Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Teddy Roosevelt

I was visiting a friend’s Instagram gallery this weekend and happened to notice the photo was black and white. It was a stark contrast as most of her images are brimming with color. Then, I took a peek at the caption and this is what it said, “Not everything is black and white…I put on a happy face for the camera but that’s not how I feel.” The post was by my friend and Fierce sister, Loretta Sayers of Introspective Adventurer. Loretta inspired the Forever Fierce Movement within a Movement, Shields Down. She has developed a reputation for courage in vulnerability. 

Her post was the inspiration for today’s Moxie. As today is Monday, it’s the beginning of a full week ahead, and if you’re anything like myself or Loretta, you’re most likely spending much of that week on social media. Some days, I wish social media came with a warning sign:

“Danger Will Robinson! – You’re about to see someone’s ‘HIGHLIGHT REELS’ … use caution and Fierce discernment while scrolling and DO NOT try and judge or compare yourself to what you’re about to see!” 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the world we live in today. It’s a vastly different world than the world in which those of us at Midlife & Beyond were raised in. It was hard enough to grow up without being immersed in social media and an endless parade of highlight reels. Now, it feels downright impossible to avoid the continual comparison game. I’ll be honest, I’ve always struggled with comparison and the “not enough” voices. I’ve done a hell of inner work to silence the inner critics but sometimes it feels like whack-a-mole at the county fair. 

I’ll admit, I was naive to the dangers of social media when I began an innocent foray down the yellow brick road of Instagram. Heck, I had no clue that anyone except professional magazines edited their photos. Now, everyone’s gallery looks like a well curated glossy magazine, including yours truly! I absolutely love the process and creativity of creating editorial content … but let’s not kid anyone … I don’t look like that in “real life!”

Loretta’s post was refreshing and filled with brave candor. It was a welcome departure from gallery upon gallery of highlight reels. The truth is there is “Real Life” and now, there is “Reel Life.” The two are not one and the same. 

I recently shared my latest obsession with the world of Netflix and my favorite way to unwind after a long day of work. I’m in the midst of watching the last season of Last Chance U. I was talking to my business manager about how much I hated the head coach. I felt he was a loud mouthed prick. Michael pointed out that it all comes down to editing and the version of the story Netflix intends to show. The magic of any movie is the result of brilliant editing. Much of the story and much of “real life” or those cuts they don’t want you to see are are left on the cutting room floor. In the coach’s case, perhaps we were seeing the exaggerated version. Although, in Season 2 he vows to change his ways because he didn’t like himself after watching the first season (Spoiler Alert: FAIL!) … so maybe he is a loudmouth prick!

A director carefully crafts a story to tell. It’s the editor’s role to make sure the parts of the movie that are seen are in line with the story-line. The rest will never make it onto the big screen. It’s a well curated process with a conscious intention to slant the story-line a certain way. 

In today’s world of social media, many of us are now directing our very own highlight reel and editing out those parts of our life to tell a story about our life. But, we must remember that it’s simply “A” story and not “The” story

The messy parts are either well curated or on the cutting room floor. What’s left behind is only a one dimensional perspective of our real life. 

As Teddy Roosevelt so wisely shared in wisdom that is timeless today, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Much of what we are comparing ourselves to, day in and day out, isn’t real!

Skipping along the yellow brick road of Instagram, you’re bound to meet a lot of Tin Men and Scarecrows. You might as well be aware that there are also a lot of Wizards. Don’t be too sure you want to meet them! You know what happened when Dorothy peeked behind that curtain? Yup, you got it. That wizard isn’t real. The emerald city was a highlight reel, a gorgeous, glorious, sparkling kingdom that looked pretty darn perfect on the outside. That didn’t stop Dorothy from wanting to click her heels and return to her “real life.”

Cheers Beauties…wishing you a week filled with Moxie, a mind filled with healthy discernment and a heart filled with self love while scrolling through those highlight reels. Real life may not be as pretty but it’s real and it’s full of the friction and mess we need to build that Moxie-ful life brimming with character. We are who we are. And there’s no place like home.

Need More Moxie?! See all my Moxie On Monday’s!



[wc_center max_width=”300px” class=”” text_align=”center”]




Thank you for the Moxie. A deeply important topic, that I think if we are all honest, will acknowledge our own vulnerability to the “reel”. Kudos for keeping it REAL, Catherine!


Thank you sister! I think it’s time for real. I sense people are craving a return to authenticity.


Thank you for shining a light on the simple truth that we should not get caught up in the comparison game, and that we should remain first and foremost true to ourselves, that is a pretty special place whether it is a good day or a bad day. I so appreciate that you encourage people to be who they are and want to be, based on searching our own hearts, our own dreams. And thank you for being you! I’m so very glad I know you!


Thank you my friend. I only know how to be me and it was a huge struggle for me. I always felt less than and those old voices can easily stir until I calm them down with a healthy dose of reality.


After reading your first paragraph I went immediately to Loretta’s post. I love the way she’s able to articulate her thoughts and feelings and that’s exactly why she has such a devoted following. You and Loretta give me courage to step out more authentically in my own posts. I find it curious that I can be more comfortable sharing my struggles on social media than I am in my real life. That said, comparison is a frequent source of anxiety resulting in not being able to push forward with my dreams. Thanks as always for bringing attention to and discussion around this crucial-to-wellbeing topic. xo


What a beautiful comment and I’m so grateful to hear that you went over to Loretta’s blog. It’s so important for us to be real, beginning with ourselves. And, don’t beat yourself up as this process is different for everyone. You’re doing a beautiful job on social media of opening up your inner world. You are a bright light sister. The comparison game was a struggle for me. I grew up in a wealthy community but I wasn’t wealthy, not at all. I had to work for everything. I felt poor on the inside and that stayed with me. Those old voices can easily stir up. It’s up to me to do the work to calm them down and realize it’s always up to me how I choose to see things.


