We all have moments of feeling low, self critiquing and comparing ourselves to others. I think it’s relatively normal. If you didn’t – you wouldn’t be human. However, with the majority of our daily lives spent online in some way or another, this kind of comparison is constant, unrelenting and subconsciously detrimental.
In a sea of filtered selfies, pretty breakfasts and seemingly perfect lives, I have witnessed first hand how we can become fixated on becoming someone online that we’re not in real life, in turn disregarding the things that we should learn to love about ourselves.
Although I knew the online world had a ‘filter’, of course we’re not going to publicly expose the bad parts of our day online (although I do sometimes – apologies for being a bit of a Moaning Myrtle), a recent event opened my eyes to just how huge that filter was.
How what you see online, really isn’t the truth.
I don’t think I’ll be able to talk about this event unless other things come to light, but all I can say is that the online world is a very good masker of the truth if you know the rules to play.
When something goes wrong, just yell “PLOT TWIST” and move on!
In aid of this recent enlightenment, I thought I would write a list of things that ARE truthful to reflect upon if you’re having a bad day, need a pick me up – or want to take a little time out. Life is far too short and sometimes too cruel to worry whether we match up to what’s put out online, but naturally – we don’t always see this.
Here’s the top ten reasons why you ARE good enough and should cut yourself a little more slack…
- You are HERE! You’re on this planet, reading this article, living your life. If you’re tapping away at your very own laptop, in your very own space (even if, like me, it’s just a single room at the moment) and able to read this of your own free will, you’re doing pretty well. When the bigger things seem to take over, you often forget about the simple miracle that you are here and living your life as you choose to. Yes, perhaps you’re not swanning around in Monaco, Bora Bora or The Caribbean on a swanky yacht (I can dream) but you have the freedom to take your life wherever you want it to!
- Being self critical is healthy. Although it’s not necessarily a good thing if you do it all the time, being reflective and thinking about whether you could do something better is a very positive trait that shows you care. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t think about improving – so although it’s not good to get caught in a cycle of comparison, doing it occasionally means that you’re someone who is driven, motivated and conscientious.
- You know what you want. I think this one takes time, but if you have certain qualities, expectations and attributes favoured when choosing partners or friends, then this is definitely something to celebrate. Growing up, I had lots of bad experiences with friends. I tended to welcome the wrong people into my life, naively giving them my all and not expecting anything in return. Those you choose to have in your close circle should help you grow, not hold you back – and knowing what particular attributes this involves means that you’re the kind of person who isn’t afraid to be selfish on occasions and cut ties if you feel that person is draining or not assisting you in flourishing. There might be 7 billion people in the world, but it’s about quality rather than quantity.
- You have something no-one else in the world can offer. You’re you. You have a unique mix of qualities, talents, characteristics, traits and genetics. No-one else in the world can compete with those because they belong to you only. Although I tried very hard to fit in at school and followed the crowd for awhile, my first relief realisation came when I found I didn’t have to be a sheep for people to like me. In fact, it made me different and unique to refuse to do something just because everyone else was. I might not have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model and a face like Cheryl Cole to offer the world, but I am me – and I highly doubt that there’s another clone of me walking around the earth (if there is, I’d be intrigued to see her!). You’re you – own that and don’t change for anyone!
- You’ve made mistakes. Making mistakes is all part of being human – and weirdly, although it’s hideously embarrassing/difficult/horrid at the time, looking back – those are the mistakes that made us, us! As long as you haven’t made the same mistakes more than a handful of times, you’re on the right track! Moving yourself forward, when you’ve jumped over the biggest hurdle – offers the greatest rewards. Far greater than anything materialistic. Saying that, wearing a cheap bikini top with dodgy elastic on a supersonic million-foot high waterslide is not a mistake. It’s just plain stupid. Are you taking note 18-year-old me?
- You’ve worked bloody hard for what you’ve got. Although I often dream about living the kind of wealthy life that you see plastered over Instagram, Twitter and the media, in reality – I’m not sure I’d want to be handed it on a plate. Sure, growing up in the lap of luxury with no financial concerns whatsoever would have been lovely, I’m sure – but what do you have to strive towards if you already have it on a plate in front of you? Part of living your life and fulfilling moments of happiness is having aspirations and working hard to achieve them, it takes the fun out of it when they’re there without any effort. It’s a bit like The Sims (if you’re familiar with my all time favourite game). You could use the cheat (rosebud or motherlode), build a beautiful massive house and fill it with fancy clothes, gorgeous furniture and state of the art sound systems (a firm favourite of mine) but once you’d done that and played around a bit, it got slightly boring. There’s nothing else to do when The Sim has everything. The most exciting games were when you took the time to organise your Sim to get what they wanted.
