Photography: Deanna Kourtney Photography
The Comparison Game
Gucci Belts. Fairy Lights. Goldendoodles. These are all things I considered buying this year in the name of Instagram. Sure you can try staying off of social media, but you can’t really do that when it’s your job! I’ve been sitting on this post for days because I didn’t want to admit how this hits so close to home. It’s very easy in an environment like blogging or even just as a typical consumer of social media to compare yourself to others.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” and we all know that to be true. I’m not talking about in the competitive aspects of how studying people in your industry can help you be a better brand. I’m talking about focusing on the superficial moments that affect your mentality. “How do they get their hair perfect EVERY time?” “Where do they find the money to go on trips to fun places. Wish that could be me.” “Why am I still stuck at X amount of followers when she started blogging after me?”
The feelings of self-doubt kept growing stronger and I knew I didn’t want to be on this path again in my life. When I was in middle school and high school I struggled with self-esteem and comparison constantly. It would always come in waves and of course, it was immediately interrupted when I was reminded that I was pretty… for a black girl. Or reminded that I was the friend who was invited just because I was friends with the most popular girls in school. I hated feeling that way. Like I wasn’t good enough and that no matter how hard I worked to get noticed, it would never be enough in comparison.
I wish I had some special eureka moment to share when I finally got it, but I don’t. There was just a time right before college when I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t have to live this way. It’s draining keeping a pulse on what everyone else is doing. Why would I want to waste my energy on something that’s not ultimately helping me to become a better person or better my future? College is honestly when I learned to stop giving people my joy. (#RECLAIMINGMYTIME lol) It’s only when you start focusing on your own goals and opportunities that you can really shine.
We Need to Work On Our Authenticity
In the blogging world, comparison is the reason why the market has become so inauthentic. People are buying followers, comments, and likes or participating in loop giveaways every week. And for what? Some number to flaunt to strangers to prove superiority? If we’re not careful, this can end like a creepy Black Mirror episode. When it comes down to it, being fake does nothing for bloggers in the long haul. 2018 marketing trends will push for more diverse, content creators to make videos, podcasts, and to be more genuine with their followers. Those girls with the perfect feeds who have the personality of a potato will hardly last.
If you’re trying to be the boss babe that I know you can be, it shouldn’t matter how other people are approaching their business. Stay. In. Yo. Lane. Use that time and energy to work on creating something that can really benefit your followers and put back something useful in this world. For me, that means sharing stories just like this one. Unapologetically opening up about my insecurities and how even though I’m stronger now, I still struggle with them. I’m guilty of a few controversial blogger growth tactics like loop giveaways, the follow/unfollow method, and comment pods. It kind of makes me sick to even know I tested them out. Maybe instead of worrying about the quantities of followers, we should’ve been focusing on the quality of our content.
Here are 3 Ways to avoid Comparison on Social Media:
1. Unfollowing Toxic People: That can mean anyone who makes me feel these moments of inadequacy or those who are just there to waste your time and not support you. When I first started blogging, I actually avoided following repost accounts and RewardStyle because I never saw women who looked like me. Fill your feed with inspiration and not the false, aspirational narratives of others.
2. Having Honest Conversations with Yourself: If I want to have x amount of followers is it because I want to reach more people for Christ as a brand or because another blogger just hit that same goal. If it’s the latter, I need to find ways to do it for ME. Understanding the reasoning behind our decisions as bloggers are so important.
3. Community Over Competition. Always: I found a quote on Instagram recently that says, “Don’t compare yourself to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon; they shine in their own time.” It’s ok to support other women and still be hustling for your own dream. Empowered women, empower women. Right, ladies?
It’s easy to fall into the social media comparison game and envy other people’s highlight reels. We’re all works in progress and that’s ok! I can already tell 2018 is a year for mental and spiritual growth for me. If you struggle with comparison, let me know how you hope to fix it this year below!