One of my biggest, most glaring, most annoying flaws is how very prone I am to comparison. I’m not proud at this at all, but I’m extremely guilty of looking at what other people own or have achieved and finding myself seriously lacking. I’m always not smart enough, not pretty enough, not ‘put together’ enough, not productive enough, not creative enough… et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Sometimes it’s also not just about who I am but also what I haven’t done. People traveling to places I haven’t been? Envy. People eating meals I haven’t eaten? Envy. People doing fun things I haven’t done? Envy — and yep, even when I actually wouldn’t have wanted to do those things in the first place.
This, of course, translates to my blog: my posts aren’t interesting enough, my graphics aren’t as pretty, my stats aren’t as high or don’t increase as fast. Sometimes I manage to cast these negative, unproductive thoughts away and think: of course they’re better, I’m still learning; also what I’m feeling right now is TOTALLY normal. Other times, however, I just want to wallow — at least until I successfully pull myself out of that self-defeating headspace. Here’s what I found works for me so far. 🙂
1) Limit your exposure.
I think this is the sure-fire way to avoiding blogger envy — or really any kind of envy in general: simply avoid looking at things that makes you feel envious. Simple, hey?
I used to think that it makes me weak that I have to put myself on a social media diet. I used to think: God, Reg, can’t you just be happy for someone else? Do you really need to avoid it? But then I think: why does this make me weak? Why shouldn’t I stop doing things that make me feel bad? Am I a smarter, better person when I force myself to look at all these things making me envious? Am I learning something from it?
Well, I don’t know about you, but personally speaking, no. No, it doesn’t make me weak, and I should stop doing things that make me unhappy. No, I am not a better person when I force myself, and no, I really don’t think I’m learning anything from it. There is absolutely no shame in choosing to do what’s good for you.
2) Recognise your own achievements.
A wise man (OK, Theodore Roosevelt) once said that comparison is the thief of all joy. I agree — but only to an extent. In my experience, comparing yourself to other people is always a lose-lose game, but comparing your present self to your old self can be quite reassuring.
An easy way to do this is to look at how far you have come. Browse back to your first five posts and compare it to your most recent ones. Look at the numbers, if you need to. If you’ve consistently worked on your blog, I’m sure you’ll see an upwards trend overall. Make a list of the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned from them. Here are some quick examples from my own blog:
- My review banners initially looked like this one, this one, and this other one. My more recent ones look like this: one, two, three. An improvement, don’t you think?
- My original book looks images don’t actually include the book cover on them… kind of defeating the purpose altogether, hey? But voila, look at what they look like now!
- I didn’t use to bold sentences until I realised doing so would improve readability, so some of my older reviews (one, two, three) are kind of boring-looking and lend themselves extremely, extremely skimmable.
You don’t need to share this list, but I would actually encourage you to. I strongly believe that it’s good to take note of your own achievements, to share that knowledge with other people and to open that forum for a wider discussion. 🙂
3) Accept that there are people ‘better’ than you.
Duuuude, what kind of advice is this? What do you even mean?!
I know, lovely. I know. But sometimes the best way to combat negativity is to just, well, to stop thinking about it. You can’t really control your feelings, but you can control your thoughts (to an extent) and actions, and you can do this by telling yourself, very simply: OK, I am not going to think about these things.
The very simple truth is that there are always people ‘better’ than you. In the blogging world, this means that there will always be bloggers who are more talented, who work harder, who have more time, who have more connections, who get more ARCs, followers, views, et cetera. The even simpler truth to that, however, is that it’s your choice how you deal with that knowledge, which brings me to my next and last point…
4) Learn from what you admire.
I can’t speak for everyone but my envy is usually grounded in admiration, just packaged in a very negative, unhealthy way. I admire people who work harder than me, who seem to have their life together, who seem to have done so much more with less resources than I have. I admire the skills that they have acquired and see them as some sort of a goal.
So this is what I try to do: I go out. I take a walk. I bake a really delicious cake. And then, when I’m feeling better, I look at these people I envy, these people I actually admire, and take them as inspiration. I look to them for motivation, and I try to do meaningful, productive things that help me get closer to my goals. Mind you, success doesn’t come immediately, but trying is certainly half the battle… and that to me is more than good enough. ❤
Do you experience blogger envy? What have you found to be effective when dealing with it? 🙂