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Are you suffering from comparisonitis?
These days, people are spending more time online, mostly because we are stuck inside our homes and idle time leads to
social media the devil’s work. (In fact, people are spending 20% more time on social media during the pandemic!)
Yet, we’re all familiar with the studies that have claimed that too much time on social media can actually make us feel worse about ourselves, right? This can also hold true in the case of your business.
Once you get caught in comparisonitis, you can get completely stalled out and not be able to move forward. Not exactly a recipe for success!
So how can you conquer comparisonitis and reclaim your creativity? It starts with awareness and a proactive plan.
What is comparisonitis, anyway?
The dictionary definition of comparisonitis is: The compulsion to compare one’s accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance.
Typical symptoms of comparisonitis look like this:
- Feeling bad and disheartened about where you are in your business after scrolling through social media
- Getting stuck on social media for hours with no real purpose and then feeling like you wasted the day away
- Going on social media to be of service, only to get caught up in arguments or heated discussions with others (and leaving upset)
Lately, I’ve noticed a pandemic of comparisonitis going on right now. Almost every day another person posts in a Facebook group, “How do you stop comparing yourself to others on social media?”
The answer to the question (which is really “How do I stop feeling jealous/getting down on myself/procrastinating on my work/not doing what I set out to do and instead having a pity party?”) is simply DON’T.
Decide that you won’t allow yourself to get caught up in social media comparisonitis.
One thing contributing to your comparisonitis is likely social media. Social media has been shown to affect mental health of both adults and children. In fact, studies show that those who use social media more often are more likely to experience anxiety and depression.
That means that simply managing your time on social media may cut down on your risks. In the same vein, conscious social media use may also help the feeling of comparisonitis.
If you’re using social media for business or personal use, you want to be clear the role it plays and set some boundaries around your usage, so you don’t burn out in the process. (If you need help with this, check out this post on social media boundaries.)
Why comparisonitis hurts you and your work
When you get caught in a cycle of comparisonitis, these things happen:
- You WASTE TIME and energy simply observing and feeling envious of someone else at the expense of working on your own creative projects, using your gifts, skills and talents to build your business.
- You FEEL INFERIOR like everyone is doing better than you when this is just an illusion you see on social media, and not necessarily the truth.
- You GET DISCOURAGED from doing the work you were meant to do, because you think there’s someone out there doing such a better job, and this might even cause you to want to give up on your business.
Comparisonitis becomes a self-limiting cycle that prevents you from putting yourself out there and sharing your own work, which holds you back from your own success.
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to let it go and get back to creating what’s important to you.
7 tips to conquer comparisonitis and get back to creating
1. Create before you consume. Make it a point to spend more time creating and less time consuming. Decide what you’re going to create and get busy doing it. Don’t spend hours researching what others are doing. Do your thing, your way. When you work this way, you know what you create is based on your own unique authentic voice.
Action Tip: Carve out time for your own creativity first, before you open social media or your email.
2. Be intentional about your use on social media. Why are you on social media in the first place? Is it out of boredom? Or do you want to use social media to share your message and connect with clients? If it’s the latter, be very clear about your intention each time you log on. Simply stating your intention ahead of time can help guide your behavior.
Action Tip: Before you open Instagram or Facebook, state your intention (i.e., to share some advice about this topic, to connect with a few clients, to post in my group).
3. Manage your time on social media. Even with good intentions, you can wind up wasting hours on social media. Decide how much time in your week you want to devote to social media. Will you do an hour a day? 30 minutes? Decide how much time you want to allocate each day based on your intentions.
Action Tip: Schedule your time and set a timer so you know when to stop.
4. Unfollow and unsubscribe from those who make you feel bad. It’s your news feed (and your email inbox). You have the power to decide who gets to be there. Optimize your feed. There is no reason you need to follow every expert or every person who does what you do, especially if it’s contributing to your comparisonitis. You get to choose what you consume and just like in every area of your life, you want to be conscious about who gets your time and attention.
Action Tip: Go through your email inbox or your Instagram feed and unsubscribe or unfollow anything that isn’t relevant.
5. Notice when you’re feeling bad and stop. This may sound basic, but we often forget to pay attention to the warning signs in our body. If you start feeling anxious, sad, or jealous, take a pause. If you can’t go on social media without feeling bad, take a longer break. Replace your social media time with time spent creating the things you want to share in the world: the content that helps you share your unique message and point of view.
Action Tip: Next time you notice any anxious feelings in your body as you scroll, take a time out.
6. Remind yourself that social media is not reality. What you see when you’re scrolling is not the whole picture of someone’s business or their life. It’s a snapshot in time, and very often, these snapshots are contrived to make something appear better than it actually is. (It’s the rear view window of social media: People appear larger than life than they actually are.) Remind yourself of all the possibilities at play. You don’t know what went on behind the scenes.
Action tip: Question your assumptions when you feel envious. What information do you not know?
7. Ground yourself in your own expertise. Even if you aren’t a 6 or 7 figure business owner (and btw, they also suffer from comparisonitis!), you are still a valid expert in what you do. No one has your unique combination of gifts, talents, personality, values, and way of serving clients. Just because you don’t have a ton of followers doesn’t mean that people don’t want what you have to offer.
Action Tip: Make a list of all the things you are good at and that you can help people with. Read it anytime you feel the comparisonitis creeping in.
When you can connect to and embrace who you are, you create work that is an expression of your unique intrinsic strengths and talents, and you show up as your most powerful, authentic self. That’s a brand that no one can replicate!
Want to learn how to hone in on your authentic message and communicate with confidence? Learn more by signing up for a free consult here.