When I first moved to Austin from the East Coast, it initially felt like a vacation. The experience of finding my new stomping grounds – my grocery stores, Starbucks, and favorite lunch spots – was almost surreal. While some new things were exciting (HEB is basically a city, y’all), others left less to be desired (holy water bill!). One issue remained constant, though – my growing insecurity. I’m aware that there are natural ways to combat depression, but I just wasn’t sure where to begin.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt vulnerable about various aspects of my life. I could probably go to therapy and work through the deep roots that is my self-consciousness, but I’ll save the money and keep moving forward. I’ve been guilty of getting caught up in what everyone else is doing, seeing, tasting, and experiencing. Being a large part of what I do, social media consumes my life. It’s quite literally my job to scope out blogs and perfect Instagram pages to find fun new moms to try out products and form ideas for fresh content. It’s easy to become insecure amongst a sea of Clarendon and Ludwig.
One day, though, I came across this quote –
“Stop comparing your everyday to everyone else’s highlight reel.”
I stopped and contemplated. I felt like these words were speaking to me, as that has been my reality.
Everyone else was thinner.
Their clothes were perfect.
Their kids never misbehaved.
Their houses were impeccably decorated and showroom worthy at all times.
Their weekends were filled with living room forts and museum trips, followed by expensive date nights.
I looked around at my own house where toys lay scattered around our family room and crumbs were strewn atop the kitchen counter. My kids were still in pajamas, as was I, and there was something sticky and purple in the dog’s fur. How do I even live up to it all?
The truth is, though, that what we see on the outside world is only a snapshot of what occurs in a person’s life. That quote spoke so deeply to me because it was accurate. Most of us only post the “good stuff” – the things that make us happy. In 2017, I made several promises to myself. I was going to practice great self-care and make sure that I’m getting enough time to do so, and secondly, I would stop comparing my “everyday” with that of others.
I’ve had a few hiccups along the way, but I’ve also developed some tricks to make it easier. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Unplug From Social Media.
I can’t stress enough how important this one is. Give yourself a dedicated block of time where the phone goes in the drawer and you simply practice being present. Read a book to your kids, take the dog for a walk, or just have a face-to-face conversation with a friend. If you’re not being bombarded with the highlight reel, you are able to best obtain perspective.
Make a “Thankful” Jar.
I’ve also heard the word “Blessings Jar,” but I despise the word #blessed. It makes me think of privileged humble braggers on social media, but that’s a whole other post. Before you laugh at me, take a minute and think about it. We all need reminders of the things in our life that are good. Are you healthy? Are you able to walk without pain? Are you able to afford to grab a coffee and treat yourself? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you have things to be thankful for. Even at our most rock bottom moments, we really have so much more than we even realize. I know that I need that reminder when I’m at my worst. Take a few minutes and write down the reasons you’re thankful for being you. Everyone gets frazzled and jealous sometimes – we are human, after all. When this happens, grab one of the strips from your jar and read it aloud to yourself. This will force you to focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t.
Set Some Goals – And Crush Them.
If there’s something you want, set a goal to obtain it. It was tough for me to watch many of my friends become homeowners before we were able to purchase a house, ourselves. We had Hayley at a really young age, and saving just wasn’t an easy option for us when we made it a priority to rent an expensive Boston condo to keep her in a top school district. I admit it – I was bitter and jealous. My friends were in a position to move home and stash after college, but that was not our reality. Instead of letting it eat me alive, though, my husband and I channeled those emotions into saving for our own house. We became homeowners last summer, and I am in love with our house.
Embrace the Hand You’ve Been Dealt.
I spent many years comparing myself to others and was sick of feeling constantly inadequate. I realize, though, that as cliched as it sounds, we truly all have our own paths to walk. Just because someone has something amazing, too, doesn’t mean that they didn’t work hard for it. Whatever hardships you’re facing and whatever stress is at the forefront of your life, take a deep breath and overcome it – fight for what you want. Just because you were dealt a specific hand doesn’t mean that it needs to determine the rest of your life or define who you are and what you will become.
I’m still constantly battling my insecurities. I’m trying to teach my tween daughter to balance screen time when it’s a struggle for me to do so, myself. I’m far from perfect, and I still wish my house was cleaner. Instead of wallowing in what I want, though, I’m spinning my emotions into tangible goals to motivate me to better myself.