We live in a world where social media rules communication, sharing experiences and providing a new age of community. Social media has a lot to offer; an awesome platform to express your thoughts and connect with like-minded people that you may not have met otherwise. These platforms have helped me navigate through pregnancy and the different stages of motherhood from getting advice to receiving unbelievable support on my good days and my not so good days. But with every good, there is a nasty right? You would hope not, especially when it came to motherhood and I totally thought this would not apply to this topic, because in all honesty, how many of us actually know what we're doing to a tee? My life in general, and especially as a mom, is far from perfect. It amazes me to see how a platform that can be so inspiring and positive can also bring out such negativity, judgement and competitiveness. Sometimes I read comments mom's receive and just want to shout out, "WHERE IS THE LOVE PEOPLE?"
I thought maybe I was the only one, but it's even more astounding to me that after a few conversations in the last few weeks, how many others have dealt with the same. As women and especially mothers we should not be treating each other like this. We need to lift each other up, support one another and most of all cheer each other on in our ventures.
I spent some time recently speaking with some ladies who have been in my life for awhile and some that I wouldn't have otherwise met if it wasn't for the supporting community of social media. I spoke to each individually on their experiences and thoughts around this topic.
"Humans are social beings and competition is part of our nature. The way that you perceive competition can uplift, inspire and motivate you or it can take you to a negative place. Once it goes negative, then the animosity, resentment and jealousy begins to take place amongst the things we love, where it does not belong. For me, I love creating art, it is my happy place. And this also means that I strive to celebrate and acknowledge the wonderful work of my peers rather than feel any negativity towards it. Even on days that I don't have time to create art or grow my business on social media, I still take the time to connect with those that do. Because I love all art, not just mine. Depending on how you see the competition, that will impact how you collaborate with those doing similar things as you. Choose to connect and be stronger together."
- Angela, mom of one and founder and designer of @thelittlejasmineshop.
"In relation to social media I think a lot of this negativity comes from their own insecurities or dare I say it jealousy. What is suppose to be a community is being turned into competition. Don’t spend your time comparing yourself to others. Try to avoid thoughts like ” How did that photo get so many likes?” or “I’ll be as good as so and so if I collaborate with that company too.”
Instead allow yourself to be creative and different while staying true to yourself. If you consume yourself with what everyone around you is doing you will be the only one left behind while everyone else reaches new successes. Always remember, it doesn’t matter what other people think and hard work always pays off."
"A little competition is healthy, but when you find yourself in a position where your self worth, your value, your happiness is dependent on how much or how little the person beside you has or doesn't have, you've entered a dangerous zone. Competition at that level is futile, as circumstances can never be exact. We believe that there are more positive relationships to be created, that cultivate an inner desire to succeed."
-Natasha Jeshani , a mom of two and founder of @tafaconsulting.
"When you pair up with like minded individuals with similar goals, not only is your audience going to be larger and more diverse, but you're going to build relationships that can turn into treasured friendships.Building an influential platform on social media is HARD WORK these days... it's not 2012 anymore and when you collaborate and tap into other creative minds, it makes it easier and a lot more fun.
Competition and comparison are thieves of joy. I have made most of my friends since moving to a new town through social media. Just genuinely interacting with people in my virtual circle on a daily basis has turned into coffee shop chats, happy hour gal pals, and yeah- paid jobs! The end goal of my blog is, of course, to leverage into successful career opportunities, and there is just no way that would be possible without the support of others!"
- Janice Buckingham, mom of one and culinary guru of @dailyclove.
As for me, I look at social media as a tool to bring us together, not bring us down and I completely intend to let the positives of it outshine the negative. I can't tell you how many times I've reached out to other Mama Bloggers to bounce an idea off them, or message one of them to salute them on a topic or experience they just shared. I choose to focus on the good of this community and foster the relationships of those who support and have my back, no matter what. Here are some tips I rely on when handling negativity and competition via social media.
1. Understand that criticizing others makes some people feel good. I don't understand it, but it's true. It has nothing to do with you!
2. Often the judgement and negativity is a cover for someone's own insecurities.
3. Don't compare your life to others. That's the root of competition in my eyes. Not everything is as it seems in these little squares, so stay true to yourself and be real. The moment you start to let "competitiveness" get to you, the unhealthier your mind becomes.
4. Talk it out! It's always helpful to have an objective ear to hear you out and let you know whether you're overthinking things or to affirm your concerns. Leaving things bottled up inside is only going to make it fester and leave you feeling in the dumps.
5. Stick with your tribe! The one's that support you, listen to you and cheer you on! These babes end up becoming your biggest motivators and drive you to the kind of successes you want to achieve. They push you to your fullest potential and have a desire to see you succeed just like you have a desire to see them be successful.
I hope anyone reading this and experiencing similar situations knows you are not alone! I would remind you to focus on the good, the brightness you want to be in this world, the model you want to be for your children and the kind AF babe you wanna be for your community. Cheers to all the women doin' their thang!