In today's society, it's so easy to get caught on with constantly comparing yourself to others on social media. Don't get be wrong, social media can be beneficial and can be used as a tool to motivate others, but sometimes it can have the opposite effect. I'll be the first to admit that I scroll through my Instagram feed unhealthily, feeling my stomach drop at all the desirable pictures of people on beaches or in rainforests. Why can't I be doing that? I groan to myself, beating myself up about why I'm not out there and experiencing the exact same thing at that moment in time. I end up beating myself up and repeatedly asking myself where I'm going wrong.
I then start to panic, terrified that my life is passing by me at a rapid rate and I'm getting left behind. I then start to picture myself, old and with limited travel experience. A scene starts to play itself in my head of me, old and withering, worrying about all those Instagram pictures I never got to take in my youth. OK - I may have exaggerated the last bit a little bit but the point still stands - social media can be toxic.
One of the main problems is that we just can't get away from it. Scrolling through my Instagram feed is addictive and if I haven't looked at it for a while, I start worrying about missing exciting pictures and then worrying about posting my own pictures to Instagram. Oh, it's such a frustrating cycle!
But, the good news is, it doesn't have to be this way and I've found a way of calming myself down and making my mind feel at ease. It sounds so simple but I find peace and contentment in reflecting back on the positive aspects of my life, such as how far I have come.
One of the most beneficial things that I have done was to set up this blog. It was the perfect opportunity for me to write about past holidays, dating back to 5 years ago (2012). This gave me a chance to look through and select my photos, instantly planting a smile on my face. I was able to look through those exciting memories. It goes a step further than that though; in order to write the bets account possible of my trips, I have to almost take myself back to the time and relive the event.
Playing catch-up made me write about numerous holidays in the space of only a few months, making me realise just how many adventures I'd been on. Wow, I thought as I sat back and scrolled through 'The Journey So Far' page of my blog. I've actually done quite a few cool things like swimming in a waterfall in Grenada and babysitting an orphaned baboon for the night in Namibia. Just like that I felt my spirits lift and a spark of motivation light in my heart.
Reflecting on what you've done doesn't need to be as in-depth as writing blog posts. If you already have a blog filled with your trips, it would be great to have a little re-read of them and smile at your memories again. Perhaps you also have posts from darker times in your life which you can look at and think, look how far I've come!
As a result of reflecting on my life, I immediately feel more motivated to work harder. Harder work equals more opportunities and another step on my journey to where I want to be. Changing your mindset from negative to positive is arguably one of the most powerful tools you can have. The power of positive thinking really can achieve great things.
As well as reflecting on your achievements, it's also important to remember that everyone's journey is different. Some of my friends went on gap years whilst others are having a year to travel after completing University. Sometimes I'm tempted to give in to sadness at the fact that I didn't do either. But then I force myself to remember that it doesn't matter - I have a different plan and I will get to where I want to be. It just takes a lot of hard work and determination. Yes, I'm doing things in a different order to everyone else. I bought a house first and do lots of travelling later. It doesn't matter! Don't let anyone tell you that you have to stick to the norm and you can't do things your own way, in a way that works for you and your current circumstances.
The final point that I'd like to make is that you can never really trust what you see on social media, not entirely anyway. Social media often only portrays only the positive aspects of someone's life. You are left looking at their 'best bits' and don't see the hard work and bad days that they will be experiencing as well. As a result, it's foolish to get caught up in feeling sad and feeling a large case of 'FOMO' as you are lusting after a lifestyle that doesn't exist. Of course, it's okay to strive for the lifestyle you want but it's not okay to let the constant noise of other's drown out your own motivation.
So, my message for today is to stay strong, stay positive and take what you see online with a pinch of salt. Don't compare yourself to others as they are not you. We all have our own journeys to follow so trust that yours will take you to exactly where you want to be.