Compelled to compare?

Instagram. Facebook. The blog world. It’s everywhere: Comparison. Not a new phenomenon but one that I feel has been heightened to unknown expansion through social media these past years. And to be honest? It’s making me sad. Because you know introductions aren’t my favourites I decided to give you a glimpse into my brain in today’s or better yet: explain how this post came about. It was when being out and about with my mum and once more noticed how little she cares about what others do. Eat. Wear. And that’s when I decided to put my rambling thinking cap on. Or thinking beanie if you’re living in the same climate as our sweet host Amanda where spring hasn’t sprung yet.

Thinking-Out-Loud

To make the Just the other day, I saw a girl on Instagram asking her followers about sugar. Or more specifically: if the recommended daily intake of it included fruit because she was worrying about her daily huge smoothies. What makes me sad isn’t the mere fact we tend to get fussed about sugar. Or the whole carb scare in general. It’s the fact that these days, there doesn’t seem to be any aspect of life left where we don’t feel constantly compelled to compare ourselves to others. Food. Appearance. Workouts. Jobs. I could go on.

Because I’m definitely not trying to pretend I was above all of this and able to completely blind out any and all advice and discussion on social media I’ll give a personal example: What I ate Wednesday. At the beginning of my recovery I’d read through other people’s WIAWs for hours. Always comparing what they ate to myself.  Guess what that meant? If nobody else* was eating [insert amount of] chocolate, too, I felt guilty. Not normal. If I had carbs at every meal but others didn’t … you guessed it: guilt. Not normal? No. What wasn’t normal was a) my need to compare and b) the guilt I felt about following my cravings.

* 1. I obviously didn’t read every single WIAW post so maybe somebody did after all? 2. If I had simply looked around myself I’d have seen plenty of family members and friends eating whole chocolate bars on the regular. Reminder: the blog world only shows a tiny part of the world’s population.

Lindt chocolate

We seek approval for ‘doing things right’. Is it okay to eat xx pieces of chocolate a day? Doesthat dress look okay on me or should I rather wear something more loosely fitting to conceal my ‘trouble areas’? Is it okay to take more than one rest day? Whew, okay, thanks …. wait … are you sure? Really?

Have we truly become this insecure in our own decisions? Where has intuition [not just related to food] gone? Can we not make any of these decision all by ourselves anymore? I agree it’s helpful to get some guidance and advice here and there – we all get by with a little help from our friends after all. But it has become increasinly popular to trust others more than our own gut. Having the whole world with all its knowledge, advice and others to compare ourselves to in every aspect of life is a questionable blessing.

Source

We probably can’t/don’t want to pull ourselves out of all kinds of social media involvent. But the next time you’re considering a rest day don’t look for advice in others. Check in with yourself: what would feel good for you at this very moment? The next time you want that cupcake? Eat it if you crave it. Nobody else eats or exercises for you – why should they have the power to make these decisions for you?

Source

… and with that I’m stepping aside and opening up the stage for you to speak your mind!

Happiness-inducing today: Another sunny day.

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8 thoughts on “Compelled to compare?

  1. Ms.J says:

    Bang on! Honestly, I’m going to say the whole recovery process from my ED was probably a lot easier than the majority for one reason alone: my -lack- of involvement in all social media. Maybe I’m seen as an old fuddy duddy stuck in an olden day era, but I’m perfectly content having never been acquainted with instagram, facebook, twitter..and what is that new thing everyone’s talking about these days? ChatSnap? That doesn’t mean I see those platforms as a completely awful..I personally have never been attracted to deriving my fullfillment from there; too much effort..and for what? I can’t imagine gaining satisfaction from putting so much energy into..not my kinda thing.

  2. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    Great post, lady! Comparison is a god awful thing and I feel like a lot of it stems from a lack of self-trust. We don’t trust ourselves, so we look to others to make decisions for us… which doesn’t make sense since those people know -nothing- about us. And maybe it’s also an issue of not wanting to take responsibility for our own decisions? Like if something ends up not working out, we can put the blame on someone else instead of ourselves. I don’t know. I do know that comparison has become a lot less of an issue in my life the older I get, though. I think it has something to do with just becoming more comfortable and confident in your own skin. It’s why I would never go back to my younger years if I had the chance 😆

  3. Nichole says:

    You are so right. We all do need to start checking in more with ourselves and listening to our own bodies rather than simply following others paths. I really enjoyed this post! So much truth in everything you said

  4. Laura says:

    I think that blog world makes it hard not to compare. I still find myself feeling guilty while reading WIAW posts but I feel like I’m in a place now where I’m able to pull back and tell myself “Laura, stop this”. And you’re totally right, the blog world is SUCH a tiny part of the population–one that tends to almost OVER-focus on food and nutrition and exercise. Which is sort of what I’m trying to get away from…

  5. katalysthealth says:

    ummmmm I am literally so sick of people not eating fruit because of the sugar in it. Do you even realize that you are missing out on NATURES CANDY?! Or they don’t eat certain fruits because of the carb count [like apples]. So instead they eat a processed and packaged low carbs bar. Ya, makes total sense to me. NOT! However, we all do things differently, so who am I to judge what works for someone else? Just don’t judge me for eating my watermelons a half at a time…. 😉

  6. In it for the Long Run says:

    Such an important topic to discuss! I remember when I was in recovery and running a lot I would feel awful if I hadn’t run that day but I saw someone else running. I used it as a way to validate myself instead of bringing joy it brought on anxiety. Luckily I’m able to take days off with no guilt and that’s an incredible feeling I don’t take for granted.

  7. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets says:

    Wonderful post and the only advice I can give is with age and time comes self-confidence and esteem to the point where you don’t worry what others think. Instead, you can look at other people’s post with interest or support but not for validation. Stay strong and keep listening to you.

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