how to not compare online

This is a topic I have meaning to write about for a while now, and first heard it discussed on one of my favourite podcasts The Emma Gunns Show. Emma was talking to model and self care advocate Iskra Lawrence, (you can listen to the episode here) and one of the things she talked about was how important the ratio was of creation vs consumption. This idea of a ratio really resonated with me, especially with regards to finding balance in both my work and personal life. When the ratio is heavier on the consumption, I find myself comparing more, I feel more insecure and question my core values more. However when the ratio leans heavier to creating I am happier, more productive and generally at peace.

It’s worth pointing out that creating doesn’t have to benefit my work, it could be cooking, it could be building friendships, it could be writing for pleasure, making things for my home, whatever form it takes it doesn’t have to be about work. The whole point of the create vs Consume ration is to aim for some kind of balance. I’m the first to own that my mobile phone use is excessive , yes I could pass it off as being part of my job as an online content creator and a makeup artist but I know the voices that rear their ugly and unhelpful heads after I’ve spent too long comparing myself on Instagram come after I’ve surpassed whats necessary to post or a general scroll.

how to not compare online

When I notice an hour has gone by and I can’t remember what I was looking for in the first place, thats when I know I’ve consumed too much, too much to the point of it being detrimental to my emotional and mental health. It’s no coincidence that its when I am mindlessly scrolling that I find I worry more, I obsess over the future and the biggest difference is the way I compare myself to others. Not just looks wise, but with my work and where I thought I’d be, where I think I should be, I basically coulda, woulda, shoulda all over myself! I berate myself for not doing enough, for not being productive enough.

The reality is that you can’t be creative every waking second of the day, and thats why the ratio works both ways I guess, sometimes you need to consume to become inspired to create, but finding that 50;50 balance is a great thing to work towards, and the idea of a ratio is something I’ve really tried to be more mindful of. Now when I feel like I’ve spent way too much time on social media, I ask if there is anything else more nourishing I can consume? Is there a photography book I haven’t read in a while? Is there an album I haven’t heard in a while? Maybe there’s a new exhibition on I would enjoy seeing? That’s my first point of call. After I can move onto creating, sometimes that may be related to my work, I might want to right or film, put some makeup on for fun, and sometimes it’s to try a recipe I’ve been meaning to do, perhaps an up cycling project. It might be as small as going for a walk, or writing a friend a hand written letter.

how to not compare online

I’m only human, and of course there are times when I ignore all this and fall into the trap of endless/mindless scrolling, the difference is my awareness, and I don’t make it about being right or wrong, this ratio is just some gentle guidelines to work towards for a more peaceful way of living. I know many of my friends identify with this constant comparison and social media is a huge part of that, these glittering life highlight reels which make us compare and dispare are common place and something I didn’t have to contend with as a teenager. It’s a multi faceted comparison of who is the prettiest, the thinnest, the richest, the most successful, the happiest, the list goes on. For me this ratio is the closest thing I’ve found to helping me be happy with what I have right now and where I am right now, to be somewhat present with that and stay grateful, and for that reason I just thought it was worth sharing.

If there was any take aways from this, it would be to think about who and what you follow on social media? Ask yourself how comparing yourself is actually helping you? It’s great to be inspired by others and motivated even, but if you follow people just to use their life as a way to demote your own, something has to change. Find people who lift you up, both IRL and online.  Think about the ratio of consumption vs creation and ask yourself what that could look like for you?

Photos by Kayla Varley