve to feel our best all the time, and I assure you…YOU ARE ALWAYS ENOUGH.

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Instead of thinking “Ugh, that body. That’s how I should look”, Think, “Damn I look good today. If I keep this up, I’ll get there in no time!!”

Here are 5 good reasons we should stop comparing ourselves to others this year:

1) We are not honouring our true, inner selves. When we are constantly being blinded by the ‘fabulous’ lives, bodies, careers etc. of others, it may actually begin to throw us off our own life path and desires, because we begin to ‘feel’ as if we should be doing something (or everything) different. Push those thoughts away, because you are DOING IT RIGHT.

2) It’s f*cking time consuming! We all know how easy it is to get sucked into the void of the internet. Specifically when you are spending an excess amount of time just scrolling through various news feeds and feeling that little green monster- it often leads to more internet browsing seeking ‘inspiration’ which in turn just leads to more negativity and envy. As soon as you feel that- get offline. Use your time more efficiently on something that really matters: YOU. Do something you love/want, and lift your spirits.

3) You forget that you’re not observing the REAL people behind the news feed. Remember: all these photos you see of these ‘wonderful’ looking lives- they’re simply the highlights. Just as you would never post an ‘ugly’ selfie of yourself- only one of your best side, right? Highlights do not a life make. These people are most likely having just as many moments of self doubt, worry, and hard work as anyone else. Probably even bad hair days and bloating. We’re all human here.

4) All too often, it’s like taking a downer for your self esteem. We all have bad days, mental illness or no- but life is about constantly living our best lives as WE perceive them to be. If you know that viewing a particular person/article is going to trigger you to feel hateful/low sense of self; stop. Stop ‘following them’ altogether even. If they are not a true positive influence on your life, you’ll know; Note the pit at the bottom of your stomach. Even if those people are most likely not posting TO make others feel bad, they ARE most likely posting to make themselves feel good. If you can’t genuinely feel happiness for that person, it’s only going to make you question what you’re ‘doing wrong’ and send you off the rails. Step away!

5) Guilt. Observing personal feelings of envy or negative feelings towards someone will ultimate lead to us feeling guilty about it. We’ll start to wonder where that’s coming from, and maybe feel like we’re a bad person instead of acknowledging that we’re only human. Or if not guilt from that, then we’ll feel guilt from not living a lifestyle like this particular person. Guilt is a huge depression trigger, and can often make us overcompensate in ways that are not genuine.

So there you have it lovelies. There are manyyyy more reasons that this 21st century mindset of a comparing culture is in bad taste. It’s bad for your mental, emotional and physical health. However, we’re only human. So don’t feel bad for doing this, it’s only natural. When it creeps up on you however, remember that you deserve to feel good and so does the person you’re observing. If it honestly stresses you out, don’t dwell on it. Put it away, and focus some energy on something you love to get your spirits back up.

What do you think? Do you have personal experience with this? Is this something you’ve noticed in our culture, or not so much? I’d love to hear from you!!

Have an inspired day

-Spirit Sister-Nicolle

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