BY FAYE BRINKWORTH
I recently read Lizzie Pook’s article on ‘Why do we compare ourselves to others when it makes us miserable?’ on The Debrief. I know I’m late on reading this article but her subject matter left me with a bitter taste in my mouth and I wanted to explore why that was.
We have been comparing ourselves to others, as long as there have been human beings on the earth. Competitiveness is ingrained in our evolution but until relatively recently it has been limited to our social circles, the Internet and publications. Since the explosion of social media we now have unlimited access to other people’s lives; their relationships, diet, exercise patterns, style etc. Now don’t get me wrong - I love Instagram. I get huge pleasure from scrolling through well-curated thoughts, ideas and images, which inspire and propel me to create and do more. What could be better from a digital daily platform?
Nothing; apart from the fact we are comparing ourselves unfairly to others. We rate our lives against their seemingly perfect ones without much thought about the whole person that’s truly behind the frame. We clump people together: the stylish ones, the models, the early adopters, the cool ones, the cooks, the health gurus, the fitness elite. Brands harness and celebrate their individuality, at times sticking it in our faces whether we want to see it or not. It sells. We know that. This, however, can be detrimental to our sense of worth when comparing who we are against them and it has to change.
Social media should be about celebrating the differences and our uniqueness. At Lola, we build and grow businesses on the founder/s’ uniqueness. They are the only one/s on this planet that has their combination of background, skills, knowledge and experience. No one can challenge that which, in itself, grows confidence. You reader, are the only one on this planet with that unique combination. Celebrate that and play to your strengths. If you are unhappy, do something about it. You are in no way a failure – you may have some weaknesses but who doesn’t? Instagram just doesn’t tend to show them. Don’t spend your valuable time on this earth trying to address your weaknesses. It’s not much fun and we certainly don’t advise building a business from them. Go out there and celebrate everything that makes you, you. If you love baking and it makes you happy, do more of it. If you are a writer but have never put your thoughts out there for the worry no one would think it’s good, do it anyway. Comparing yourself to others is incredibly damaging if it stops you living and celebrating your skill and talents. So some people are better dressed, have more money, eat more healthily - that is always going to be the case. They have their own way of doing things, with their own values, history and life stories to tell. That’s their journey, not yours. Don’t be a poor replica of somebody else, as everyone else will suffer from it including you.
The world needs more individuals that showcase their differences whether that be through their diversity, skill, talent or the stories they tell. I’m not saying this route is easy. Sometimes it’s far easier to be a white sheep than the black but the support is there is you look for it. It might be found within your family, friends or maybe even a mentor sitting outside the world you know. Surround yourselves with that love. They care for you because of who you have grown up to be. They don’t give a monkeys if you turn up to dinner with your shirt on inside out because you’ve been so preoccupied with running your new business that you didn’t realise when you dashed out the door. They see your smile, the excitement, the sparkle that didn’t exist when you were gazing at somebody else’s life. Be proud of yourself and allow for your own creativity to shine in whatever way works for you. You don’t need Instagram to validate it for you.