Forgiving Yourself If You Don’t Do Things ‘Perfectly’

(and why you should stay off social media)

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Social media is a great tool for people to stay connected with friends and loved ones, but it also contributes to traits that none of us need or want to adopt, such as perfectionism.

While scrolling through social media it is easy to compare ourselves to others. We forget that what is posted in our social feeds commonly does not match reality, and then we feel pressured to be someone that we are not.

For a time, we put down our phones and walk away from social media, but then we feel drawn to reconnect with 'our tribe.’ We log back in and inadvertently the compulsion to compare ourselves to others ramps back up. We wonder why we cannot do things as perfectly as others seem to do. Our stress levels fire up, and it often leads us to burnout.

Just what can we do?

Comparison is Normal

Know that comparison is normal. From day one of our lives, we are tuned into the people that surround us. We learn how to socially interact, and we learn correct behavior by observing others.

Take a look at the life of most teenagers before the age of social media. Teens compared themselves to others and desired to be like those in the ‘popular’ crowd.

The difference between then and now, however, is that there were no phones-in-hand with perpetual glimpses into what others were doing in life, therefore, there were few chronic unhealthy obsessions, only normal teenage ideas involving fun adolescent attempts to look like or do the things that their peers were doing.

Without constant in-the-face social media feeds, interactions happened in-person and scarcely led to feelings of insufficiency and discouragement.

Sadly, with social media, we drain our quality of life with unhealthy comparisons and seldom realize that we are not going to find perfection. We only try harder, and we do not get anywhere with it.

So, how do we break away from this cycle? How do we forgive ourselves rather than beat ourselves up?

Related: SELF-WORTH: Is it worth it?

How to Break Away from Comparison

Breaking away from comparing ourselves with others can be a challenge in today’s age of social media but that is the starting point.

Stay away from social media.

Fundamentally, we know that what is on the outside of a person is only a small part of who the person really is. Social media algorithms, however, prioritize what ‘it’ believes we want to see, and it feeds this information to us, and much of it contains thin slices of people’s lives (and mainly embellished good parts).

This is manipulation that you are not responsible for, and there is only one way to get away from it—log off and stay off.

We are social beings, however. We all want connectedness. So, the trick is to limit your time on social media. Begin with 30 minutes a day, and if you still find yourself endlessly scrolling, triggering thoughts of comparison, allow yourself only 10 minutes a day.

Focus on the things that really matter.

What really matters in your life? What are your goals? What are your core values?

Your core values and how you frame your life around them make you who you are…a unique person that is not going to (and should not) fit into a mold that mirrors someone else’s life.

Social media can sway us away from what we believe in. Social media sends us off on rabbit trails, jumping from thoughts of ‘I want this,’ and ‘I should do that,’ to ‘Why am I such a mess and never can seem to do that perfectly?’ Ask yourself, is what is in your social media feed the most important thing(s) in your life?

When you feel the pangs of comparison pull you into the ‘Why can I not be like them?’ mode, focus on what matters.

What really matters are your personal beliefs and core values and being true to yourself accordingly.

Turn comparisons into self-evaluation.

Comparisons can be beneficial if they lead us to make healthy changes in our lives.

Each time you recognize that you are making a comparison, receive it as motivation to learn more about you. Look at it as an opportunity for self-evaluation. Again, as you evaluate, be true to your beliefs and core values, and ultimately your goals in life, and wipe out negative comparisons that do not fit in.

Forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Forgive yourself when your goals and aspirations do not go as planned.

Love yourself for your beliefs, core values, talents, skills, and strengths.

You have earned much from life experiences. When we love ourselves based on who we truly are, there is no chastising ourselves for what we cannot do. Remember, others fall short of being you!

(Treating ourselves as we would others is a practice. Learn more about self-forgiveness and Self Compassion)

Beyond Social Media – Sharing with Others

Your support system, people that understand and know you, are invaluable to your mental health.

They help you stay on track with who you are, and they help you to avoid unrealistic ideas of who you should be. It is important to understand your feelings and emotions so that you do not brush aside what is crucial for you. It is important to know your self-worth so that you make the right choices and decisions and reach your full potential.

Rationally, social media is not the best foundation for maintaining self-worth. Strive for interactions with those that support you unconditionally. Strive to share your life with people that listen. Strive for relationships with ‘real’ people that know you outside of social media. Do it for you.

Do you need help today? Make an appointment now.

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