Why We Compare Ourselves

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, comparison, by definition is ‘the act of comparing two or more people or things’ or ‘an examination of the differences between persons or things’. Today we’re going to explore deeper into the depths of comparison and the impact it can have on our daily lives.

Comparison is the thief of joy, yet it is just so easy to do.

We commonly compare our education, intelligence, homes, relationship status, fashion sense, employment status, and even what we read and eat. It doesn’t always have to come from a place of malintent, but does it truly do us any good to pit ourselves against one another – either publicly or in secret?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Does comparison achieve anything?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Personally, I find comparing myself to others quite detrimental to my own self-esteem. It can send my self-worth and motivation spiraling, so I do my best to avoid it.

I decided to research why we compare ourselves in the first place and here is what I found. A social psychologist named Leon Festinger explored the act of comparison and said that ‘people evaluate their opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to other people for two reasons: First, to reduce uncertainty in the areas in which they’re comparing themselves. And second, to learn how to define themselves.’ (The Jordan Harbinger Show). This concept is called the social comparison theory.

People can engage in upward or downward comparisons. Upward being with people we think are better than us, and downward being with people we think are worse off. The latter can make us feel better about ourselves, but what a toxic way that is to live. There is also the concept of self-evaluation and self-enhancement.

‘Self-evaluation occurs when someone looks for positive traits in himself based on the best person he compares himself with. Self-enhancement, on the other hand, occurs when someone questions which aspects of himself need to be improved in order to reach the level of goodness of the person he is comparing himself to.’ – (Psychology Notes HQ).

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

How can comparison make us feel?

Comparison could be beneficial in that it may motivate you to develop yourself further or strive for that goal you’ve been putting off. For example with blogging, if I’m looking to improve my engagement and statistics, I may compare what I’m doing to a better-performing blog. This allows me to learn and improve my methods.  On the contrary, I don’t believe comparison as a whole is particularly healthy.  It can cause a judgemental attitude and may lead to destructive behaviours.

Personally, it can make me feel “behind” in my accomplishments, not intelligent enough and perhaps look at areas of my life negatively that I hadn’t worried about before.

I also asked on Instagram how comparing yourselves to others makes you feel, and here were the responses:

  • “Usually I’m not comparing myself in a good way which I’d love to know how to change!”
  • “Sometimes motivated to improve myself. Other times, my self-esteem plummets!”
  • “Usually pretty crap, even though I’m grateful for all I have, I still end up feeling rubbish”
  • “Inadequate”
  • “Inadequate, then again social media is as much a platform for user content as it is for advertising”

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

What can we do instead of comparing ourselves?

  • Be grateful for what we have and have achieved so far
  • If we’re going to compare, be reasonable about it. We don’t live any life other than our own, so how can we expect to be like other people when we have different incomes, responsibilities, opportunities etc that is often out of our control.
  • Instead of thinking the grass is greener on the other side, water the grass we’re currently on
  • Detox aspects of your life that are causing your comparisons
  • Channel your thoughts into motivation and drive

Becoming Minimalist have an excellent article which lists why we shouldn’t compare ourselves, and what we can do instead if you’d like to read more.

Social media can be a big culprit in kickstarting our comparisons. It can be a dark hole of engagements, baby announcements, new homes and new jobs, the list is endless. It is so key to remember that not everything is at it seems online. We see just snippets of people’s actual lives; their highlight reels.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to develop ourselves, but it does not have to be a competition in the meantime, or an internal battle about who is “better” and who is “worse”.

I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments below. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

Emily x

 

What is the ‘5 year plan’ and should you have one?

The notorious ‘five-year plan‘ question may send you into a cold sweat or be the easiest question you could answer. You may have first been asked this question during your final years in education or at a job interview. This is the question that would fill me with instant dread and pressure; are you really meant to know? Are you meant to be aiming for something in particular in 5 years? Do I just fall victim to societal pressures and say “job, house, kids”?

