August 10, 2016

#Goals: Avoiding the Social Media Comparison Trap

You can't scroll through Instagram or the comments on a YouTube video without seeing at least ten "#goals." For many social media users, this has become such an automatic response, just another go-to trending hashtag, that there's probably, little, if any, thought that goes into typing out those six characters. But what if you stop to think about the connotations of #goals? We live in a society in which people are constantly comparing themselves to others. It's even harder not to compare yourself when all you're seeing on social media is carefully edited bits and pieces of people's lives. I think that #goals perpetuates the comparison trap and adds to feelings of inadequacy that scrollers and viewers might already have. It's one thing to admire someone, or something that that someone has or does, but to aspire to be someone else isn't encouraging or motivating... it's draining.

I'm not saying that commenting "#goals" on that killer outfit pic on Insta is wrong, nor am I saying that you shouldn't do it ever, but don't let yourself fall into the comparison trap, time and again. I'm grateful that I rarely find myself ensnared in this trap. To say that I never compare myself to others would be a lie, but 98% of the time, I don't. It might be the way my brain is wired (INTJs have naturally high levels of self-confidence), my upbringing, or some combination of the two, but I'm confident in who I am and don't need others to validate my self-worth. That being said, I have some tips for those who struggle with this and could use a positivity boost!

1 // Make a list of your best qualities and all the things you have to be grateful for.
When you focus on what you love about yourself instead of who you're not, you're less apt to compare yourself to other people. As for gratitude lists, I think they're such a good solution to a lot of things. Bad day? Gratitude list. Need something to journal about before bed? Gratitude list. Falling into the comparison trap? Gratitude list. It's so easy to lose sight of all the wonderful people and blessings in your life, and writing everything down helps you remember them.

2 // Treat yourself.
If you're feeling down, there's nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while! Buy yourself that dress you've been wanting because you love the way wearing it makes you feel, pick up a new novel because you love getting lost in a good plot, or go out to dinner with a friend for some comfort food. Treating yourself doesn't have to cost anything, though. Stay home and take a bath, marathon some Netflix, or bake a mug cake. Spend time with yourself. Maybe take time to write a gratitude list for that day.

3 // Distract yourself.
Distractions, distractions. You can't compare yourself to others online if you aren't paying attention. Hang out with friends, go out and explore, or simply put down your phone for a while. After all, the comparison is all in your head, your making entirely, so if it's not in front of you, it's going to be easier to forget about it.

4 // No one is perfect.
Finally, remember that no one is perfect. No matter how perfect her Instagram theme or how on-point her latest outfit snap may make her seem, she, like you, probably does not have it all together. Everyone has personal problems, whether in health, relationships, finances, career life... the list goes on.

How do you avoid the social media comparison trap?

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