We choose the stories to tell

We choose the stories to tell

comments 17

No one on the Internet is living the life you think they are.

The opening line to last week’s edition of The Sunday Dispatches from Paul Jarvis. It touched a nerve. More accurately, it shook something loose in me.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, whatever your poison, they are all great. Great for you, for whatever you use them for. Whether it’s to keep in touch with family, friends, long-lost twice removed cousins, we’ve got a plethora of apps to be able to communicate with pretty much anyone.

But here’s the thing with me. I am insanely guilty of constantly comparing. Comparing what other people are doing to what I’m doing. Where they’re going. Who they’re seeing. Social media has made it that much easier to be able to see and hear that information. And I’ve let it bring me down.

As Anish put it to me, I’m “comparing my blooper reel to other people’s highlight reels”. Feeling like what I’m achieving or doing just isn’t good enough. Compared to so-and-so. Why am I so hell-bent on constantly comparing myself to others, rather than my previous achievements or what I want to accomplish? It makes no fucking sense!

I’ve toyed with just going dark on social media. But I don’t think I could do that. Mostly because I use Twitter so heavily for work, I’d be a little lost without it. And also, just going dark for a week or two isn’t going to solve the problem. It’ll put it off for a couple of weeks. I’ll be in a bubble of not knowing. And while that sounds fantastic, once the bubble’s popped, I’ll be right back to where I started.

So here I am saying, enough. Enough with the comparisons. Yes, they’re off climbing a mountain today and you’re stuck doing the housework, but you’re not going to take a photo of the dishes and put that up on Instagram. Oh, wait.

Choose to be good with your life without comparing it to anyone else’s – which is hard, but necessary. It’s never apples to apples. Since you’re never seeing their whole story, it’s more like apples to elephants.

Paul Jarvis


  1. This really resonates with me! I’m guilty of the same feelings of inadequacy and jealousy at times, but I’m also trying to get beyond that “grass is always greener” mentality.

    • Phew! I’m glad I’m not talking cobblers! I guess this is our generation/time’s version of keeping up with the Jonses. But we really don’t have to.

  2. There was a news article a year or two back saying how studies showed that Facebook statuses from friends could fill you with a sort of depression, everyone posting their ‘OMG My life is so brilliant!’ posts. It made a lot of sense to me. So many people seem to have it sorted, but then I guess we show people only what we want them to see.
    I like your attitude. I shut down all social media for a good 5/6 months and even though I enjoyed returning, there’s a simplicity to life that comes with being cut off that I occasionally find myself missing, which is unexpected. Social media in general is bittersweet. It gives but it takes.
    BTW, that dish mountain is EPIC. I need a thumbs up emoticon here. 🙂

    • Yes, I remember reading that too not too long ago. I’m not surprised. Especially as checking and updating Facebook can become an addiction for some people. That need to know everything and anything. I hold my hand up and say I’ve been there before.

      One of my favourite parts of going on holiday is just shutting down from social media. Sure I may post the occasional image, but I don’t partake. I just show. Even just doing that is refreshing.

      My dish mountains are famous in these parts. Especially when you suddenly hear a crash in the kitchen when you’re in bed…

  3. It’s true. We’re constantly comparing, but have you ever thought that someone might be looking up to you and what you’ve achieved and thinking, I could never do that? Don’t discredit your own journey. It’s been the best path for you and what you’ve achieved in life is amazing for someone of any age, I know you’ll keep achieving and pushing the bounds of personal and professional. The end result will be amazing.

    • See this is what I’m terrible at – not giving myself enough credit. Whether it’s with work, photography, squash. My nearest and dearest around me are quick to let me know when I’m doing this! I guess it becomes an easy thing to do. Lazy. And easy.

      Thank you Humaira – you’ve got a real way with words.

  4. moviesandsongs365

    It is tempting to compare your life with others. I try not to, and just do things at my own pace. That’s a great quote you found about “never seeing their whole story”. Photo of the dishes was pretty funny 🙂

    • It’s tempting because it’s just so easy. A little too easy. Doing things at your own pace is the best way. And setting up your own goals and achievements because YOU want to do them.

      My dish stacking abilities are one of my best 😉

  5. I think most of us are guilty of comparing ourselves with others. I’m still learning on how to not do that and how to not be affected by what people have to say about me. Life would be much happier if I could do both 🙂

  6. I have heard many times that people post their highlight reels, so we can’t compare our real lives to them. I totally agree! I do appreciate art and don’t mind people’s beautiful photos. Nevertheless, I found myself longing for their lives, especially Mother’s Day, when I didn’t feel like my husband cared about my role as a mother as deeply as other husbands (seemed to be). So, I made a vow to remember that I don’t have the whole story, and that my husband truly loves and appreciates me. I don’t need to post it on IG or Facebook to know that.

    • Yeah, it’s those special days like birthdays and other celebrations where people can post some astounding things that does leave you with a longing. And then, if you’re me, pangs of guilt because of said longing.

      That’s a good vow to take. And sometimes I think it’s best to keep some things off of the social media networks and just keep those special moments to yourself 🙂

  7. Trust me, you are not alone in playing the comparison game. I’ve been known to play that game for hours to years on end. But, I am slowly weaning myself off and I do feel a lot better. Not gonna lie though, it is hard sometimes to stop yourself putting your life and someone else’s side by side and criticize every little aspect of your life . I just hope we all get better at seeing the value in what we do day-to-day and use other people’s amazing, eye-opening and jaw-dropping IG accounts to prompt us to shake up our routine from time to time 🙂

    • Always find it so hard to comprehend that we’re so quick to play comparisons and yet can’t, sometimes, see the great things we have in our own lives. That never ending search for the greener grass eh? And why is it so hard to stop comparing? Humans are weird creatures!

  8. Rachael Talibart

    Definitely don’t compare! Anish sounds very sensible – that’s a great quote from him. Are you familiar with the novels of George Eliot? She was very clear that there are great stories to be told in everyday life lived by ordinary people, people who never climb mountains.

    • After Googling George Eliot I feel slightly embarrassed that I’m not familiar with her or any of her novels. Though the title “Middlemarch” sounds somewhat familiar. After reading up a little bit about it on Goodreads, I might stick that on my to-read list.

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