- You’ve let your emotions run wild. The other day, I was on the bus, stuck in traffic and saw a man walking alongside. He had a half eaten banana in his hand and it was pouring with rain. As the rain increased in intensity, the contented look on his face changed to a panicked expression that his banana was going to get wet, so he started hopping from foot to foot sheltering his soggy banana with his hand. The forlorn expression that he was wearing as the realisation struck that the banana probably wasn’t going to survive was enough to set me off in floods of tears. On. A. Bus. Obviously, I was having the most ridiculous day of PMS EVER (I also burst into tears when the elderly lady on the train dropped her cheese sandwiches) but the point behind the story was that whatever happens, expressing emotions is human. I cry at the oddest of things, but I’m not the kind of person who can bottle up feelings or hide my distain, happiness or anger at a certain situation. Often, this is a trait of mine I despise, but at the same time – at least people know exactly where they stand. Being an emotional person isn’t the opposite of being a strong person. In fact it’s quite the contrary. Being emotionally strong is knowing that’s okay to let those emotions flow, rather than blocking and ignoring them.
- You challenge yourself. Nope, I’m not talking about daily algebra (which I’m still waiting to see when it will be relevant) but daily challenges that you face up to. I often find myself with 9 weeks in the summer where I could quite happily relax, take a break from Uni work and chill out. However, I know that personally I’d get bored within a matter of days, so for the past two years running, I’ve challenged myself to run an event for writers single-handedly. Both times have involved tears, repeating the phrase ‘WHY did I do this, never again’ and my mum consoling me as I worry no-one will turn up, however the challenge in itself is enough to fuel me forward. You don’t need to accept new things at work, new roles, go for a new job, learn new skills, get your degree, start a blog (and so on…) but you do – as a way of challenging yourself and furthering yourself, which is certainly something to be admired. The next time you start doubting yourself, think of all the challenges you’ve overcome so far!
- You dream. Cringe worthy, I know – but similar to above, if you have aspirations, dreams and inspirations – this is certainly something to be proud of. Often it’s difficult to see what’s ahead when it’s not yet there. But if you have aspirations and dreams then you’ve held onto one of my favourite human traits, developed in childhood and often forgotten about. We all believed in the tooth fairy and father christmas, even if we’d never seen the elusive characters in person – and we’d talk about them animately with friends. Dreams are the same, we haven’t yet seen them – but we believe that they’re there – so we go ahead and push for them. I might never be a billionaire, but if you dream high enough – you might meet them somewhere in the middle. Not quite the same as the tooth fairy or father christmas, but I suppose you get the similarities. Often, a person with the bigger dreams is more powerful than the person with all the answers.
- And finally, YOU are good enough. Often, we live too far in the past or the future, forgetting about the now. How often have you looked back at pictures or times in your life and said: “Oh look how happy I was there. Look how nice my hair looked. Look how slim I looked.” But sure as can be, at the time the photo was taken, you had different worries, insecurities and daily issues. As a society, we’re very fixated on fixing our flaws when in actual fact, they’re illusionary flaws. It’s good to try and better yourself, but when it comes at the detriment of you being happy, it’s no longer healthy. Live for the now. Wake up every day and write down something you’re feeling positive about – or that you’re happy about or grateful for. Then when you’re feeling a little bit rubbish (as we all do), have a flick through and remember when you’re so brilliant! I know I sound ridiculously cliche – and for that I apologise, but it’s difficult to be motivational without being positive, which can often come across a bit silly. The main point behind the article is to understand that although the online world is one filled with perfect pictures, fabulous filters and lives we think we could only dream of, there’s a lot more behind the picture that is unspoken. They say a picture tells a thousand words, but I don’t think this is true. A picture can’t always tell you what you really want to know. The framing of it might be just so that you don’t see the pile of washing up the subject has to do in the background once the selfie has uploaded, or perhaps the filter covers up the bags of a hideous hangover. A picture or a tweet doesn’t always tell you the full story, so don’t worry about comparing yourself to something that isn’t there. You are good enough!
Do you have any favourite motivational quotes – or stories you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear them!