Competing against yourself

My friend Lisa Bevere recently made a comment that stuck with me.  It was something along the lines of 'Social Media is creating a culture of comparison, causing us to forget who we really are.' And it is sadly so true.
Its already in our genes to constantly compare ourselves to one another in order to measure if we are 'better' or 'worse' than others, 'above average' or 'below average' pertaining to a certain element. Now that is already toxic in itself; we should all strive to be the best WE can be, not strive to be better than your neighbor. Often, as a result, our self-worth almost completely relies on measuring our competence in comparison to someone else's, creating all sorts of insecurities.

But this generation… ohh this generation. This generation has gotten so caught up in trying to paint a certain customized image of themselves out there, that we start to confuse ourselves when it comes to who we really are. Lets face it, what we put on social media is not who we are, its just some aspects of our lives. Usually the positive aspects. We don't put up the ugliest photos, we put up the photos we think have passed the test. We don't put up our failures, we put up our successes. We don't put up our struggles, we put up our breakthroughs. Of course we do. Why should we paint a negative picture of our lives for the world to see? No no no.. We always show our best. We train ourselves very early- and very well- to put up masks and hide behind them. 

This generation has access to it all. All the good, and definitely all the bad. Globalization, the internet, social media, magazines, photoshop in magazines… Reality shows that show ZERO reality. Facebook profiles- where you very strategically try to explain who you are; Twitter- where you just share your thoughts and opinions and feel entitled to virtually bully someone; Instagram- where we post cool and pretty parts of our lives and good selfies and get all sorts of backlash from people who don't know you yet seem to have a strong opinion on your life… Blogs… Everyone has blogs!  And when I say everyone, I pretty much mean everyone. In November of last year it was estimated that there were approximately 152 million blogs on the internet and that every half a second theres a new person starting a blog. WHAT?! And what do we do in blogs? We talk about ourselves and our lifestyle, we compare ourselves to others, we give people tips so they can be more like us. Hah! Its so funny to me because its obvious that WE are the ones who create most our problems. We are creating virtual versions of ourselves, that mostly carries our best attributes and then taking that and measuring our worth in comparison to someone else's virtual self. How can I put this kindly.. WE ARE NEVER GOING TO WIN THIS GAME.
Keep your blogs and twitters and instagram accounts, I'm not against any of that, those platforms can be used positively as well, its good to keep a record of and share your life with the people you care about. Why not. What I am worried about is that I'm not sure there are enough people out there spreading the word to the young generation that NONE of those things define you. Be you! You are a unique and beautiful person- flaws and all. There is only ONE of you so you are without rival. There is no need for competition, the power is in UNITY!

Of course its easier said than done. I am, by nature, an extremely competitive person. I played sports and I can't even count how many times I kept playing the game with broken fingers, injured shoulders, badly bruised knees and rolled ankles.. All I care about is winning. That, unfortunately, translates into my personal life as well, and its one of the things I also have struggled with. I know you're probably thinking "what haven't you struggled with?" and the honest answer is- not much. I've struggled with it all. But I'll leave that for other posts, its good material. To resume this post, I want to give you a couple of things to really think about, and if it doesn't apply to you, send this so someone it applies to. And if it does apply to you, also send it to others it may apply to.

1- You are one of a kind, without rival, without competition. Take your talents and do your best with them. Find your niche and build on that. 

2- Clear out the noise. Don't let people make you feel 'worse than' or 'better than' anybody. The first will damage your self-esteem, the latter will make you proud. And pride is equally as destructive as low self-esteem.

3- Be true to yourself. Don't get lost in the social media world becoming the image you are trying to create but losing yourself along the way. 

4- The power is in UNITY. Stick around. Fight the feelings of jealousy or competition off. Help others do their best. Encourage them. Support them. It will come back to you. I'm not sure if I believe in Karma, but what I do believe is that there is power in unity, and you will be blessed if you choose to bless.