I’d like to disclaim that I am not totally against a 2/5/10 year plan – I am sure it holds importance for many people that actually find it useful and motivating. However, what about those that don’t have a 5-year plan? Do you not hire those that don’t have a suitable enough timeline planned out? What is the significance of 5 years? Theoretically, it is not a long time in the grand scheme of things.

What is there to plan?

  • A change in mentality and perspective
  • Career progression, or even career break
  • Housing situation
  • Relationship status
  • Travel destinations
  • Personal achievements i.e. skydive or learning a language
  • Business adventure
  • Children

The list truly is endless. Personally, I view my life as being one complicated stencil I’ve drawn around on a piece of paper. There will be lines that I will want to perfect and make them as neat as possible, but there will be lines where my hand is shaky and I accidentally go outside of the lines. However, at the end of it, I will be mostly content with what I have created.

Life is renowned for being unpredictable. There are days when it may feel like a huge boulder has crashed down in the middle of your path, making it difficult to work around, but not impossible. Acknowledging that life will always have its curveballs, should help a life plan seem less intimidating. Things go wrong, but there will always be a way to get back on track and dust yourself off again. It is almost guaranteed, that if you were to ask anyone who is 5 years older than you, if they have got to where they are by sailing their way through life – they will most likely say no.

What are some pros and cons to having a 5-year plan?

Pros:

  • Gives you goals to work towards, no matter how big or small
  • Allows you to prioritise your goals in terms of when you want to achieve them
  • Can keep you disciplined and on track
  • Hand in hand with the above; can force you to start something you have been putting off
  • It can be comforting

Cons:

  • You may feel pressured and rushed
  • Your plan may adhere more to stereotypical achievements by default
  • May cause a feeling of disappointment if you don’t hit certain milestones within a certain period
  • It can make room for comparisons with other people’s success
  • You may become too attached to the plan and opposed to change

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

The logistics of a 5-year plan are so personal to each individual. What might be a mountain to one person, is a molehill for another. It can be exciting to share your plans with others – I don’t believe the intention of a plan is negative. If you are surrounded by decent people, you should hopefully never feel belittled by what you have set yourself, you should have nothing but support and encouragement.

Personally, I choose to live life day-by-day. I will happily write a to-do list in the morning and can stick to it pretty well. Stretch it further than a weekly plan, and I will probably struggle to stay on track. My interests and motivation levels fluctuate too regularly for a long-term plan to sit comfortably in my head. Knowing what I want out of life is important, but the route to get there can be as sporadic and spontaneous as possible.

So in terms of being asked “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” in a job interview, the intention behind the question is probably to cover their own backs. Is this person looking to be in a completely different position in a few years to what they’ve applied for? Can we afford to train someone who sounds like they are going to leave soon? I understand why the question is asked, but it can be a tough cookie to crack if you are not a natural planner.

To conclude

A 5-year plan is exactly what you make of it. It can be as intense or as mild as you like. There is no obligation to know the answer to this question, but I do feel like it crops up quite often. It offers food for thought in many different ways. Planning what I think is my ideal plan, can allow me to spot pitfalls and genuinely think carefully about the routes I wish to take.

Avid organisers may thrive by setting their goals long into the future, and to that, I say hats off. There is not a right or wrong answer. It is admirable to see how we all cope and work our way through this journey. If you are keen to know how to create your own 5-year plan, there are many resources available to help.

“If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal”

What are your thoughts on the concept of a 5-year plan?

Until next time,

Emily x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After Bedroom Transformation & Homeware Items

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a good bedroom transformation. In any shop, I gravitate towards the homeware section. I could probably spend more time than I’d like to admit planning rooms in my head. Therefore, the idea of completely overhauling my childhood bedroom was such an exciting task (but a big one too!).

My boyfriend and I spent 2019 living together in a shared house in a different city, but moved back into my family home just before Christmas 2019. Prior to moving, we knew we wanted a room that perfectly encapsulated us. We love anything cosy, relaxing and warm. Plus moving back home meant a fresh start was ahead, so a fresh room was needed.

