Friday, June 10, 2011

Come on in to my Inferiority Complex

Those of you who have stuck around this blog for awhile know my struggles with depression, anxiety, and an inferiority complex in regards to...well, just about everything. I constantly compare myself to others' marriages, tattoos, appearances, lives--indeed, just about anything you could think of. As you can imagine this is not a particularly healthy exercise and means that I often find myself feeling miserable and hopeless.

One of the downsides to becoming more active in the blogging community is that it gives me ample opportunity to scrutinize everyone else's lives and compare them to my own.*   I start to admire another blogger's tattoos and may start to wonder if my tattoos meet the same standard. I lust after the long, beautiful (sometimes blue - so awesome) hair that so many bloggers have. I bemoan the fact that my crafting skills are slightly below the level of a sight-impaired three-toed sloth.  I worry about the fact that my blog lacks a "niche." If my blog posts don't receive comments, or not many people view my blog in a day, or if I write multiple posts in a short period of time (worrying about that now) I obsess over how horrible my writing must be or what an ineffective blogger I am, especially in comparison to all those AWESOME bloggers who kick blog ass on a daily basis.  Truly, for me, these are all real and justifable reasons to feel down and, you guessed it, inferior.

Danielle from Sometimes Sweet shared an article last week that explains how social media actually makes us feel more isolated because of this tendency to endlessly compare ourselves. Indeed, as we tend to primarily show the best of us online, it means that we are constantly aware of how we can't stack up against all the absolutely "perfect" people around us.  We know that we aren't perfect, that our hair doesn't always fall in the right place and sometimes we yell at our significant others for tripping over a rug or giving off too much body heat in bed, but because we don't always read about this happening to others it's easy to assume it's just us, and it's probably something we're doing wrong.

This isn't to say that any of these bloggers who I imagine probably walk on water ever try to promote the idea that they are flawless.  But somehow, the flaws that others do put on display seem to make them even more endearing because, and maybe this is just me, their flaws just don't seem as real and obvious as my own. Their flaws seem (to me) to come from being too awesome and too beautiful. 

One thing I admire about myself is my ability to be incredibly self-aware about the thoughts I have on a daily basis.  I know for a fact that everything described above, things I think and feel very acutely on a daily basis, have no basis in reality.  I know for a fact that a lot, if not most, bloggers and people in real life have the same issues with inferiority and insecurity that I do.  I know that my tattoos, photography, appearance, life, marriage have no bearing on anyone else's, and vice versa. 

In short, I know that I shouldn't live my life in the context of anyone else's life. I, and really all of us, need to learn to live our own lives free of these constraints.  Because I have learned that no matter how much I compare myself to someone else, I will never stack up.    And if I continue to compare something as trivial as my blog to others', I will quickly burn out on it, and who wants that?  Writing and connecting with people is awesome, and it's so cool that I get the opportunity to participate.  Why make it into a chore?

Am I alone in these feelings? Totally fine if I am, I'm used to being the crazy one.

To end on a lighter note:


Happy Friday!

*I wanted to say in this footnote that I compared myself to other people long before social networking was around...it just makes it easier to do so when you're around more numerous and diverse types of people.  Totally awesome to be able to communicate with amazing people worldwide, but if you're anxious or depressed it opens up a whole new world in a completely different way.

9 comments:

  1. Girl, you are most definitely NOT alone on this one! Blogging makes me laugh sometimes, because I feel like a lot of people are trying to be someone they're not...or someone they want to be...or someone who they are but don't let others see in person. It's tough to figure out which is which, but trust me when I say I'm POSITIVE you're not the only one who feels this way! I love Blogger a ton more than I loved Xanga (mostly because there's no drama, ha) but it's still pretty much the same "I'm bragging about myself but so is everyone else so I don't care" attitude, just a little nicer put and more collaboration.

    There are a lot of girls I've found on here who I'm super jealous of for one reason or another, and there are also ones I've found who have inspired me to add things to my 101 Things list, or to just document my life through pictures more creatively (you are one of them!!). It's natural to get jealous or feel insecure when you come across blogs of people who seem "perfect"...it makes me want to throw something at my computer screen...for real. But, is that really who they are?

    I know that I don't post a lot of negative things on my blog like I did on Xanga just because I know it's more public and never know who's reading it. I don't want to declare my frustrations to the world sometimes in fear that someone might read it and it will bite me in the butt (that's just my opinion, though). So, I really believe that you're not alone, and I LOVE reading your blog, I always have! Don't feel insecure...you're awesome :) :)

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  2. You are not alone. This post is me too. I really appreciate you sharing.

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  3. Lady, just do your thing! I've spent countless hours worrying about followers and blogging and comments. It's all nothing! Blog for yourself. :) You're doing a great job! I love reading your blog.

    We're here for you!

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  4. I totally know what you mean! I have ZERO crafty skills or cooking skills...I would like them though! And I wouldn't worry about not having a niche, I sure don't have one...hehe. Basically do not worry and I know that is easier said than done. I would like to give you a little exercise if you will...I think maybe having a gratitude journal could help you see the things you do have and to be thankful for them... maybe just list a few things here and there and see what happens!

    Oh, and thanks for the invitation to be pen pals and I would love to however I usually just write thank yous with my stationary. I am trying to write my sister (she is on a 1.5 year mission for our church in Brazil) and barely even write her..so sad. I need to! Otherwise I totally would girl!!!

    Oh and I was going to tell you I pretty much copied your idea of a post and hopefully you wouldn't mind but you commented on it before I could tell you haha. I have seen other people do that but hadn't for awhile until I saw yours... sorry I copied hehe.

    Ashley Sloan, Hat giveaway :)

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  5. You are not alone, I think we all let ourselves slip into this from time to time. But, you have to remember that this is only a glimpse into someone's life, the glimpse they want you to see. On a positive note, we should all use those things we see about others that we appreciate and use them to motivate us! It's easy to feel inadequate or lacking, but we have to remember to look inside of ourselves and see what's real and what makes us special.
    I say this, but I don't always heed my own advice:) A work in progress, that's what we all are! Great post, thank you for bringing light to this subject!

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  6. i know what you mean. i have been wanting to go friends only for this reason. i am also sick of the fake people in blog world. it makes me even more anxious.

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  7. i don't have a niche in my blog too and that makes me worry sometimes. this is such an enlightening post. you are awesome!

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  8. This is so so true. It applies in real life for sure, but seems magnified in internet life.

    I think everyone thinks they are the only one who feels this way, so it is really nice to read someone being open about it.

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  9. It's so hard not to do this! I want to makeover my blog on a daily basis as I browse other people's : )

    & in terms of content, too-- I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that there will always be (many) more entertaining/interesting bloggers out there than I. I'm learning how to just sit back & cheer them on (not that I'll ever stop taking notes) : )

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