Slouched in bed on a Sunday morning, I dip my toe from under the covers. Not yet, I think, as I give myself time to get used to this autumnal chill. I turn on my phone – no new notifications, I really must reply to my friend Sarah, and why hasn’t he text me back yet when he was the one who initiated the conversation? I go for Instagram, and there I see it – the early risers donning their trainers, the “look at what concert I was at last night because my life is so great” snaps, the ones of the hen party, and the night out. What did I do last night? None of that.
I recently found myself in a funk, comparing myself to an acquaintance more than I care to admit. Maybe it’s because I see her nearly every day, or that we’re close in age. I know my insecurities have a part to play too (I’m working on that, continually).
I felt myself competing with her for stories to tell, anecdotes that would gain the most “points” among our peers. Trying to get one up on her, because hadn’t I just seen her posting another night out selfie on Instagram whilst I was making a vegetable pasta bake in my pyjamas? She’d tell us about the compliments she gets from Tinder guys, or how she received a free Kylie K lip kit in the post by accident.
Without sounding like a self-entitled brat, where were my compliments or my Kylie K lip kit? I don’t even have Tinder, and I rarely stray from my trusty three lipsticks. I was being ridiculous because jealousy had reared its ugly head. I was taking the snapshots someone had given me of their life, and using it to make myself feel worse. Comparing my worth to how someone else sees their worth. Why was I changing to make myself feel better on someone else’s currency? Just as social media is a filtered version of someone’s life, so are the anecdotes they tell, and the parts of their life they let you in on.
My worth isn’t defined by the number of likes I receive on my latest Facebook profile photo, or whether I finally got round to purchasing that dress or not (I haven’t). It isn’t the number of men I’ve slept with, or the ones who give me their number. It’s the generous and humbling compliments of colleagues who don’t have to like me, and how I make myself feel when I wear my favourite jumper. It’s the impact I have on other people’s lives – my friends, my sister, and my parents – and how I make others feel.
In recognising my self-worth based on my own guidelines, I realised there was no need to compare my life to someone else’s. I am enough – a lesson I’ve been learning throughout this year. I haven’t completed the class yet because it’s tough trying to change a mindset that has dominated my psyche for so long. But I have come to realise thatnmatching my worth to someone else’s is always going to fail. And there ain’t anything wrong with making a pasta bake on a Saturday evening.