Let’s be honest: the internet offers plenty of opportunities to feel like shit.
Facebook proves that the cool kids from high school keep getting cooler.
You’re colleague’s email newsletter proclaims that she’s hit yet another income milestone in her business. You’re still trying to make enough to pay the bills.
The artist whose work you admire is being shown at that gallery. Yeah, the one you’re dying to be in.
And that selfless do-gooder you secretly stalk is on another trip to eradicate hunger.
As online business owners, it seems that no matter what we do, we can’t avoid the inevitable feel-like-shit moments that happen when we see what others are doing.
I hate those moments.
So I created an off switch so they almost don’t happen in my life. I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, I want to tell you some of my self-shaming top stories. Scenarios like these guarantee I’m on a quick trip to a feel-like-shit-storm.
The woman who declares that freedom and travel are more important than money, and I read it the day after celebrating having hit a major financial milestone in my business.
The business owner who says “quit your job and follow your passion” like it’s simple to do, when I was struggling to know if quitting my job was the right move for me.
The entrepreneur who dedicates several months a year and thousands of dollars to a nonprofit, when I’ve finally reached the point where I’m working reasonable hours and making enough to live comfortably.
The sexy twenty-something who says preaches that size doesn’t matter; inner beauty does. And I watch her video on the day I decide to finally get a haircut and put on some makeup.
Sometimes I have the luck of being able to look closer at stories like these, and I see interesting things. Such as…
The freedom woman makes multiple six figures a year. It’s easy to say freedom and travel are more important than money when you have plenty of money to make it happen.
It’s easy for the passion entrepreneur to quit her job to do whatever she wants when she has a husband who pays all the bills.
The do-gooder entrepreneur works her ass off to raise that money and take time off, and her trips “fills her up” like nothing else can.
And the sexy twenty-something, okay, she’s just hot 🙂
What I realize is that the internet only gives us part of the story. Blog posts, short videos, Facebook updates or Tweets only show us one side of a scenario.
Sure, the travel woman maybe does value freedom, and she created her business so she could have just enough money to do so.
The passion person really does follow her passions and if money isn’t an issue, lucky her.
The do-gooder entrepreneur didn’t start out doing good. She grew her business to the point where she could afford to take that next step.
But unless I become a private investigator and look into their lives, how am I to know the truth from a blog post or a tweet?
The answer is I can’t. So I don’t go there.
I stop the shaming before it spirals into a storm. Most of the time, anyway.
I don’t read stuff from people whose posts make me feel less-than. I don’t go down the rat hole of questioning whether I’m doing enough to change the world. I don’t question that I’ve chosen the right values for a noble life.
I don’t subscribe to things that bring up my shit. I avoid websites, people, and places that result in self-shaming. And I recommend you do the same.
And when it does happen, I remind myself that I only know a slice of the scenario. There’s more behind the scenes.
If I’m worried about what the freedom woman, passion entrepreneur, or do-gooder thinks, I’m spending time in their business and not in mine. And that’s a waste of time.
So instead of comparing and despairing, instead of self-shaming, I keep my eyes on my life, my business, and my values.
That doesn’t mean I won’t travel or do-good; I do and I will. It just means I’ll do it on my own schedule and on my own terms. I’ll do it without being shamed into it. Because anything done with shame isn’t worth doing, no matter what it is.
If you’re like me and can hop the express train to shame by hanging out online, monitor your consumption, unsubscribe from newsletters that make you feel shit, and hide (or unfriend) people who make you feel less-than.
Because you’re not less-than. And anything that distracts you from the focus on your own life should be eliminated.
Stop shaming, and start focusing. On you. Because you’re amazing, just as you are. Tweet that!
Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’m positive you have something to share that we all can learn from.