So onto the makeover…

The transformation was gradual and took around 6 months to “complete”. Personally, I think it’s so important to have a theme for the room you are decorating. It makes shopping for decor much easier. Our vision was grey and white with accents of colour. Recently, I celebrated my 21st birthday and so a few items were gifts, but most are things we have collected over the years.

Bedroom before 1

Bedroom After 2

Bedroom before 2

Bedroom after 2

Whilst we were living away, a new fluffy dark grey carpet was fitted which was a great base to start from. To accompany this, we chose to paint our walls in the shade China Clay from Johnstones on one weekend whilst we were visiting. Our shimmer rug is from Studio and it’s surprising how much a rug can make a statement and pull a room together.

Bed

We purchased a gas-lift bed which is perfect for under-bed storage. It’s the Selena Ottoman bed in another shade of grey which is smart and modern; perfect for any colour scheme!

This bed did come with a mattress, which lasted us fine for a few months, but you could feel the wooden slats of the bed when you sat down. Having a comfortable night’s sleep is so important, so we purchased an orthopaedic sprung mattress and we’ve slept much better since. Decent pillows also make the world of difference, but as we prefer firm to soft, we chose extra firm memory foam from the Fogarty range at Dunelm Mill. Bedding is a good investment to make, think of how much time you spend in bed over your lifetime.

Walls

Our floating shelves are grey and pink and were picked up from shops such as B&M, The Range and Ikea. One shelf holds all of my boyfriend’s Pop! Vinyls which makes for a clean but cool display. B&M are also great for affordable photo frames that come in some lovely colours and designs. I purchased a pomegranate print from fellow blogger Zoe Ware’s store – it’s great to support smaller businesses too! A large station-style clock can be found at Wilkos.

Frames; including soundwave print for our “relationship song”

Station-style clock

We have a couple of canvases dotted around, from companies like Photobox and MyPicture (super cheap but still great quality!). Photos are a must for me in a room, I love having memories to look back on each day.

Boyfriend’s photography on a canvas

Furniture

My sister recently moved up North, and so my boyfriend’s gaming setup moved into her old room so that I could have a desk back. I have loved having it so much for getting ready, working and blogging. This desk has great storage and is the perfect size for the space we’re working with. My productivity levels have definitely gone up.

We have a tall, slim Argos DVD case next to the wardrobe which is actually used as a bookshelf as you can adjust the size of the shelves with pegs.

We forked out for a double dark grey sliding wardrobe from a local store, which has large mirrors on the front which reflects light that we didn’t have before.

My favourite purchase has been this bookcase from ManoMano. Finding furniture that wouldn’t encroach on our floor space was so hard, but this one is a complete gem. I love the wooden legs too – it’s the little touches! Most people wouldn’t have a hamster sat on top, but Dusty needs a home too.

Desk

Bookcase decor

Homeware Items

I’m going to list some bits and bobs around our room and do my best to link the exact item, or at least something similar!

  • Oil diffuser
  • Essential oils pack of 4 from TKMaxx
  • Initial candle from Fox & Ivy range at Tesco
  • Marble slate coasters from ASDA Living
  • ‘E’ Coaster B&M
  • Geometric hot pink tealight holder from Flying Tiger (tealights from Primark) here is one similar
  • White ornament from Flying Tiger
  • White wire storage basket from Primark
  • Hanging terrarium

Homeware items

 

Earring display and eyelash trinket pot

Giraffe doorstop

So there we have the bedroom transformation with a homeware haul thrown in for good measure! I’m really pleased with our bedroom now, it’s the perfect place for working from home as well as winding down in the evening. A room should be enjoyable to be in. Redecorating doesn’t have to break the bank either, more affordable homeware is much more readily available now than I ever remember.

