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Friday, 16 September 2016

Pretty52 | Why We Need To Stop Comparing Ourselves To Others Online

Credit: Eve MacDonald 

I'm your average 20-something girl (OK, so my thighs might be a little bit bigger than average, but even Queen Bey has her flaws) and I'll admit I ALWAYS have my phone in my hand.

Is it because I'm interested in what my sister has posted? Checking to see if my boyfriend has liked my latest selfie? Or having a lurk around to see what my best friend is up to?

While yes, I do a lot of these things, most of the time I'm following people on social media and keeping up to date on their lives. I'm comparing myself to people who's lives I could never lead with items I can never afford to buy (I'm looking at you Kylie J and your multiple Cartier bracelets...). We end up comparing ourselves to people we will never look like, whether its due to body types or lifestyle choices. And we compare ourselves to people who, in reality, are filtering their own lives to make them seem more captivating.

Now, I'm not saying every time someone posts on social media they're making themselves appear more interesting; but let's be honest, we never post the mundane and everyday stuff. Like 'just bought three apples and a loaf of bread from Tesco' because that's just plain boring, no-one cares. We tend to only post the interesting and exciting events, things we think will engage with other people and, dare I say it...make them jealous?

These 'exciting' things we post however, often end up with us measuring ourselves against the other person. But why do we constantly compare ourselves to people on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat? These social media platforms were created to share and interact with each other, but a lot of the time is spent wishing for something we don't have. I don't know about you, but I can say I constantly refresh my Instagram feed to see the latest outfits that celebrities are wearing, or what latest beauty trends people are mastering.

Credit: Unsplash

But sometimes adding a filter to your photo can do more than just cover a spot, it can filter our overall life. This is something we forget when we're looking at someone else's online persona. So, it's time to take a step back from comparing ourselves to others on social media, and here's Pretty52's guide on just how to do it:

Don't be insecure.
Social media, at the end of the day, is a platform. And a platform, technically, should elevate us above other people, but it's important to be your own person and not compare yourself to others up on a different platform. Sometimes after a heavy Instagram social media stalking session it can bring us down and feel inadequate, but be confident in your own abilities and remember you're creating your own life.

Remember you're only seeing the highlights.
For the most part, reality is what's lost on social media, we tend to emphasise the best parts of ourselves instead of the everyday versions. It's easy to take what is posted on social media at face value, but we forget how much make up it takes to get the perfect selfie, or how we only tend to tweet when something exciting or funny is happening. We don't really tell the world when we're struggling or completing the boring tasks of everyday life. This leads to the reason why we struggle with insecurity, and compare ourselves to those online, is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. Don't let a Instagram grid fool you; you're only getting a glimpse into someone's live, not the full story.

Credit: Pexels

Reduce your time on social media.

This one is pretty obvious: we can't expect to dramatically change the way we think without changing our mind set. It's important to take a step back every now and then to realise that our own lives are pretty damn great too. I mean, we're not suggesting anything crazy like deleting Facebook or Snapchat from your phone for good or anything, but maybe reducing the amount of time we spend on it each day would be good for our frame of mind. This will allow you to step away from the comparisons to people you barely know. So put your Bridget Jones' pants on and stop sulking about the fact you haven't got 93934934 Kylie Jenner lip-kits.

Redirect your focus on other things.

Instead of constantly refreshing your feed, it's time to focus on something else. Live your own life without being fixated on someone else's. Make a list of activities and then schedule them onto a calendar. Since we often spend time on social media when we have little else going on, so be preoccupied and have scheduled plans, which will help reduce the time we are just sitting about doing nothing.

Filters exist in real life, not just Instagram.
As much as we all want the filter 'lark' to be added to every single photo we take, it's important to remember that it has been added to the picture. The picture has been edited, and things aren't always what they seem. Bloggers have started a new trend of posting an unedited picture alongside the photoshopped version to show to their readers how prominent these tools are when it comes to editing our online social media presence.

<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="7" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div></div><p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A photo posted by xameliax (@xameliax)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2016-05-11T18:17:59+00:00">May 11, 2016 at 11:17am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async defer src="//"></script> - Instagram post to embed.

This has allowed us to see that we manipulate our accounts to only show what we want people to see, and with people posting only the best parts of their lives on Facebook, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others.
Credit: Pexels

You're you, not them.
When people show the most interesting versions of themselves on social media (new houses, expensive dinners, fancy make up products), it's only human nature to feel an element of jealousy and compare our own lives to theirs. And just because you're not doing what they're doing now, doesn't mean you won't. Maybe next week you'll go out for dinner or go flat hunting. You're you, and you're living life at your own pace. Just be aware of certain triggers that could cause your confidence to waver. For example, if you're self-conscious of your body, although it might be a good idea to follow fitness instructors on Instagram for motivation, remember not to over analyse every aspect of your body. A great body can be enhanced by great angles and a filter.

Remember you're worth more than just a picture or a post.
Y'know that pumpkin spiced latte you just posted? Posting it will only let people know you're drinking a pumpkin spiced latte. That's it. It does not give anyone an inclination into the sort of person you are (OK, maybe if you post a lot of them it will mean you're a Starbucks addict...) so remember that when someone posts a picture of their new designer handbag. This is one aspect of your life, they don't know whether it you're battling something or overcoming a difficult situation. Just like you don't know the personal details of their life. Nobody is perfect, no matter how hard we try. Social media should not be a competition, just a way to share our (realistic!) lives.

Be aware of your own successes.
You work hard, remember that. You don't get up every morning to compare your life with someone else. Find the motivation to do the best for you, and better yourself so you can enjoy your own life, not live through someone else's Instagram posts.

Credit: Pexels

It's so easy to compare ourselves to others online; we all do it, or have done it at some point in our lives. We often value where we are in life based on what other people are doing with theirs and the urge to compare is as human as any other emotion. But sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that we only post the good, interesting things online, not the mundane stuff. And let's be honest, do you really think Tom from MySpace created his first ever social media profile back in the 90s so we could spend all our time comparing ourselves to each other? No. Life is too short, just have fun in your own way, and not someone else's.

Written by Eve MacDonald ( )

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