The Thief of Joy

"Comparison is the thief of joy". I truly believe this. So much of our day to day struggles and anxieties come from comparing our lives to others. "Why can't I be like her, why can't I always have the right outfit and friends and know the right thing to say?"  ​

Usually, I am a big supporter of social media. I like the way it helps us connect and build relationships with one another in new ways. I can see what's going on all over the world instantly in a way that's never been done before. However, social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are often ways young women like me fall into a comparison trap.

As I sit here, typing this blog, I scroll through my Instagram feed: a couple at a pumpkin patch, a group of sorority sisters posing, a picture of sandy toes at the beach for fall break. Each photo on my feed seems to be even happier and more perfect than the last, and somemtimes I can't help but compare my life to those I see on the screen. Sometimes, you're reminded of what you haven't done in your life versus what your friends have done. "She's studying abroad in Spain while I've never been out of the country." "He's celebrating his two year anniversary while I can't get a date." 

This is where social media fails us. We ask ourselves, Why can't I have her looks, or his friends? But the truth is, everyone's thinking the same exact thing about everyone else. There is no such thing as a charmed life. This is something I must remind myself daily. Everyone posts photos of their best moments. No one posts a picture of themselves watching Netflix and in their pajamas by 9 p.m. No one tweets about their struggle with their recent break-up. Social media is all about showing the world your best, happiest you—even if that isn't the truest you. Everyone you follow and everyone you see has a struggle, and there's probably something about you they wish they could have. I am learning every day not to compare my behind-the-scenes to others' highlight reels. 

There is so much pressure on college-aged women to present this perfect version of themselves, which often leads to jealousy and envy of other young women. When you're in college, you feel a certain stress to prove to everyone that you're having the time of your life, that you're doing just as well, if not better, than everyone else. The only solution to this is to try your best to only compare yourself to yourself—to strive each day to be a better person than you were yesterday. Compete with yourself, not others. 

Instead of wondering if you have as good a social life as that other girl, wonder if you've been kinder than you were the day before. If you focus on improving yourself, for yourself, you will succeed in time. There is only one you, and no one else could be you if they tried. The only comparison that is truly helpful is the self-reflection that best helps you grow into a better person, and that comparison can't be found on any social media.