THE "NEVER ENOUGH" EPIDEMIC: STOP COMPARING AND BREAK FREE
"I just thought that I would be in a different place by the time that I was in my mid-late twenties. But here I am single, drinking every weekend and not even close to owning a house... I feel like a failure."
It's hard to count the number of times that I have had this conversation with friends, clients and even other therapists. I like to call it the never enough epidemic, as it seems to be a common feeling these days for many millennials and young adults.
With the creation of social media and technology, we are bombarded daily with images of lives that seem "picture perfect," which can leave us feeling like our own lives are dull and not good enough.
Every day we are flooded with photos of what seem to be "flawless families," new moms not only look like they have it all together but also somehow manage to professionally decorate their home, cook healthy meals and lose all their baby weight overnight. Seemingly flawless 18-year old insta-famous bloggers that are hanging out in Bora Bora, Hawaii, Tahiti and flying around in private jets and articles about young entrepreneurs that found success in a random business idea and now are being featured on Forbes Top 30 under 30.
No wonder feelings of hopelessness, jealousy and utter fear keep coming up over and over again for so many young adults. There is an unrealistic bar that has been set, which can feel totally unattainable to most of us.
The terrifying part of this epidemic is the effect it has on our self-esteem and self-worth. It's a constant game of "keeping up with the Joneses" except on steroids because the comparison is amplified every time you check your cell phone.
It's important to remember a few things: 1. What you see on social media is what people WANT you to see, not necessarily the truth, 2. No one is perfect, 3. You are no less worthy just because of your not where you thought you would be by a certain age, 4. Some of these people literally get paid to make their lives look flawless- it's a full-time job, 5. You define what success means in your life.
Instead of numbing your insecurities by going out and drinking, insta-stalking, getting jealous or feeling powerless, channel your energy into proactive motivation. Filled with positive self-talk, and healthy habits that make you feel better about life and YOUR unique path.
Here are a few things that you can do to break free from those self-sabotaging thoughts:
REALITY CHECK YOURSELF: It has become more important than ever to take a step back and reflect on things and give yourself some credit where credit is due.
Just because you aren't married, a millionaire or haven't traveled by the time you thought you would- does not mean that you haven't accomplished a lot. There are probably some other pretty amazing things about your life and about YOU that you may be forgetting to acknowledge. Maybe you have been a good daughter, friend or mentor to somebody. Maybe you had to make sacrifices in some areas for reasons out of your control.
Make a list of all the things that you are proud of and put it in a place where you can see it every day, add to it whenever there is something that deserves recognition.
SET REALISTIC GOALS: If you want something you have to make it happen. The best thing that you can do is set long and short term goals for yourself. Picture the life that you want and do one thing every single day to make that dream a reality, even if it is the smallest thing it will all begin to add up. Set an alarm, schedule it in your planner or put it on your to-do list for some accountability and be patient. Great things take time.
UNFOLLOW THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BAD: It may sound harsh... But if something doesn't make you feel good about yourself, get rid of it. Push the unfollow button or take a break off of social media for a while. It's just like an unhealthy relationship, there comes a point where you just gotta cut it off. If you are spending more than half an hour a day looking at how great everyone else's life seems you are loosing a lot of valuable time that could be dedicated to reaching your own dreams.
LIVE AUTHENTICALLY: Stay true to yourself and don't pretend to be something you are not. Try your best because you want to and it's important to you to do your best. Do things with your core values in mind and you will not only feel more confident about yourself and the choices that you make but you will notice that others will take notice also. People respect and look up to confidence and authenticity more than anything else.
You have so much to offer, stop comparing yourself to others and break free!