It’s time to be honest here.  Lately I’ve fallen victim to the comparison game.

The addiction to the Instagram scroll has my mind racing with all sorts of thoughts: Why is my engagement down? How do they get so many likes? Why are people unfollowing me? Why am I not growing? Why are they watching my stories but not liking my photos?

It sounds ridiculous, but that’s what Instagram does to you.

And on top of that, the pressure I put on myself to “perform” or do well, doesn’t make it any better.  Comparing my journey, my life, to other people’s curated lives is stupid. I know that, yet I still do it. We all do it.

You’ve heard it a million times, but comparison is really the thief of joy.  Most of the time, we’re content with what we have until we start to compare what we have to what others have.  Whether it be a job, a relationship, a business, your Instagram following, likes and comments on a photo–comparison instantly pulls away our feelings of fulfillment and puts us in a void mentality. It’s unhealthy, scary, and can lead to some serious feelings of depression. I’ve been there. I’ve done it. And I don’t like it.

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The comparison game has played  some mind games with me.  It made me start to question the content I was producing, if I was doing enough, why I’m not putting more energy into the blog and creating content, etc.  It made me feel like I wasn’t enough or that I needed to have x, y, and z in order to be good enough. And so this week, I really had to have an honest conversation with myself.

Where are these thoughts stemming from? Why do I feel this way? How can I root myself back into reality when I’m starting to feel negatively about myself?

And so when I start to feel this way, I found 5 tips that help ground me, stop those negative thoughts, and find that inner peace and balance I like operating at.  Here are 5  5 tips to help you overcome these feelings.

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1. Check your mindset and remember that Instagram is a HIGHLIGHT REEL.

No matter how “authentic” you portray your life, or how open you are with your audience, you are still curating your life, and posting photos with a very specific perspective being portrayed. Consume pictures with a grain of salt and with an asset-based mindset. “Oh this is cool! I’m glad they get to experience this!” not “Oh, my life sucks and is boring.”

No one is sharing every detail that is happening in their life. No one is posting the tough stuff in the moment. I mean, think to your own life–are you sharing all the struggles you’re going through? Probably not.  So same with all the folks you’re following.  Never let it consume you.

2. Don’t forget that likes, comments, and follower counts aren’t the measure of your value. 

This one’s the tough one for me.  As much as I 100% create content because I love it, sometimes the numbers get the best of me. Sometimes I search for validation in the number of likes I receive. And I have to actively stop….because the reality is, so much of engagement today is completely INFLATED. What do I mean by this?

Well, people buy followers and use paid services to increase their engagement. Ever notice when a blogger goes from 2,000 followers to 8,000 in a week? I can guarantee you those followers aren’t real.  As someone who has 100% built my account from scratch, numbers just don’t come in like that (not saying that it’s impossible, just very unlikely).

There’s also this “underground” world of comment/like pods where people post direct links to their photos and have everyone in a group comment and like the photo.  At the beginning of my blogging journey, I naively joined some because I didn’t know quite what they were and thought this would be a way for me to grow faster.  I quickly came to realize how overwhelming comment pods are and how fake engagement really is in these groups.  People aren’t liking the photo because they actually like the content–they’re liking your photo because there’s a reciprocal agreement to.

I realized I would never truly know how my posts are performing and what my audience enjoyed if I relied on “fake engagement.” So I say this to emphasize this: numbers don’t mean anything. It doesn’t tell you how great of a person you are.  It doesn’t make you better than someone else. Numbers do not determine your worth. Keep producing authentic content that makes you happy. The rest will follow!

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3. Limit your time on Instagram. Set a timer and stick to it!

Okay, seriously…have you ever felt like Instagram is this black hole that sucks you in and you can’t get out until your 3 hours deep and you realize that you just wasted all this time mindlessly scrolling? Asking for a friend…

Kidding. That’s been me. I recently shared my love/hate relationship with Instagram with this post.

I find that my negative thoughts happen when I spend too much time on the app. Because all I’m doing is consuming other people’s content and living through their photos instead of living my actual life. Create boundaries for your usage and limit your time! I’ll be creating a schedule for Instagram starting next week and monitoring my usage. I hate feeling unproductive because of my social media use.

4. Do something active that gets your endorphins pumping.

And so when you find yourself deep in the hole of comparison, GET OFF the dang app. Go have a conversation with someone in person. Take a walk. Read a book. Stretch, do yoga! Do something to get those endorphins pumping–send messages to your brain that you’re alive! Do something to remind you that life is grand; you are living. You are breathing. And you have a life to be grateful for.

5. Celebrate other people’s success and focus on your own path.

One way to stop the negative comparison is to genuinely practice complimenting others.  Celebrate other people’s successes. Let them know they’re doing a great job.  Just because someone else is doing a good job, doesn’t mean you aren’t.  Building up your positive talk/asset based thinking mindset will help train your brain to see the positive side of things! Instead of getting caught up in what other people are doing and how that compares to your life, focus on the work you are doing while still celebrating those around you! It is entirely possible to life others up as you rise– and it’s what we should all be shooting for.

So the next time you find yourself deep in the comparison game, or if you’re feeling down about where you are in relation to your peers…remember these 5 tips.  Instagram is a curated reality.  It only shows snippets of other people’s lives and it in no way means that you aren’t enough. You are enough as is. If Instagram were to disappear tomorrow, would you really care about all this? Probably not. Don’t let it consume you–focus on your path, your journey, and your passions. And remember, don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 13. We all start somewhere.

Sending you all so much love and hugs! Thank you for reading and for following along my journey. I hope this post helps you if you’re struggling and remember, we’re all in this together!

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