Furniture was probably the most expensive part, but it’s not something we would purchase regularly, so I have no qualms with investing in certain items. Many highstreet shops including New Look and H&M have homeware sections that can be super budget friendly. I LOVE a bargain. Remember some great finds can be found in charity shops too, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the transformation. Question: What home style do you like the most? How would your dream home look?

Until next time, stay safe

Emily x

 

Why and How You Should Check Your Boobs

*Statistics provided in this post are in conjuction with information shared at the time of posting. For updated figures, please do research those if you would like*

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of not checking my boobs enough, or at all. I’ve always been told it’s important, but I have been lazy about it which I am not proud of. It takes a couple of minutes each month, so really there are no excuses. I’ve taken the time to educate myself and decided to compile a post about it for my fellow breast bearers.

Feeling your breasts is a key way of detecting breast cancer, so if taking some time in the shower to check around for anything anomalous – it could literally save your life. CoppaFeel! are the UK’s first breast cancer awareness charity with a sole aim of educating and installing the correct knowledge from as early an age as possible, to ensure that we are confident to check our breasts regularly.

So what do the statistics show?

It’s not just women that can suffer from breast cancer, it can also affect men. Statistics shared by Breast Cancer Now state “Around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK” and 4% of those cases in women are from those aged under 39. As a woman in my early 20s, that is a scary statistic to swallow. Breast Cancer Now also added “Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection through screening and a focus on targets, including faster diagnosis.”

So in reference to early detection, it is vital to CHECK YOUR BOOBS. It’s important to note that breast tissue also reaches under your armpits and up to your collarbones so do check the whole area.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

What if I’m forgetful?

Fear not, one quick and easy way to start checking your boobs today is to sign up to reminders. I’ve opted for the monthly text option, but will also make a conscious effort to do more in between.

So how exactly do we check our boobs?

If you’re more of a visual learner, CoppaFeel! have a short but sweet educational video that explains it all. It’s all about looking and feeling so there’s no definitive way of how to check, but here are some pointers:

  • Look to see if there is a change in size or shape
  • Look to see if any parts of your skin are puckering or dimpling
  • Feel for any lumps and bumps
  • Look for nipple discharge, redness or abnormal crustiness
  • Look for rashes
  • Notice any new pain or discomfort in one or both breasts (you can get boob pain on your period, but you will know if the pain is prolonging after your period or is unusually intense)

You can examine your boobs both standing up and lying down, so perfect for in the shower or before going to sleep at night. Ideally use three fingers to work in circular motions (also up and down) across your breasts, collarbones and armpits. Do what makes you comfortable, just as long as you are thoroughly checking all areas.

What do I do if I feel like something isn’t right?

ALWAYS book an appointment to see your GP or gynaecologist as soon as possible. They will be more than happy to check for you, it’s their job after all! It is better to be safe than sorry.

Examining your own breasts regularly is an effective method of early breast cancer detection

T-shirt from Pink Clouding. Purchases from the Tits collection mean a donation is made on your behalf to CoppaFeel

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month each year, but awareness is, of course, raised all year round and I wanted to use the small platform I have to share what I’ve learnt and instil confidence in those that were unsure how to check their breasts. You are never too young to start checking and there is technically no right or wrong way. You spend the most time with your own body, so are more likely to know when something isn’t quite right.

You can monitor any noticeable differences for 5 days, but if they don’t change, please do seek guidance from your GP.

I hope this has helped provide a guide on how best to check the breast. Do you regularly check?

Until next time,

Emily x

Why don’t I have a “girl squad?”

Disclaimer: This post is in reference to friendships I’ve had in real life as opposed to online friendships. I have some lovely friends in the blogging community, but it’s time to switch off and talk about offline life.

I’d like to begin by saying I have no idea where I want this post to take me. It’s been a topic on my mind for the longest time now and I’ve debated talking about it due to not even understanding my own thoughts and emotions. This topic has made me laugh and made me cry, and it really hits home sometimes. I want to talk about what (the f***) happened to my “girl squad” and why I feel somewhat to blame.

