Sara is a mental health blogger, wellness advocate and of course our resident The Good, The Bad and The Panicky columnist. You can read more from her here on her blog, Catching up with Sara.
Do you ever look through your social media accounts and compare yourself to all of the acquaintances that you’ve met in your lifetime?
How can they afford to holiday on a yacht?
How did they buy a house at 20?
Why is my profile picture not of a candid photo of me and an elephant in a loving embrace?
Why do I look like a baked potato compared to all of my friends?
Scrolling through your phone has become a lazy and a daily habit for a lot of us and with that, we’re putting more and more pressure on ourselves to be this perfect, happy human or to at least look like we are. But who are we doing this for?
I would encourage everyone to live their best life, but make sure that you’re not creating a competition in your head with everyone else when it doesn’t need to exist in the first place. Just because someone else is ahead of you, doesn’t mean that they’re winning and I think that is where a lot of anxiety stems from – this idea that other people are beating us. But why are treating life like it’s a game?
Life is an adventure and you’re not confined to any rules. You are free to speak your mind, free to go wherever you like and free to be your true self. But the difficult thing about this is the reaction of others and the fear of being judged – no one wants to be seen as Robin, we all want to be Batman.
I used to put an immense amount of pressure on myself to run around after everyone else, making sure they were happy, their needs were met and that I was a person that they liked. But because of this, I wasn’t looking after myself. I was usually too tired to go out, I had no free time and most worryingly, I was too tired to prepare a meal so I would go without.
My biggest break through moment was breaking up with toxic people and letting go. My therapist asked me, ‘what would happen to you if people didn’t like you?’ ‘What would happen if people started doing things for themselves?’ ‘Why aren’t you looking after yourself?’
These might seem like pretty simple questions to you but my mind has always been programmed to think like this and to worry, and it took a therapist to point out that actually, this is anxiety. To me, growing up with this mindset was normal and I assumed that everyone else thought like this too – damn, that was a rude awakening!
Gradually, I have started to let go and I have started to do things for myself which previously, my brain made me feel guilty for. I still have a long way to go but I realised that I actually liked who I am as a person. If I met me, I’d like to say that we’d be best friends, I’m a freaking hoot! So why should I change my opinions and actions around others to shape myself into a person who they would like? Because quite frankly, that girl doesn’t exist.
But don’t forget, you don’t always see the cold hard truth; social media leaves out the arguments, the nasty things we call each other in the heat of the moment and most importantly, the depression that has invaded the mind. You only see what others want you to see, so give yourself a break.
You’re doing fine, sweetie.