Signing in to Instagram, stumbling upon a picture of a schoolmate achieving a gold medal.
I wish I could be that smart.
Scroll, scroll, scroll. Coming across a picture of a friend travelling all around the world.
I wish I could do that.
A picture of a stranger with a prestigious job—I wish. A picture of someone with a super happy life—I wish. I wish, I wish, I wish… it’s always a never-ending ‘I wish’.
I believe I am not the only one who often found myself in such a scene. While social media is a really efficient tool to help us connect with others, it is also a black hole that we often sink into when we keep comparing ourselves with others. I, too, more than once have found myself dwelling in that black hole, mourning about my mundane life while I kept looking at people’s milestones and achievements.
It's easy to soak into self-doubt, it’s easy to give up when I am on the edge of the cliff, tangled up in insecurities while my inner voice continues to tell me that I am less than others. It’s easy to suffocate in failure, it’s easy to have my hopes and goals blocked away by my weakness and vulnerability. It’s easy to have regrets and unfulfilled wishes piled up in a corner of my mind, following me like a serial killer ready to murder me anytime my guard is down. It’s easy to fall down, until…
I decided to destroy that serial killer before it murders me first.
After years of learning and growing, I realize that grieving over someone’s manifestation is far from healthy. In fact, it is very toxic behaviour that is somehow seen as ‘normal’ or ‘common’ in our everyday lives. Though it might seem challenging to erase this habit, I realize that I am not going anywhere by comparing myself to others. During my personal journey, I learned several lessons and methods that became my own antidote to keep focusing on myself, instead of others.
1. I tried to focus on what I’ve had accomplished, instead of what I’ve had lost.
When I am focusing on people’s lives, I tend to focus on what they have accomplished, because more often than not, they only show what they want people to see on social media. Hence, they rarely show their failures and their heavy efforts to manifest what they have finally achieved. If we reverse it somehow, why don’t we also focus on what we have accomplished, instead of focusing on what we have lost throughout our lives? Why do we only focus on all the negativity that we bury inside, instead of focusing on all the positivity that we have fulfilled? In order to gain self-love, the very first thing that we need to do is to shift our focus into light and positivity.
2. I became more aware of all the things that I am doing, and I became more focused to see what I can improve on myself.
Truth is, we tend to know more about others rather than about our own selves. By shifting my focus, I gained a lot more insights about my personal identity. I became more mindful about who I am, what I am doing, what I want to do, and how I want to achieve it. Then, I created a list about all the things that I want to improve on myself—be it about my physical health, my soft skills, my career, my social skills, or even as simple as my appearance.
3. I started to create a self-transformation by doing it slowly, not by pushing it all at once.
Here is the tricky part: once I am getting more focused, I tend to become very hard on myself and become highly ambitious to check off all my lists. Therefore, I put a strict timeline for myself that by the end of the day, I became too physically and mentally exhausted, and I ended up comparing every little thing that I failed to do with others. It is such a cycle that I couldn’t escape from until I found out that the right key is the consistency. It doesn’t matter if I am doing it in a rush and putting it in a strict timeline if I am not consistently making changes. So, be consistent about whatever you’re doing and start it all slowly without pushing yourself too hard.
I have finally realized that stepping into a transformation journey means that I don’t owe anyone anything. I don’t owe people a justification about my efforts, day-in and day-out, nor any explanation to why I chose a certain path in my life. I don’t owe anyone validation about my own journey because I finally understand that everyone is on their own journey and has their own time. I have faith in myself to keep working and improving myself, without looking behind. I realize that when I keep comparing myself to others, I keep searching for a piece of myself that I will never find in people’s lives—a piece of contentment, that I wasn’t able to find within.
At the end of the day, I believe that we all have choices to make. For me, instead of choosing to come back to that ‘black hole’, I choose to come home to myself, because I know that this home will last forever, and I don’t need to search for a piece of it in another person’s life anymore.