For some reason, it is surprisingly difficult to go through life without comparison. Personally, I compare myself to others, I compare my life with others, and I compare my health with others. For example, I was spending my Saturday morning relaxing watching some YouTube videos when I came across Fish dance Beach Parade.
This cute dancing fish has over 1.4 million views. Fish dance Beach Parade has more views than this website by a factor of almost exactly 2000x, or 20,000% greater.
I’ve been writing, maintaining, and treating my readers well in order to run the best website I can. This includes working through the weekend, after work, and in my spare time learning more. Sigh. Destroyed by a fish. At least it seems like it is having a good time.
Comparison Is Complicated and Made Worse By Social Media
There is a lot of utility in comparison. Finding an apartment, for example, requires many comparisons. Finding an apartment with a partner requires even more complicated comparisons. It’s useful!
But comparing yourself to other people is not a good strategy for anything except maybe motivation. It leads to dampened self image, anxiety, and poor health outcomes. It’s generally pretty bad for you.
While comparison is a seemingly-natural thing we do, there are some things that make it much worse.
FOMO and quitting social media talks briefly about this phenomenon: fear of missing out.
When you look at social media, especially feeds where accounts you follow are professionals, you are looking at a stream of the most attractive, successful, and presentable people the internet can find. What a horrible thing to do to yourself!
Roanoke college’s research team agrees.
“Social media is generally perceived as a fun activity to pass time, but there is no denying that social comparisons are abundant and practically unavoidable and can have detrimental consequences to the health and well-being of those who internalize them” – Roanoke College Psychology Department
I have since quit using social media, and I recommend you do as well. Walking down the street, pulling open your phone, and seeing an impossibly perfect digital world juxtaposed next to cracked sidewalks will only make you miserable.
If you cannot find yourself able to delete social media, you should at least clean it up. I will be writing an article soon about how to do this: unsubscribing, unfollowing, and cleaning up.
Either way, these constant comparisons are causing self-image issues and dissatisfaction, and are a historic first.
No matter where you are on your life’s journey, each day is a new day. Use the power of compounding to achieve your goals, and use this article as a reminder to minimize unhelpful comparisons.