The Comparison Trap

It’s hard to believe but I have been reading blogs for almost three years and that my list of staples has expanded to what it has become. I am even amazed that I write my own because I was hesitant to do so for such a long time, thinking no one could possibly give two hoots what I have to say, or the experiences I have had, but writing has been such a wonderful coping skill for me and I absolutely LOVE all the tremendous friendships I have formed through the social network.

BUT, on the flip side of this, blogging has also been extremely dangerous for me.

As a female I think we compare ourselves to others far too often. A few weeks ago when I was reading Catilin’s post about how life is not a “supermarket,” where the world just miraculously runs out of positive things, totally hit home for me.

I was thinking about it and too frequently do I look at someone and think I wish I could have what she has, have the same talents, look similar, etc. and I don’t spend anytime appreciating what God gave me.

Sure my paychecks are not as large as I would like them, but honestly how many other people come home from work with a smile nearly every, single, day? The point is, the world was not meant for everyone to be the same. That would be pretty damn boring, but I too get stuck in ruts where I will analyze and agonized why I can’t be or have more.

Blogging started to become just another avenue for my constant comparisons about six months into reading. At first I would see a new, semi-foreign to me food product and hunt it down online or at the store to purchase. This actually wasn’t a bad thing because it brought Barney Butter, new varieties of Greek Yogurt, and a whole slew of pumpkin recipes into my life, but then it graduated to work outs.

I was seeing all these beautiful women doing hour-long runs, body pump, yoga, P90X, sometimes multiple in the same day and I was thinking to myself, “Omg, my 45 minutes on the treadmill and 5 pound free weights is lame!”

So then, I upped to routine to match that of others. And the same occurred with my daily calorie intake, and I was spending far too much money on fancy kitchen gadgets, exercise clothes, food I didn’t need; all because I wanted to fit into the community.

You can obviously tell from my past entries that I have a lot of issues with fear of rejection, wanting to be part of a group or accepted by pretty much everyone, but this is not a way to frame your life.

In fact, my obsession with being the same as all the healthy living bloggers I love, escalated to the point where I had to go to hospitals for too many years of my adult life.

It is not the fault of those who are writing the blogs. They are wonderful, caring, inspirational people, who did not intend for me to take their content and twist in around in my mind and push it to the extremes that I did, because if you pay attention, most of these females also take rest days, enjoy themselves socially, and have insecurities too. They are people, friends, daughters, sisters, wives, just like me.

It was ME who distorted their writing, and me who was not happy with MYSELF, so I was grasping for anything I could to improve my self-confidence. Since these girls looked so happy, gorgeous and free, I wanted that too and I thought by mimicking their behaviors, that life would finally be mine.

It really really really does not work that way.

It goes back to what I was saying on Friday, about having confidence and finding something inside yourself to value, because comparisons only lead to unhappiness, and feelings of being unworthy because you can’t fully achieve the same life as another.

Just remember that when you read, because I still have to remind myself sometimes.

I know I personally write for my own sanity, and hope that maybe I can help someone else by them reading and processing the experiences I have had, but I never ever post to make someone feel bad, or wish they had a similar existence.

Please know that I do my best never to trigger or invoke negative emotions, but if there is something I mention or say that does bring up discomfort, I encourage you to evaluate why. I have learned that often I discover the most about myself, and my recovery, when I can analyze the things that hurt, or agitate me. Sometimes it’s not always about what your reading, but a past scenario that has been pushed away for far too long.

With that I hope you have fabulous weeks ahead of you.

Its Monday so maybe you should start with a little PTG!

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10 thoughts on “The Comparison Trap

  1. I too find it very easy to compare myself to other bloggers & feel like I’m not doing “enough” or that my Jiffy pb is for chumps! Whenever I start to feel like that though, I just try to bring myself back down to earth & realize it’s not a competition & I’m doing (or eating!) what makes me happy! 🙂

    Have a good week at school!

  2. I think it’s also important to note how many “healthy living” blogs out there are really ED-distorted blogs. They’re written by people who may THINK they’re being healthy by doing x amount of workouts, eating x amount of calories and cutting out “bad foods,” but I think I’ve come across more disordered blogs than actually healthy, well-balanced ones. Which is not to say of course that these people should be banned from blogging, I mean, free speech anyone? And also, they may be on their own personal journey to finding the true meaning of healthy living while overcoming their struggles, whether they bluntly state it or mask it with so-called healthy attempts.

    But anyway, it’s at least good when you can catch yourself comparing yourself… then it’s easier to talk yourself away from doing something stupid that might follow. Because you have to remember: NO ONE is made equal. It may sound depressing in some respects lol, but in a way, it’s wonderful. It’s what makes this world an interesting place; we’re all unique and we should never strive to be exactly like someone else because that’s not the way we were naturally made in the first place.

    • I agree that its wonderful that we are all different. How lame would it be if we were all clones. I personally wouldnt like it! Once again Jess, you make some fabulous points. what would i do without you 🙂

  3. Oh, I have had to deal with the comparison trap reading HLBs and just going to a school filled with girls that were obsessed with it. It has been super hard and I even went through it this weekend, as I talked about how I was afraid of the way I dressed and would be judged based on it. I got a lot of encouraging words from my roomies about how even though I may not wear everything everyone else wears from Ann Taylor Loft, my style describes the kind of person I am: laid back, mellow and rudimentary someone who loves to be outside. it was a great thing to hear since I worry about that in just life in general and encouraged me to accept the way I dress, and that it can be worked on!

    • you shouldnt have to work on anything style related girlfriend! you are an awesome person the way you are, beautiful with or without the anne taylor loft!!!

  4. Once again you have written something that resonates so well with me! I am actually planning on writing a blog post on this soon… I just haven’t had the courage to yet. But I compare myself to other bloggers all of the time, and It’s bad…like really bad sometimes. It has gotten better, but yeah, it happens still. I am constantly afraid of being judged when I pose pictures and people might think that I am “not skinny enough” to be suffering with disordered eating. Ughhh I have so much more to say on this, hence the post coming later this month 🙂

  5. I stopped reading blogs because of this exactly. And honestly, if you are struggling with an eating disorder – I strongly feel you should cut yourself off from these blogs entirely. It’s your decision, but until you know what it’s like to just BE and not have to read and see what someone else is eating/doing/being or be on the computer, reading about people you don’t even know, stuck on social media…until you stop that, you really truly will never be free – or find yourself. You will disagree and argue with me I’m sure – but it’s the truth. I swear to God it is.

    God bless.

    • im not arguing. i have cut out a ton of magazines, tv shows, blogs that used to trigger, etc. now i try to read things i find uplifting. i dont think anyone can completely shield themselves from social media. it just isnt possible in the world of technology, but i think its important to check in with ourselves and be honest with where we are.
      i miss reeading your blog. i hope all is well!!!

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