I’m sure you do too, I’m an avid fan of comparison sites, from utilities to insurance and travel, they have become a part of us as we all want to save a few pennies here and there.
But there is one comparison that is truly bad to our wellbeing, and that is the constant comparing of ourselves to others, especially since the dawn of online social media, where the doors were open onto anyone’s lives or, at least, to what they wanted us to see.
The recent lockdown triggered in me some deep-rooted jealousy for freedom, mainly based on seeing my friends and colleagues being able to start on new courses as so many companies and individuals were offering everything for free. I was missing out on all that knowledge!
And I was stuck with a lively 2 year old with no childcare, a husband who made my therapy studio his home office (and five months later still there), a struggle to get my regular food deliveries (I hadn’t been to a shop in months pre lockdown), grieving for the loss of my beloved cat and guess what else? Yes, the infamous virus too.
I think I fell into the introvert group that lurked about Facebook but didn’t post anything, I think I felt I just couldn’t compete with all of the happy posts I was seeing about people taking mountains of CPD courses for free. And I felt I was falling behind with my progress.
And then it hit me like a brick wall. I was getting blue and depressed as I was comparing myself to everyone else who seemed to enjoy lockdown. At that point, I was just surviving and I imagine many of you felt the same, I had this green goblin sitting on my shoulder shouting the worst at me because my plan, my expectations were different from the actuality of life and not being able to do any of the things I would have wanted to do, turned our first month of captivity into a coughing nightmare.
You see, even us therapists go through negative periods at times, we are humans just like you, we’re all on a journey of healing and none of us can control life, but we can definitely control how we respond to it, or at least learn and try. And that’s when I called upon a friend who’s an amazing therapist too, as we all need a little help from our friends sometimes.
After our chat, I focused on one thing: self-acceptance.
I’ve reminded myself that on social media people mostly posts the best bits of their lives and not the struggles (Ahhh the magic of an Insta-ready life photo), that my life is at a point on the journey that is different from everyone else and that comparing my life to someone else is a futile exercise. I accepted that right at that moment I had other more important priorities than self-development, no matter how much I would have wanted to sit and learn something new for the benefit of my client’s wellbeing and my own mind, and I accepted myself for not quite loving life as I once did.
And the day I accepted the above, was the first day I truly enjoyed spending 24/7 with my koala toddler under lockdown.
And I healed.
A few easy steps that you can try too to put you back in the flow:
-Practice being grateful, it may not sound much but the power of grace is an amazing catalyst for positive things
-Become conscious of your thoughts and where you direct your attention. Once you are consciously aware of what the mind brings up, you can consciously divert and change them into positive ones. All it takes is a bit of practice.
-Take time away from being online. If you constantly spend time looking at other people’s lives (social media, news outlets etc) you’re giving away the time to look after you and improve your life. You can’t draw water from an empty well. (Your mobile phone should have a function that shows you how much time you have spent on the apps you use. It’s an eye opener!)
And if you truly feel you need more help, contact your GP or find a therapist. Don’t waste a minute more, there is a way out.
August 2020 Tamara Flumignan – @LyncroftStudio