"Comparison is the thief of joy."
It is easy to read this quote from Theodore Roosevelt and nod your head in agreement. You see it, you understand it, but what do you do to combat the issue? As a kid I would often compare myself to others. I would look at them and then look at what I was wearing or doing and question myself. I would question everything from what I was wearing to the depth of my friendships. If my life didn't look like others, was I doing it right? Should I be doing something different? Looking back, it all seems silly. But the truth is, even as an adult, comparison is a struggle. In the age of social media, it has become even harder to live a life free from the comparison game.
One glance through social media and it is easy to see the issues it creates. Without intending to, my feed quickly became overrun with stores and brands, style bloggers, and people I didn't even know all trying to "sell" me something. My feed quickly filled up with all the clothes I have to have, trips I should take, and the picture perfect family I should strive to create. Every other photo was someone talking about a sale or their "must-have" sweater of the season. Instead of a feed full of people I know, it became a beacon of consumerism. Major problem.
Over the years, I have intentionally slowed my shopping habits and focused on a more intentional and focused wardrobe. This year it has become one of my goals for 2017. I have moved towards supporting sustainable/ethical businesses and clothing. I want to support small businesses who work to make the world a better place, not just a large corporation of mass produced products. Adam and I have spent time living life the way we believe works best for us. We wanted to focus on growing a life together, doing the things we love. We have lived smaller to be able to see the world. We moved to Denver to start a life with the mountains in our backyard. I love the life I have. it isn't perfect, but it is pretty darn awesome. I don't doubt that until I spend too much scrolling through social media. I see new houses, adorable families, endless new outfits and shoes, bloggers that write a bunch of BS with thousands of followers. It is ridiculous to get caught up in it, but I do. I can tell myself it isn't an issue, but at the end of the day old Teddy is right. I start to question what we are doing. Crazy right? You may be looking at my blog or social media and wishing you could have what I have for a day. The thing with comparison is it doesn't have an end. It doesn't only work one way. No matter what our life looks like, we easily get swept away in wanting what we don't have. So how do we stop the cycle? How do we slow down enough to appreciate what we have and not constantly wish for something different?
I don't have the answer. I think we all have to find what works for us, but for me I found that social media was a struggle. Now, the truth is I love instagram. I do. It's full of pretty pictures and inspiration. I'm a visual person who loves stories. So instagram is my jam. So I didn't get rid of it completely, but I did clean house. I went through my feed and started unfollowing anyone I found to be a trigger for me. The endless fashion bloggers, stores and brands, people I didn't know, etc. I don't need nor want hair extensions, fake lashes, filled in brows, a daily trip to Nordstrom, or a feed full of "the best sweater ever." That works for people. Nothing against what they are doing, creating and curating. It's just not for me. So instead of feeding discontentment, I am working hard to create a social media space that is inspiring, encouraging, authentic, and creative. I don't need to see another article of the "6 [fill in the blank] Items You Never Knew You Needed". I would much rather continue not knowing.
Books to encourage you in your pursuit of a more focused, minimalist life:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo
- Simple Matters - Erin Boyle
- Chasing Slow - Erin Loechner