Comparison is an act of violence against the self

As I start down this blogging path, today the universe has thumped me soundly to keep something in mind: I must do this for me, first and foremost, and I must not compare myself to others – in general, or in blogs. Thus, the title of this post – a quote from Iyanla Vanzant (who has some other interesting quotes here) – seems particularly apt.

The first thing I came across in this vein was this video (thanks for pointing me to it, Dr. Mabry), particularly the point starting at about 2:15:

We continually edit ourselves to present the best image we can, he says.

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I find I can’t disagree. Obviously we’ve done this for thousands of years, but when our worlds were confined primarily to face-to-face interactions, people were more likely to gossip about each other and spread the bad as we worked spread the good. Now, many of our friend sets don’t overlap, and thus each only sees a limited part of us. We have more ability to edit out the less-good-bits, and we’re using it (myself included).

Then came this article: a newly released study says using Facebook can lead to unhappiness. Especially on the heels of that video, that makes perfect sense to me. If we’re all editing our social media to provide the pretty picture of who we’d like to be, then that means when we look at our social media feeds, we get screens full of our friends’ and family members’ perfect lives. I think we look at these screens full of perfect lives and subconsciously or consciously compare ourselves (because it is human nature to do so); since we’re still well aware of our own failings (even if we never talk about them), we find ourselves lacking. Getting this message too often would, indeed, bring anyone down.

So yes, beware of comparing yourself to others. I said this all had to do with blogging; the links I stumbled across today do: Comparison is the thief of joy talks directly about comparing oneself to another when looking at blogs, and was inspired in part by The trouble with blogging, which includes this profound statement from Carmen from Mom to the Screaming Masses:

“We need to stop comparing our insides to others’ outsides.”

What a thing to remember, along with the rest of what Amy wrote, as I embark on this blogging thing. Many blogs, as she points out, are quite professional and polished – and are meant to be businesses. Mine isn’t. I just want somewhere to record my thoughts and doings; somewhere to post my pictures; somewhere to explore thoughts, mostly in medium form; and perhaps somewhere to perhaps keep local people in the loop of things going on about town, as a friend of mine suggested. All of that is what’s right for me just now. And that’s completely fine.

I shan’t compare my blog to all the professional blogs out there; I shan’t compare my insides to anyone else’s outsides. I shall use my blog as I want and need to. I shall remind myself that, just as I’ll edit what I present on here for public digestion, so too is every other person editing their public face, whether that face is digital or corporeal.

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