Tag: social media

Three ways to beat the trap of comparison…

Image result for comparison is the thief of joy quote

We live in a world where there is stiff competition in every aspect of our lives. There is always someone who is doing the things we want to do and from our limited perspective, they look like they are doing it better than us.  So often, we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with our peers. We are always on a clock that is socially constructed and we compare ourselves with each other based on this social timeline. It is a mental trap because it is the thought in our heads whenever we see someone else doing what we wish we could be doing, and it can be toxic if uncontrolled. It can turn into jealousy, low self-esteem, self-hate and even depression.

In the world of academia, this often leads to a phenomenon called imposter syndrome:

impostor syndrome
noun
noun: imposter syndrome
  1. the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.
    “people suffering from impostor syndrome may be at increased risk of anxiety”

When I was in grad school, I got caught up in the cycle of comparison and it often made me feel like an imposter.  Even now post-PhD, I find myself looking at my peers and it looks like they are doing better than I am doing. I even caught myself comparing myself with students who are just beginning their academic journey and feeling like they were better off because they seem to have more support than I ever did. The truth is this comparison is not helpful or productive, but it is also human nature. So, I don’t beat myself up about it. However, I do want to view myself in a way that is actually beneficial and not detrimental to my mental health, and comparing myself with others is not the way to do it.

Here are three of the ways to beat the comparison trap:

  • To celebrate others.

I want to try this instead of comparing myself with anyone. When you celebrate others, you are saying that “we all have different talents and it’s this person’s turn to shine so I am going to celebrate them without looking at my own circumstance.”  That reframes the narrative. I believe we all want to be surrounded by people who celebrate us and not compete with us. If one of us has a victory, we are all winning.

  •  Limiting social media

Social media is the best place to fall into the comparison trap, particularly Instagram where everyone is portraying their best lives and Twitter, where everyone is self-promoting. Limiting your time on these platforms might be one of the ways to stay grounded in your own reality and not allowing people (often strangers) to dictate how your life should look, where you should be and how you should be living.  If scrolling on social media for hours on end leaves you feeling drained, you are probably falling into the comparison trap. I recently looked at the type of people I follow because I realised this was also important. What is your timeline feeding you? Are you following people who live realistic lives, who post motivating stuff or it is the opposite? Some people feed off the “glamorous” lives posted on social media, but how real is it really?

  • Seeing myself the way God sees me,

That means that there is no way I can think of myself as less than capable. The word of God tells me that I am created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God sees me as an amazing and talented individual, so that is who I am. It is all about FAITH and you can believe that too. The next time I am tempted to compare myself with someone else, I just have to remind myself that I am capable of doing all that I set my mind to. This may not be my time, but in due season, I will shine as I am meant to shine.

I only wrote about three ways but I am sure there are many more ways to stop comparing ourselves with others. Let me know some of the ways that work for you down below.

Happy Monday!!

Help…I’m so distracted!!!

Learning how to deal with distractions is a skill, one that I realized I probably need to tap into. The thing with distractions is that they take your eyes away from the goal. By the time you realize it, you are steps behind. My mother used to call these “time wasters” and I did not understand at the time. I used to wonder, how can something that is fun and enjoyable be a “time waster”? But this is exactly how distractions work, they are fleeting joys that keep your mind or your whole body in other instances so occupied but at the end of the day you realize you did not get much done.

I-do-not-want-to-waste-any-time.-And-if-you-are-not-working-on-important-things-you-are-wasting-time-quotes.

Learning to identify which things in your life are causing a distraction is the first step to actually dealing with them. Those things that take up an awful lot of time but don’t really amount to anything at the end of the day, SOCIAL MEDIA comes to mind. I often find myself scrolling for hours on Instagram looking at pictures of people I don’t even know and will probably never know. Or I am on the twitter streets for hours, but to be fair there is some valuable tidbits I get from there. But hours of that is probably a “time waster” for me. I am thinking reading a chapter from a book or taking a beauty nap could reap meaningful benefits.

Life needs a balance always and one cannot always be studying or working or being serious. But some distractions are so time consuming that it might be difficult to break away from them easily. This morning I identified my distractions, some are bigger than others but they all need to be dealt with. I do have better things to do with my time…sigh.

Wish me luck in getting back into FOCUS.

Photo cred https://blackcitygirl.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/distracted.jpg
Photo cred https://blackcitygirl.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/distracted.jpg

The new world!!!Is it really worth it?

Another one of those posts in the wee hours of the morning when sleep eludes me. Quite frankly a lot of things have been eluding me lately but I choose to focus on the positive and not allow the thief of joy to have any victory.

I see the world and lately I have been observing it with a different eye. I realize that it is a bottomless pit, a place filled with idolatry of so called celebrities and role models created by the media. I have seen how obsessive we have become with pictures and enjoying the fact that every detail of our lives is so bare for all to see. I have been looking at how preoccupied we all have become with each other’s lives but not even the real ones; but the ones shown on social media.

I find all this exhausting and have concluded that is not the happiness I seek. I have reason to believe there must be an alternative. A different place with different values that may be more meaningful. A quieter place where a person’s worth is measured by his good deeds and not by his dress or material things. A place where real conversation takes place and people genuinely care about what you have to say. A place where success is measured by hard work and not popularity or how many followers one has on instagram or twitter. A place where we can all value who we are based on ourselves and not what others think of us. I miss the simple old days when people read books or shared folktales by the fire place. I even miss getting a love letter in the post…

At the end of the day our lives will not be measured with the world’s measure. So it is a pointless pursuit. I am beginning to understand some of the teachings in the Bible, especially on the dangers of conforming to world standards.

Matthew 6:33 King James Version (KJV)

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.