I’m writing this post to really attempt to get things off of my chest. Most importantly, it’s to let you know that you are not alone if you too feel like this. I’m not a sympathy seeker, just a storyteller with some experience behind me. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Friends sitting under a tree talking

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

Growing up, I always remember having a solid group of friends. I was never part of the “popular” group because I don’t think this really existed in my school. There was a true mix of friendships. However, I did have friends from the same sort of group for years and years. Despite growing up and changing from the ages of 11 to 18, we were always at least acquaintances with each other. I still talk to a few nowadays about what we’re “getting up to these days?” and “remember this funny moment?” *insert photo/video that brings back shocking waves of nostalgia and a yearn for simpler times*

School life was saturated with smiles, belly laughs and pinky promises. Eventually, that turned into drunken nights out, late-night walks and work shifts together after we’d put the pen down on our final exams. Looking back, the friendships I formed aged 14 and then aged 18, were the most significant for me. However, these friendships post-education were so different. So I guess my speel is more aimed towards that life change.

Genuinely, I did not think finishing school would affect my friendships that much, but boy was I wrong. Within 6 months of leaving school, I’d whittled my group down from maybe around 10 people I socialised with, to 1. It was heartbreaking to sit and think that it wouldn’t be the same if I were to message or call them. Our walks would now be awkward with little to talk about. Yet, it all felt confusing and almost accidental?

We didn’t fall out or have an argument, so what went wrong?

Did I say something to upset them and not realise?

Did 1 or both of us simply stop making the effort?

Why does rekindling the friendship not feel like the right thing to do?

These are questions that invade my thoughts on the regular. The reason for this being I feel so bloody lonely sometimes! I’m sure I’m more of an introvert and definitely enjoy my own space, but I have a non-existent social life and it’s so saddening at times. Without an online community to turn to, I don’t know what I would do.

I understand I’m sounding like a Negative Nelly here, but I just wish I had that friend who I could visit after work, go shopping with at the weekend and ask to be my Maid of Honour one day. (Honestly, I will have no bridal party at this rate). Making friendships once you leave the routine of education is really hard and something I wish I had been more prepared for. I have 3 friends from my old job that I still speak to and plan to meet up with soon, we just sadly all live quite far from each other and so meeting up together is difficult.

Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash

Is there something wrong with me?

I do feel eternally grateful for what I do have; my mum who is my best friend, my boyfriend that is my soul mate, online friends I know that are there for me and a handful of people that still check-in. I’m alone, but I’m not alone if that makes any sense? I hope I’m not coming across badly, but I think this feeling is quite common. Instagram is riddled with girl squads and physical friendships and it’s understandably difficult to not feel left out.

Comfort is gained in knowing that my old best friends and I didn’t argue to the end, we literally just stopped speaking. It was nature taking its course because what is meant to be will be. We took different paths and our pace at life didn’t match anymore.

What I’m trying to say is I don’t have those 1 or 2 people I can visit around the corner who are more like family than friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather have 1 or 2 genuine friends than a large group that is disingenuous. Unfortunately, I do doubt and critique myself and wonder what I’m doing wrong. Where are my girl’s trips to Ibiza? Why don’t I have tapas nights? Why do I feel like the stray sock that gets lost in the wash?

Despite this, I’m determined to come to terms with the fact that not having a girl squad is perfectly okay. Societal pressures do not help, but I’m not going to let this eat away at me like the last slice of pizza. I can’t shame myself for not being a massive people person or eager to join clubs and groups. I hope in years to come, I meet more likeminded people that I can look at and say; “you’re a bit of me”.

“Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave and impossible to forget” – G.Randolf

Thank you if you read my rambling to the end, I really appreciate it. Having an online community is something that will forever amaze me. So thank you to those that have made my days feel less lonely with kind words or just a simple “have a good day!”. If you relate to any of this post, I’d love to open up a discussion in the comments. My blog is a safe space where we can all be friends.

