The Power of Comparison

No, I’m not talking about GoCompare or CompareTheMeerkat. I’m talking about comparing yourself to others.

It’s Friday which is marking the end of anti-bullying week and unfortunately many of us are bullied in our daily lives, it goes all the way from your school life and sometimes into your workplace. We should not ever have to encounter this kind of behaviour, but what do we do about it? Sometimes we do nothing, say nothing. Luckily campaigns such as the Anti-Bullying Alliance aim to promote how we can make changes.

This week’s focus was ‘Change Starts With Us’. I do feel that luckily I am not bullied in my life by others. However, the bully that is in my life is me, I have been my own biggest critic as I believe we can all be. Something that I have discovered recently is the power that comparison has especially with the true strength of social media.

I kind of touched upon this in my post about body positivity which is linked below:

The idea for this post came from the other day when I was doing some research for old photos on my Facebook. For years, and I do honestly mean years I would compare my images online and look at myself and say “ugh look at my big, round face” and “my arms look chunky“.

It’s ridiculous isn’t it and I know we all do it. Now, I’m not going to say that it’s not going to be something that I will never do again. However, I think that just being happy with yourself and your own headspace is going to get you one step closer to starting to loving and stop bullying yourself.

How Social Media changed the game

When you think about body images and how we all look at ourselves, research into this topic is so new. I’ve been doing a little bit of research surrounding the body positive moment and I read a sentence which really made a lot of sense to me “who we compare ourselves to is key” (Kelly Oakes, 2019).

I truly believe that how social media has grown with most people having an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat we can be surrounded with so many different people and their selfies. More harmfully, the over-edited photos and ‘perfection’ which when we see them constantly our views of ourselves will become increasingly more negative.

Now social media is not going to be completely to blame as it comes down to your mentality and who you surround yourself with. Some of us feel like we have to follow certain accounts to feel ‘in the know’ or just to be polite. I was listening to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Podcast with BodyPosiPanda who said that sometimes we do just follow people for the sake of it, we just need to stop being afraid to unfollow people.

I did it recently and I do believe it has helped, I want to have some more inspiration on my feed rather than constantly comparing myself to unrealistic imagery. I don’t need to do that because it’s not healthy and the whole #fitspo movement with people surprisingly not sweating and fresh faced whilst working out. I look like a lobster being ready to put into boil when I work out…so extremely attractive.

A Shift away from an appearance-saturated society.

I started reading the Reflection on Body Image report which was done back in 2012. It brought up a really important subject that we currently love in an ‘appearance-saturated’ society I don’t think I ever see a lot of personal achievements whether it be in terms of education or career-wise. Knowledge is definitely power and we should all promote even our smallest achievements on social media, rather than yet another selfie with a completely unrelated caption.

Such as I graduated with a First Class Honours in Tourism Management last year…did I brag about that everywhere on my social media? no I bloody didn’t. Did I get photos of just myself on my wonderful holiday with my boyfriend this year? no the one below is the the only one I have of myself on my own.

Instagram’s Revival

As mentioned in my previous post I did a bit of an autumnal clean-up of my Instagram. I unfollowed accounts that did not motivate me and started following people with more diverse bodies and stories to tell.

Going back to the report, there was a statistic and bare in mind this was in 2012:

70% of adult women and 40% of adult men felt pressure from tv and magazines to have a perfect body’.

Reflection on Body Image – All Party Parliamentary Group, 2012

It’s mad to think the numbers being so high and this is even before the mass usage of Instagram that we have now. I would previously compare not only my looks but my lifestyle to others online, just because I wasn’t at a trendy bar or coffee shop I would think I wasn’t being productive or doing the best with my time.

What a load of bollocks, I don’t need to spend £10.00 on a coffee to feel fulfilled.

To conclude

It’s easy to directly correlate the growth of social media, and comparing yourselves to others. It’s more easily accessible and we can often act like sheep and follow the crowds. Unfortunately often that crowd is full of #fitspo and overly-edited photos. However, there has been a growth in the body positive movement and you can really change what you see.

Do not be afraid to unfollow and do a declutter on your social media accounts. Follow people who inspire you either by their fashion, their achievements and what they represent.

This is a topic that I find fascinating and this will not be the last post I write. I would really like to hear from you with your thoughts on this subject matter, what do you think is to blame for our need to compare ourselves to others?

So many companies are getting better at promoting a more equal view of beauty and if you are not subscribed already then please do to this blog. You’ll be notified on when my new posts are released and if you follow me on Instagram @bookitblogger, you can follow my journey.

The Isle of Paradise Campaign

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