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Insta vs. Reality: Avoiding the Comparison Trap

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

My favorite part about Instagram is the people - the people like you! I absolutely love making connections, making "friends in my phone," so to speak. You do know what I mean by this, right?? I can't be the only one who has accounts that I check in with daily to see what they're up to! Instagram and other social media platforms are great for helping to make the world feel a whole lot smaller.

My least favorite part, though? With every other scroll or swipe, something stops me or makes me pause, and there's this tiny voice in the back of my head that says, "How do you measure up?" The things that always stop me personally are:

  • the fitspo doing her 4:30am workout (while I sleep)

  • the coach making six figures and promising me I can, too

  • the people relaxing on their beach vacations

  • the picture-perfect, happy little families

  • the perfectly plated gourmet meals

  • the designer homes and offices

With every flip of the screen, I am both absolutely loving and absolutely hating what I see. Sometimes you can't help it. It is so easy to get lost in the glamour and the alternate reality that is social media.

Yes - alternate reality.

You've probably heard it before because I certainly didn't make it up, but I do believe it is so true - Instagram is a highlight reel. Even when people are genuine and post authentically, you're still only seeing a tiny curated fraction of what that person wants for you to see. Even when people are sharing with you the sad, bad, or messy parts of their life, they still chose those particular moments in time. We just don't know about all the moments they did not choose to show.

Now, I'm not saying it "matters." The friends in our phone don't owe us any more than what they would like to share, but I do see the extreme importance in being aware that this is the case in order to manage our expectations about what we see and how it compares to our own lives.


3 Ways to Avoid the "Comparison Trap"

  1. You get to control what you see on social media. Don't be afraid to hit unfollow on any account that makes you feel anything less than amazing. Find yourself comparing your own reality to their supposedly perfect life? Unfollow. Does the account promote have its you believe are unhealthy? Unfollow. Does what they post make you feel uncomfortable about your own body, or about another part of your life? Unfollow? Is the account in any other way degrading or toxic? Byeeeeee.

  2. Create before you consume. This has become one of my personal self mottos, because I find it so important to remember that there's a lot I have to offer the world before I spend my time soaking up what other people are offering. How can you show up for yourself in your own day, or show up for others?

  3. Practice intentional self-love. This includes regular self-care practices, daily affirmations, journaling, eating healthy food, exercising, taking care of your home environment, and doing things that spark genuine Joy in your day. Fill up on what is good for you. Find gratitude and comfort in knowing that you are currently doing the best you can, with what you have, where you are.

Want to hear my chat about this topic? Give a listen!

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