How to stop comparing yourself with unknown people on the internet
Sometimes, looking too hard and comparing to other people on the internet, social networks, might become pressure rather than inspiration. Let me tell you a little bit more about that!
Following others start as inspiration
We often believe we need inspiration in order to pursue our dreams. When we want to achieve our goals, we feel we are not strong enough to find the motivation, the patience and the consistency needed, so we look at other people, thinking their example will finally get us too into doing what it needs to be done for success.
When I started my own weight loss journey, I was following a couple of local fitness celebrities on Instagram, imagining that with hard work and devotion I might look like them one day. They were my example of how to eventually turn my body into a masterpiece and their dedication and routine was something I aimed for, too. Little did I know that they were in fact dedicating their whole time to looking fit because this was their job while I was doing my daily job as well, trying to incorporate their perfect behavior in an already busy schedule.
Sticking to a model exhausts yourself
I felt guilty when I didn’t keep up with my diet and my workout routine, feeling lazy and not worthy of anything good happening to me because I don’t do me best to be like the people I was following. In my mind, their Instagram accounts were mirrors of their actual lives: perfect bodies, 100% eating healthy, 100% determination in the gym, 100% focus. I never thought, not even for one second, that their accounts might be created to seem ideal for the audience following them.
Instead of feeling inspired and ready to adapt their lifestyle to my lifestyle and just take out the best of their practices and fill them into my schedule, being convinced they manage to keep up with a perfect and healthy lifestyle while I can’t, only made me feel bad, worthless and depressed.
A perfect life should be seen as just an illusion
What did I do wrong?, I used to asked myself, trying to become someone I am not, an ideal version of myself, but not at all sustainable in the long run. I was not doing anything wrong, in fact. I just didn’t want to believe Instagram celebrities are sometimes selling a dream, a perfect life that most people cannot keep up with because normal people have a lot of other things to take care of and it is not only eating healthy and working out as much as possible that they do all day, every day.
When I understood that I need to separate an illusion from real life and just focus on me and my progress without comparing myself to other people, I started to feel again lighter and the pressure was off. I didn’t feel guilty anymore because I couldn’t keep up with whomever I was following online and I was just happy to see the good results I was having on my own terms. I also realized that looking your best doesn’t resolve any personal issues and it doesn’t make you feel good all the time. And I also got that looking my best meant that I had to be able to keep the looks of my body effortlessly and without always thinking about food and workouts.
How to overcome damaging comparisons
Let me tell you what I did to stop comparing myself to other people and their perfect lifestyle.
- Look for real people like yourself
I started to follow accounts of real people like myself and their documented weight loss journeys. It is easier to feel inspired when you relate to the people you follow because their struggles are your struggles as well and their speech is empowering without putting pressure or making you feel like a complete loser.
- Unfollow toxic accounts
I stopped following accounts that would make me feel bad. Even if people there might have had the best intentions, the ideal lives they would present felt completely false, just like a movie that you watch knowing it is hard to keep up to that kind of lifestyle when you’ve got a million other things to do in your day to day life.
- Find knowledge in kind and understanding professionals
A fitness professional is someone who can guide you with kindness and understanding. You can find them in real life, but also on the Internet giving advice in a balanced manner, with understanding towards the struggles of people trying to lose weight. These people are great guides because they understand the psychology of people and can empathize with them through every step of their weight loss journey.
- Understand what you are looking at
Social media is sometimes like a mirage and the more time we spend there, the more mesmerized we are! It is like giving in into a fantasy and waking up can sometimes be hard. So, make sure you understand the accounts that you follow and their purpose, if they are real or they seem like a dream. Learn to ask yourself: who is this person, how does her/ his day look like, what do they do to maintain their weight, does it seem easy to them or like a real every day struggle where they spend all of their time trying to look their best?
- Try to figure out why you need to compare to others
One of the hardest things in life is to try and understand ourselves! When you feel you give in into comparing to other people, ask yourself why you do that. What is it that makes you want to be like certain people imagining their way of being and doing things would be perfect for you too. Spend more time inside yourself and less time on social media and you will learn that your own truth is more valuable than following other people’s recipe.
It is your experience and your journey that matter most when you want to lose weight. Losing weight is a challenging process as it is without you adding extra pressure. Just do your work, understand what works for you, enjoy your own experience and its results and make the journey your own by getting your own formula that helps you out!