Comparing Is Toxic – An Antidote

Sometimes, when I spontaneously remember someone I used to know in the past, I google them. A fellow student from high school, former colleagues, partners from way back when. And of course the Internet is paved with everyone’s most perfect versions of themselves, profiles studded with credentials and achievements, photos taken from angles as flattering as possible, if not photoshopped. We all know this. And still, sometimes, when reading about somebody from my past, it happens that I fall into the booby trap and end up feeling inferior.

I’m actually really okay with my life, so it’s not that I cringe with regrets and What Ifs. Why, then, am I feeling worse for comparing myself to others? It’s a strange mechanism, and a toxic one. Nothing good can come from weighing an online profile against real life, as online profiles are often more of a sales pitch than actually true; after all, no one would qualify their presentation with mentioning downsides (»I’m a highly successful executive, but have struggled with depression throughout my career«, or »What you can’t see in my beautiful pictures is that I’m in treatment for an eating disorder«, or »I may be a famous artist, but I’m also desperately lonely«).

Yesterday, when looking up a family I used to know some 30 years ago, initial fondness and nostalgia took a turn for negativity, and seeing all these successful, brilliant, happy people suddenly made me feel like a failure.

How to climb out of such a rabbit-hole? Well, by lucky chance, I happened to open my photo library. As I scrolled, I found my family, friends, pets, landscapes, crafts, food – because I like to document all the small things that make my life. It is so powerful to dive into that, and see it for the wealth that it is. I called a friend, took the dog for a long walk in the community forest, and ended up feeling infinitely better :-).

So my strategy, I guess, when feeling intimidated by online perfection (apparent or real): Close the damn browser. Touch a pet. Hug a friend or family member. Look after your plants. Do some crafts. Play music. Go outside. Exercise. Life has so many things we love and enjoy. We don’t actually need validation from strangers, flattering as the clicks and likes may be. But ultimately, they’re not as real as exchanging a smile with a person in real life, are they?

Here’s a few little things to show you what I mean.

Sharing all this with you, stitch readers, is happening online also, I realize. But my intention is not to brag, or make myself shine or whatever. It simply occurred to me that some of you may feel weird sometimes, when seeing slices of others‘ life online and ending up feeling insecure, so I thought I’d point out that there is beauty, and joy to be found all around us, if we open our eyes to look.

So, I’ve been asked about the Waffle Stitch potholders, and I promise I’ll try to write a tutorial for them if you’re interested, just not today.

I have a school thing tonight, and will do my best to show up and stay alert for it. Had yet another gruesome visit to the dentist, but am now proud owner of a second crown, if hundreds of bucks poorer. Have a lovely week, everyone, thank you for reading, and if I may make a suggestion: go and embrace a real life activity ;-)).

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