While this post is specifically targeting bloggers, I think it’s fair to say that just about everyone, at some time or another, has played the comparison game. We’ve all found ourselves perusing some social media site or blog and suddenly felt overwhelmed with jealousy. The ‘perfect life’ is a lie often sanctioned across social media and on Instagram especially for some reason, where people’s homes, meals, friends, family, holidays, work life and everything else is just the perfect endless stream of beauty and aspiration and then it hits. Dammit, why doesn’t my life look that good?
If you are indeed a blogger, perhaps you see someone who’s only recently started their blog suddenly getting offers from great brands for collaborations. Maybe it’s a more established blogger who is suddenly seemingly everywhere you look, getting the best collaborations or the most lucrative deals. Or it could be someone who started around the same time as you now has 10 times the number of Instagram followers or better engagement or more followers on Facebook or creates nicer videos than you do.
The problem is that the comparison game is a slippery slope. When we compare ourselves – no matter where we are on our ‘journey’ – to someone else who looks to be doing ‘better’, we are always going to fail. The problem is that there are an infinite number of people to compare ourselves with and an infinite number of factors we are comparing against. You will always, always find someone who is more successful, has more money, has better connections, is more skilled at any number of factors, hell, has better HAIR then you. It’s a no-win situation.
So what happens? We start to feel bad about ourselves, we start to downgrade the accomplishments we HAVE made, we start to wonder why we’re even bothering. Even worse, we might become resentful about others, we may talk behind their backs, we may spread our negativity to others.
I can not say that I’m entirely immune to feelings of jealousy or comparison – I’m most certainly not. It’s very easy to get caught up in the comparison game, especially during moments of weakness or during low points. But what do you do if you find these feelings are taking over from actually getting shit done and moving forward with your life and your work?
Here are a few things I try to do every time those feelings start to get the better of me:
Stop the Negative Talk
The first thing you have to do is simply recognise what you’re doing. Is your Instagram feed suddenly making you feel horrible about yourself? Take a break from it. Is reading about another blogger’s fabulous home makeover filling you with envy? Stop reading! Take a break from whatever you are doing that’s causing a negative emotion and nip it in the bud as soon as the feeling starts to well up.
Change Your Scenery
The next thing is to move. Get out of the room, go for a walk, step outside into the garden, go make a cup of tea. Change the scenery and change your mindset.
Things to remember
Remind yourself of something. There are a lot of brands out there. There are a lot of bloggers out there. There is not just room for one or two at the very top. Hell, you don’t even NEED to be at the top. No matter what rung you are on at the moment, you will see others who are doing much the same as you. There is room for everyone here. Really.
Brands don’t work with just one blogger – most like to spread out a little, to work with quite a few different ones. And honestly, if numbers are a sticking point for you, whether that’s your traffic or your followers, they are not just paying attention to numbers these days. Many brands are finally realising that a blogger who is passionate about what they do and has a loyal following – no matter how big or small – can be incredibly valuable. Numbers really aren’t everything so why let that be your only focus?
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
As for those blogs who are seemingly doing everything right? Look to them for inspiration only. See where your own hard work and perseverance can take you. I look at certain blogs and bloggers who are just KILLING IT right now and I know this sounds cheesy but I try to think, ‘Thank you for paving the way for me in the future!’
The more and more bloggers are recognised and become successful, the more opportunities they create for other bloggers coming along behind them. As the saying goes, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’. So think of these really big successful bloggers as raising that tide for all bloggers – including you!
Turn jealousy into admiration or inspiration
So you see a blogger creating some amazing content and you wish yours was that good? Admire it, enjoy it and now use that to tell yourself that you are going to try your damnest to do better work yourself. See someone creating a successful business out of their blog? What can you do to do the same? Can you create new goals for yourself and work towards them?
While I would never encourage you to copy another blogger outright (in fact, please don’t ever do this), it is good to let their success spur you on to bigger and brighter things. Use them as inspiration on where you’d like to be in the next x amount of months or years and start making a plan to get yourself there.
There’s one thing that I’ve noticed being part of the interior design blogger community is that it’s incredibly supportive. If there’s someone doing amazing work in your niche, why not reach out to them and tell them how much you admire them? Why not turn your jealousy into something much more positive? This is not only nice for the blogger to hear but it’ll make you feel good in the process too. And who knows, perhaps you can feature them or collaborate with them on something or create a real relationship with them in the future. We’re all human, we all like to make connections with others.
Thinking collaboratively instead of competitively could only be a good thing. Readers like reading multiple blogs, Brands work with multiple blogs and so there’s no need to think about ourselves as islands. We are all in this together and supporting each other creates a thriving network where we all benefit.
Remember Your Achievements
It’s so important to keep an eye on your own progress. What are you doing better now than you were 6 months ago? What achievements have you ticked off your list? Have you worked with some great brands already? Then you are already doing well! It’s a matter of putting things into perspective. If you are already working with brands, if your following is slowly growing, if you are making connections with other bloggers, if you are able to express yourself creatively through your own blog, you are already creating something successful.
How to Win the Comparison Game
And finally, if things are getting the better of me, I like to play the comparison game with a twist. I do it only with myself. I might look back on old Media Kits or my analytics to see how much my numbers have actually grown over the years. Sure, it may have taken me longer than others to get there but I have made huge strides since the early days of my blog. And perhaps I don’t have 50k followers on Instagram but has it really made that much of a difference? I may not be the biggest, most popular blogger, I may not be going on fancy blogger trips every week and I may not have an eye-watering number of visitors every month but ya know what? It really doesn’t matter. I never felt the need to be the biggest name in blogging by any stretch, I’m able to support myself with my blog, I’m doing what I love and that’s what I set out to accomplish so it really doesn’t matter.
I can compare what I’m doing now to what I did years ago and I will always, always come out on top. It’s the only time you should be playing comparison – with yourself!
So the next time you look at the perfect life of some gorgeous 20 or 30 something with 50 gazillion followers who looks like they just stepped off the beach and with their perfect sun-kissed skin and bright eyes, with her perfectly dressed children or their cute little dog that most certainly never takes a sneaky poo on the carpet and the beautiful perfectly cooked whole-organic-gluten-free-vegan breakfast and coffee that has foam that looks like the Mona Lisa on top, remember that their success does not equate to your failure. There’s room for everyone here at every step of the way.
What do you do to keep jealousy at bay?