The story of our lives.

“Compare and Despair

Voices in the head while flipping through stories on Instagram and Facebook : Why am I not traveling? Why can’t I wear that dress, why is my winged-eye liner more like a flippant horse’s tail but that influencer babe always gets it right!? Eyebrows on fleek? More like eek! He got a new car… ooh, Audi. Hmm….I wonder when will I be able to save enough? She got a promotion. their pregnancy test result is positive (yes people are posting their pee-strips on stories) Heck, meri roti kab gol banegi??

Ugh ugh ugh. Comparisons. Big or small. Why do we do that? Have you noticed something? Ok next time do this when you start watching “stories”, observe how your mood changes as you spend time looking at what people have shared about their lives. We all have opinions about things, some of us are vocal about them, some of us keep them to ourselves. But we all have an opinion – we are not robots. You watch person A’s stories – your mind/heart start thinking/feeling. It could be a positive feeling, because person A’s story made you smile. It may not be the same for person B. It could be a trigger. It could be something that angers you. Mood down. Okay, flip! Person C. Again…. something that makes you feel a lil bleh. Person D – funny. Person E – lame. Person F – informative. Person G – traveler. Person H – Celebrity/Perfect body. Person I – A News account. Person J – trigger again. Comparisons again.

And it keeps going on. We don’t realize we end up standing in one place with our heads down, swiping and watching stories for20-30 minutes! A B C D E F G H I J K L M N OMG!!!!! STOP.

The more you spend time randomly and absolutely mindlessly swiping stories of people, people you know IRL (in real life) and people you don’t even know but sort of are acquainted with….and people those people are acquainted with. It’s crazy. How does it matter to you really. If you sit down and think about it, really think about it alright, it does not matter that xyz made this fuckin awesome cake or abc has lost 10 kilos in the lockdown and you only gained a bit if not much.

You enjoyed yourself and let yourself go. You ate a bit extra to cope. Emotional eating or seeking comfort food when you are feeling low is legit. It happens to a lot of us.

Someone worked out a bit harder to cope. Some people find comfort in exercise. To each his own. Why despair? It’s been a tough time for everyone. It’s OKAY to let go once in a while.

Good things start happening when you stop feeling bad about yourself. So what if you’re always saying, “I don’t have clothes” standing in front of a closet stuffed with dresses that don’t fit no more. So what if you are driving the same car since years but your batch-mates are posting pictures from the car showroom #Grateful spread all across the post. There’s a thin line between Grateful and exhibiting your happiness too. This generation and now the generation before ours is compelled to share. From “Log kya kahenge” to “Dekhte hai log kya kehte hai” – we have come a long way. Both sad.

Where is the peace? Peace is in keeping things to yourself. I am not saying JUST STOP SHARING. I myself love posting snippets of my life on social media. But that’s it. Glimpses. Snippets. Vignettes.

I think what we are seeing and indulging in is an overdose of display of your own life and watching others’ doing the same.

There is bound to be comparison. It’s human nature. What do I do to avoid comparing and despairing? I stick to close family and special friends and there are not many on social-media, thankfully. I extensively use the Mute feature. Works well!

I stay busy. I keep myself occupied with my creative and fun pursuits. Pick up a hobby. That hobby will keep your hands away from the phone and eventually you will be out of touch.

Have you noticed how when we meet people after a while over a coffee or drinks, we have barely anything to catch up on? We already have seen so much of each other on a daily basis on Instagram, we know what’s up. What else do you talk about? It’s really strange. I get to know about the big events in a supposedly close relation’s life through social-media. And then I feel something I can’t even express. This feeling is new, it’s unsettling. It makes me feel … distant. And then I don’t know how to react to the “news”. I withdraw till I can make peace with the fact that though everyone is sharing so much online, they are still keeping a lot to themselves when they meet offline. It’s really, really strange for me.

But then, that is the way life is now. “Online” is the new “IRL.”

Online is real life. Or is it where real people show this unreal aspect that in fact is actually them, deep down inside?

Think about it. Why are we using filters? We want to look good. Good? We feel we don’t look good enough without the filters. Shows a real aspect of our personality indeed. Insecurity. Lack of confidence. Not happy with the way we look. I admire women who post their photos without filters.

Validation. The retweets, the hearts, the comments, the likes. They give us a feeling of being validated. Sounds sad na?

Why do you think we miss the 90s so much? The times when nobody validated us yet we were happy. We knew our worth and it did not depend on the number of followers or likes.

Also, it was OKAY to not have more than 2 close friends. There was no need to know what was happening in every Tom, Dick and Harry’s life.

It was good. Weekends were spent at India Gate or Nirulas in Chanakyapuri. I did not have this urge to share a picture of my ice-cream or the chameli ka gajra.

Thankfully, us the 80s kids, have not lost it as much as the “millenials” have. They did not spend many years without WiFi and they have just grown up with easy access that leads to quick sharing. We, on the other hand, spent a long time just trying to connect to the dial-up internet. I can still hear that sound! Golden years. That is another blog-post altogether.

Anyway. We are where we are. We are living in a world where almost everyone knows someone who is dealing with depression.

I think what we need is tons of empathy. We need to remind ourselves to think from their perspective, we need to try. We need to feel more, judge less. More of gratitude and less of comparison. In fact, comparisons need to be completely eliminated and Gratitude has to be a part of your daily life. Make time to reflect on what YOU have and not on what THEY have.

The stories won’t bother. 🙂

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