This blog is so true. I love to travel and sometimes find myself envious/getting FOMO when looking at pics of people’s exotic vacations in places I haven’t yet visited. although meditation is helping me compare less and less. Yet, I do the same thing and post pics of my vacations, partially because I think it makes me appear a more “interesting” person. It’s a good reminder that while I may be inspiring some people, perhaps there are others who can’t afford to travel and I’m making them feel worse. I think the keys are self awareness and balance.


What a wonderful thought sister. That’s a brilliant insight. I also have travel wanderlust as my budget doesn’t allow for exotic vacations. I do a lot of travel for work and for that I’m grateful. I understand the wanting to appear more interesting. Social media definitely makes it seem like everyone is living a wonderful life. If we think about how much pain and depression there is in the world, it would definitely contradict the appearances we see so readily on social media. I do believe life is a struggle. Not all of it. But the struggle is necessary. It also helps us to appreciate the beautiful times.


Thank you dear friend. I do think social media is set up to compare . I didn’t feel like posting that photo or caption but I’ve built a following on being authentic. I think social media is set up to be entertaining but it is also the perfect opportunity to educate. You do a great job of both.


Thank you sister. I do think it’s a balance and it’s up to us to be mindful of our inner world. Social media is healthy and wonderful in many ways. It’s when we aren’t at our best that it’s far more challenging. I’m grateful to you for the inspiration and sending you so much love!



After looking at my IG posts via my Fohr account [they are giant looking], I thought to myself, “Gosh, those look messy.” So instead of slicking things up, I edited my tagline with the addition “Life is messy, so am I”. Fashion/Style blogging, and the constant taking pictures of myself have actually helped me gain confidence both in front of a camera and with how I present myself to the world. I still stumble with video, though. Deer in headlights time!
I’m looking forward to having some professional portraits done at FierceCon!
Here’s a recent photo that I blogged, snaggle teeth and all:


Thank you for sharing that Anne. I love that you are in a wonderful place of self acceptance! I have yet to put my messy closets on social media. There is plenty of mess hidden away. I do feel it’s very important for us to help each other navigate the dangers particularly if we aren’t in a solid place of self confidence internally.


Love your thoughts, Catherine. I have written a story last year about IG being my Guru, which talks about the creation of my IG avatar. I started with playing around, testing, discovering, being the same or being different and in the process began to consciously give life to my alter ego, my essence, the woman I want to step into on all levels. She is my guru as she is making me think about who and what I show, what it truly means to me and why it could help others. One of my slogans is We Are Art. We give a voice to all our personas not just the person we have become; we embody our dreams and visions as much as our now. We make IG a tool to dig deeper. I’m going to add more art to my posts and know that they will probably be less liked in the beginning. But truth is the challenge for my heroine, it has shown up in make up free photos and admission of weaknesses but usually my visuals are edited to match my story or my vision of self. That’s what art is; an embodiment of our thoughts, dreams and how we see ourselves. I compare myself with the gorgeousness of fashion models and feel I should be more like them, more “in line”, more relatable, more like what a friend of mine recently said “J.Crew.”. The company has a million followers versus French Vogue who has under 100,000. I haven’t checked the numbers… but what it means is being “the same” is easy and daring our truth often requires sacrifice. Rebels have bruises and need armors and weapons to succeed. My weapons are my inner child, my theater, to laugh about myself and to believe that risk is live-giving and nets will appear when we jump. I have a purpose; IG and even my comparisons and cringing under them sometimes helps me to fulfill it. Life is a movie script as I am realizing more and more writing my first memoir, which will end with having a blank page ready for a new role, this time consciously created by me. I learned it on IG and now apply it to real life; I am my movie crew from script writer to director or wardrobe artist.. Again thank you for this inspiration, I might respond to it in a blog. I also love that part of IG; how some of us communicate and our stories built a network of powerful thoughts. Like the old idea of authors sending letters to each other adding chapters to a story that one day will be an amazing book. I hope ours will have to power to change lives. When we receive the amazingness of others without fear but as a gift of inspiration to be true to ourselves IG looses its poison of desperate comparison and competition.


I love that you shared this. An avatar is a powerful representation of our best self. We have our real self and our best self, the self we desire to be in the world. I feel it’s so important to be real on social media and help one another navigate, especially when our inner world is a bit shaky. Mine goes back and forth. Some days I’m solid as a rock, unshakeable. Other days, when darkness falls, it’s much more easy to be triggered and begin the I am nots in my head. I appreciate your candor in vulnerability sister!


I love this. I’m always torn between presenting myself as I really am and presenting myself as I want to be. So far, as I want to be (filtered like a MOFO) wins. There are days that I feel so sad and depressed and those are the days I’m tempted to post a pic of what that really looks like, but I don’t. Partly because there are a lot of people who would, well meaning of course, ask me a lot of questions that I might not want to answer. But I do feel authenticity is missing. At least in our physical selves. I’m not brave enough. But let’s face it, social media is, and should be, a form of entertainment to some degree. And who wants to see everybody looking disheveled and depressed!? I don’t. LOL! But, like you say, it’s important to remember we’re sharing a part of our lives, not the whole shebang. And we have the right to be our own editors. BTW…I love that b&w pic of you! Love to you, my friend. Thanks for caring about me.


I think that’s the real part. I’m torn too sister. Much like you, I’ve had some hell in my life on the back end. Some things I can share and some I cannot. I wish I could share it all. The truth is we are all learning and we are in this together. I love seeing it through the viewpoint of entertainment which allows us to view social media in a much more detached way without making it personal, about us. You know I do care and love to you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.