Comparison is the thief of joy

This one is all about self-reflection. If that bores you to tears, I suggest you stop reading.

This semester has been a challenging one. I’ve second-guessed my abilities as a student, as an employee, as a friend, as a girlfriend and more. In the midst of it all I have noticed an unfortunate trend which leads to my unhappiness. I say unhappiness, but that word is really just an umbrella term for any emotion that sucks the joy out of my day. (Such as jealousy, cruelty, wishful thinking, pessimism, the usual.)

Why do we compare ourselves to others? The quote by Dr. Seuss “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” should ring in my head each time I start becoming my worst critic. Sure, my field is competitive. Sure, my college is competitive. That’s no excuse to disregard my individual strengths. Ever.

I find that we tend, as humans, to compare subconsciously. Sometimes that brings out the good in people. Sometimes that brings out the downright petty and cruel. I’ve challenged myself to overcome the negative mentality of beating someone down in my head until we’re somewhat “equal.” Instead, I’ll make a jar.

I must admit that Pinterest inspired this little nugget. This jar…I’ll call it an Affirmation Jar for Me…is empty starting Jan. 1, 2014. From there, I add pieces of paper to it that are filled with funny moments or inside jokes, accolades from the year, goals I’ve reached, and quotes I love. There’s also room for guest contributions! (Duh.)

Affirm

Kind of what I envision my jar looking like.

Will you join me on this positive and self-fulfilling journey? It may seem trivial right now, but I’m sure by the time Jan. 1, 2015, rolls around and I open it to read the tokens of happiness, I’ll visualize nothing but the fantastic parts of 2014. And that sounds pretty damn good.

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Let’s get personal

I love social media.

I love it so much, in fact, I’m going to share all of my account standings with you. (I promise this isn’t a cheap ploy to get more followers…or maybe it is. I do think I’m mildly entertaining depending on the day.)

Facebook: I currently boast 2,691 friends

Twitter: I am followed by 617 people

Instagram: I tell my “life through pictures” to  598 followers

Pinterest: I pretty much only pin social media infographics, therefore I’m educating 65 people

Foursquare: I tell 67 people where I am

LinkedIn: I’m attempting to impress 244 connections

Gifboom and Cinemagram: I’m creative, but I’m not this creative; I have a few followers on both

My blog boasts quite a few followers, and on tumblr I have around 30 followers

So why am I telling you this and what importance does it have on your life? Probably nothing, honestly. I’ll attempt to make this relevant regardless. My major calls for twitter chats, live-streaming meetings via twitter, sharing experiences through Facebook, connecting to prospective employers through LinkedIn, expressing my creativity/individualism through Pinterest and Instagram, and even finding extra time in the week to get a couple blog posts written. I love Public Relations, and I love the art of balance.

I have noticed a recurring theme, however. There will always be a sense of anonymity when using social media platforms–even if your name and face are plastered next to what you’re saying/posting. We have lost a personal touch through our sincere reliance upon machines to get our point across. I love face-to-face interaction, and sometimes I even want to avoid it because it’s more “time consuming” or “difficult” than writing a quick tweet or creating a generic “I miss and love you, let’s hang soon!” Facebook post.

Some of the best memories I have of growing up are going to family reunions and having full-fledged conversations with my aunts, uncles, etc. They have given me so much advice, and I can’t imagine not having my family to confide in. I made it a point this year (during our annual family post-Christmas gathering) to put my phone away and leave my computer at home. And guess what? I had a damn good time. I breathed a little easier and shut the “real world” out for a few days. I laughed a little longer and listened a little more. 

I used to frantically worry that I was missing something important if I didn’t know about everything that was going on in my little world. I’ve learned to just let it be. Of course, social media makes it easier to keep up with life’s goings on. Taking an obnoxious amount of photos will never do a genuine experience justice though. (Kind of like recording a song from a concert or attempting to get the perfect picture of an artist probably won’t help you relive the experience any more than just closing your eyes and feeling the music would.)

Basically, I am contemplating a social media hiatus. Not today or even next week, but sometime soon. I am going to develop those relationships I have allowed to slip through the cracks as of late. So much for those 2500+ Facebook friends, right? I’m challenging myself to have more fun in real life and stop obsessing over posting everything I do via social media. Will you join me?