Until next time,

Emily x

 

 

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Long Term Relationship Alive

Looking for ways to reignite the fireworks of a long-term relationship does not necessarily mean you are looking for relationship guidance or are at breaking point with your partner. When you spend a prolonged period of time with someone in particular, it’s easy to fall victim to routine and feel confused on how to spice things up again. Life has its ways of wedging itself into relationships like the third wheel nobody asked for. One day you might find yourself asking “what changed along the way?” or “why aren’t things the same as they were at the start?“.

These are completely normal and rational feelings to have. People grow every day, but growing alongside somebody else means putting in double the hard work. Romantic relationships are one of life’s most beautiful happenings when you are with the right person.

Think of relationships like a new car; they’re super exciting and shiny on the day you pick it up, but over the years you may notice the odd thing isn’t working like it should, so you take it to the garage to get fixed. This fixture may have been faulty and didn’t fix your car like you thought it would, or maybe it set you driving off into the sunset like the good old days. As long as you are willing to put the time and effort in to make it work, you will often be rewarded with the results.

So if you’ve been with your partner for what you would consider a long time, but things are feeling a bit flat, here are 5 ways to keep your relationship alive.

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Trying $1 makeup from Miss A – Review

I’d seen a tweet with some screenshots from Miss A’s website and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first. Now I love makeup and I LOVE cheap stuff, so I was hook, lined and sinker from the start. 

They sell makeup, brushes, lashes, self care items, jewellery and accessories. I had a bit of a field day adding bits and bobs to my basket as I just couldn’t believe the price. Low prices don’t always guarantee quality however, but stay tuned for my opinion on the products I tried….

My order from USA to UK took just over a month, but I think it’s important to note that there were no missing products and no damage to what I received. It was packaged really well in bubble wrap and a few other layers of packaging. I had been worried about items arriving damaged so this was a bonus.

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Ways To Relax During Lockdown

Lockdown; A security measure taken during an emergency to prevent people from leaving or entering a building, thanks dictionary.com. It doesn’t sound pleasant by definition and most certainly is not pleasant in reality. Self-care (and the importance of it) has become more prominent over the last few years, and it’s needed now more than ever. Whether working from home or not, it’s important to find the best ways to relax that suit us best.

We’ve spent a lot of time not being able to escape our four walls. It’s understandably going to take a toll on our mental health. It’s not like booking a week off of work where you’re able to visit family and friends and actually do things and go places. This is not an easy time, so I think it’s important we’re still taking time out to just allow ourselves to truly relax. If you’re stuck on ways to wind down after a long day of doing lots or doing nothing, then I hope this post offers some helpful ideas! Thank you to a lovely bunch of bloggers that also contributed to this post, sharing the ways they enjoy relaxing during lockdown.

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6 Essential Beauty Items

{Includes gifted products}

I don’t know about you, but I love to have a collection of essential beauty items that act as staple pieces in any bag. Over the years I’ve built up my small army of essentials that I’d happily recommend anyone to have. From keeping up appearances to aiding every day life, these are the essential beauty items you didn’t know you needed.

What is also super lovely and exciting, is that Rubis have kindly gifted me their cuticle scissors and twist nail clippers to share with you all. So without further ado, let’s begin.

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5 Things That Have Been Harder Than I Anticipated

Life has a classic way of throwing its curveballs into the mix, which we can choose to run with or kick in the opposite direction. We all cope at our own paces with our own ways and methods. I thought it would be interesting to sit and reflect on 5 things that have been harder than I thought they would be.

It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate our successes and achievements, but I am guilty of seeing the glass half empty rather than half full sometimes. Most things don’t happen the way you had planned them to and it can leave us feeling quite disappointed. I’m writing this post to share what I’ve personally found quite difficult, some may seem quite trivial and be a breeze for some – but if you can relate to any of these like me, then I hope you feel less alone!

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