…It sounds worlds easier than it actually is, doesn’t it? Being content, in a true and lasting way can sometimes be a challenge, especially for us girls.
Earlier this month, the BBC reported on a study which found that in the UK, Instagram was found to be the highest ranked app that contributes to anxiety, loneliness, negative body image and depression among young people from ages 14 to 24. Snapchat also ranked as having a negative impact on the mental health of these young people.
Surprise? Not Really
Instagram, Instagram. The stomping ground of foodies, travel addicts, makeup enthusiasts and fashionistas. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy IG just as much as the next person, but it can be a dizzying trip down a rabbit hole if you’re not careful.
The thing about Instagram is that as an image-based app, very little is off limits. Whatever little (or luxurious) bits and pieces of life someone wants to show, they can; and that’s the kicker.
Seeing the ‘luxurious’ side of many people’s lives (friends, neighbours, co-workers, celebrities and
other strangers alike) can easily lead us down a road of comparison.
The Challenge of Contentment
The mental tricks played on our minds usually appear something like this:
Oh, Jessie’s on vacation with her family in the Mykonos! It looks beautiful!
She’s so lucky to take trips like that. Second time for the year too!
It must be her parents’ jobs. They’re really well off, so that must be, like, an everyday thing for them.
I wish my parents made that kind of money Why didn’t they do …..? Sigh.
Then again, we couldn’t afford for me to stay in uni. There goes even trying to get any further than they did.
I’ll probably never get anywhere beyond this silly restaurant job.
In one second of a scroll-through your IG feed, the comparison game has begun. You’re sent down a spiral of self-comparison, doubt, loathing, fear of the future, and blaming others for the way things ‘should be’.
Comparison vs ContentmentComparison and contentment can't co-exist because they're two worlds - no, galaxies - apart. Click To Tweet
Comparison comes from a place of focusing on others and what they have/where they are in life/who they know. Contentment shifts the focus onto you and what’s yours. It helps you focus on possibilities rather than lack. It shows you what you do have instead of what others have more of. It gives you reasons why you deserve to be happy, instead of reasons why you can only be happy if you had what someone else does.
I should also add that being content doesn’t mean being complacent. It doesn’t mean lacking drive and a will to change things that need changing. Contentment isn’t laziness.
It’s an understanding that we all experience different phases and ‘seasons’ in life, and being at peace with all your phases or seasons. Contentment is understanding that just because it appears like ‘everyone’ is living this constant Hollywood movie, that doesn’t make your life worth anything less.
Challenge Accepted!As easy as comparison may be to fall into, we aren't helpless to it. Click To Tweet
You can choose to be so strong that seeing the highlight reel of someone’s life doesn’t make you second-guess the worth of your everyday life.
You can choose, too, to take a step away from the Insta feeds and take some time to yourself. Remember the Digital Detox we spoke about before? It’s a good place to start (and spend time regularly), so that the #foodgasm and #passportready pics don’t become this all-consuming part of your life.
Being truly content can be a challenge for us girls today, with images of how much ‘better’ other people’s lives are constantly being paraded around us. We can choose a better alternative to self-comparison and self-loathing though. We can and for the sake of our health and well-being, we actually need to.
Until next time loves,