Be you. Do you. For you. Love you.
If you type in “just do you quotes” into google, you will be faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘motivational’ quotes to be yourself because, quite rightly so, there is only ONE YOU out there. With everyone else busy being themselves, why interrupt your being by trying to be someone else?
We are all unique, science even tells us this in our DNA, but too often we strive to be like someone or something that we’re not. That’s not to say that having inspirational idols to look up to and to listen to isn’t of value, far from it. It’s by taking on board what others have to say and interpreting it internally using our own moral compass, or our own set of opinions that we can reach an understanding that is unique to ourselves. In this way, debates are a good but hindered example. We listen to what the other has to say and argue our point. By arguing our point, I don’t think we really listen – or even care – what the other has to say, as we are so set on our own view point. Having such strong will of character and such belief behind our own opinion can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be limiting and narrow-minded. So, already we see the double-edged sword of just being you. We don’t want to come across as egotistical and self-centred, as taking on board other opinions and considering different perspectives can be beautifully enriching and eye-opening. But don’t simply go along with what someone says just because it’s easier, or the socially accepted mode of conduct. Internalise what you have heard or learnt and let it sit there for a bit. Think about what it means to you and then make a balanced judgement in light of numerous opinions. If, after this you still feel strongly about your own view, then run with it and don’t stop until you’ve spread your message loud and clear. But perhaps you’ll have a better understanding of the topic in hand.
Now, I realise all the above is a little vague as we’re not talking about anything in specific. But that’s how I wanted to present this issue because it touches each and every aspect of our lives and links very closely to another subject very close to my heart: comparison.
If we are focused on being ourselves, staying true to ourselves and living our lives for ourselves, comparison may not enter our minds. However, too often, comparison plagues our thoughts and can take over our lives. I, for one, often fall victim to the thief of joy that is comparison.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
If you have followed my social media, you will know this is a hot topic and one to which I often return. I go through slumps of negativity and low self-esteem surrounding following, engagement and creativity, based on the grid of life, that is Instagram. With such a visually enticing platform comes the ease at which we can directly compare ourselves to one another. Whether that be the number of followers we have, the number of likes we have or the quality and originality of our posts, it is all too easy to reduce ourselves to a simple statistic that will or will not match up to someone else.
I often talk to fellow bloggers about this very subject – even though they are also the same accounts I compare myself to and the ones to which I feel inferior – and it’s saddening, albeit refreshing, to hear that they share similar thoughts, too. Why did their porridge bowl get so many more likes than my porridge bowl this morning? Why has their number of followers increased dramatically while another’s has stagnated? What makes their account so special? Why isn’t mine as good? But, who is to say what is a good account? Does that imply that another account is bad? I don’t think so.
It comes back to the reason behind the account and the blog. If you are truly self-satisfied and content with your content (see what I did there?!), then why does it matter how many likes you receive compared to someone else? I see some photos of food with (confessed) bad lighting, no styling and a rushed snap of their dinner plate that receives thousands of likes. And then I see a beautifully styled, well-thought-through bowl that is visually and aesthetically pleasing and it is obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into their post, but they aren’t receiving the tiniest fraction of the number of likes compared to the aforementioned account.
There it is again, comparison.
If we get sucked into the black hole that is the C-word, we may just never return. We will quickly lose faith and belief in our own account and as a result our mental and even physical health may suffer. No number on the screen is worth that. At the end of the day, what is a ‘like’? It is sad to believe that it offers a lot of people, myself included, some validation and credibility. I’m working on allowing this validation to come from myself. And sometimes I manage, other times I don’t. There are a few posts and recipes that I am incredibly proud of, and happy with, yet they haven’t ‘performed’ that well on social media, but the important thing here is that I am pleased with them. Other posts that, admittedly, have been more rushed and without much of a message, have surpassed any expectation I had! While I am forever grateful for the love and feedback I receive, it is nevertheless confusing and dumbfounding as to why such posts do well. If you have the answer, please let me know.
I have too often been sucked into this black hole but with love and support from my friends, family and Instagram community, have scraped my way back out. I like to think that I have blocked up the black hole, but I know my demons are still there and may squeeze around the edges of my imaginary plughole and return at any given moment. It is recognising the signs and staying true to yourself.
Wait, hold up. Just do you. Everyone else is doing them. So, just do you as no-one else is doing that.