Let’s talk… Compare and Despair: The Power of Social Media with Lucy Sheridan (Proof Coaching)

Lucy Sheridan is the ‘Comparison Coach’. You may recognise her from recent articles in Now and Grazia. She has appeared on Oprah’s show three times and splits her time between the Yorkshire countryside and Brighton but coaches clients around the world.

Lucy’s fresh approach is full of pizazz and geared towards getting You where You want to be.

If you want to get clear, confident and on track with what you want, once and for all, you’re in the right place. 

Meet Lucy Sheridan.

Lucy Proof 003

Why is comparison so controlling in this day and age?

Via the power couple of technology and social media, we have never had more access to content to compare ourselves to which invites opportunities to benchmark, compete and strive for our own made up metrics of success. This means we’re dealing with a ‘Keeping up with Jones’s’ on steroids that our parents will never have experienced. For this reason we find it difficult to focus on ourselves and what we want because we’re constantly drawn to compare and second guess if we’re ‘doing life right’ – for many of us this leave us in a state of analysis paralysis.

Seeing only the showreel of other people’s lives creates the impression we’re the only ones that don’t have it figured out. This leads to feelings of jealousy, isolation, being disconnected and that we just can’t ‘keep up’ or be as good as those people popping up in our feeds.

How has your own personal journey influenced your work? 

Comparison has followed me round for a looooong time – my first distinct memory being observing my parents and what they were like with my baby brother compared to me – needy much?

I have, in the past, damaged my sense of self, emotionally beaten myself up with comparison and social media was my weapon of choice.  Not cool and not very life coachy, is it?

An example being around five years ago, a reunion at my very well to do school served to bring up my comparison ‘self nasties’ in a way I could never have expected. On the day itself I had a blast and was delighted to have connected and caught up with some real lovely girls and boys from that era in my life – the whole day was a real giggle!

Lucy Proof 002Unfortunately, the aftermath I created for myself was not so much fun – with all the renewed friendships came all the new Facebook contacts and, having experienced a very difficult time around that reunion (my partner’s business folded and we lost our house), via comparison, I started to feel really ‘behind’ everyone and a million miles from their perceived wealth and success. I binged on people’s posts and holiday photos and all the while thinking every win for them was a loss for me – like success was a zero sum game.

I became really insecure and looking back, quite obsessive. It was realising the toll it was having on myself and my relationships that led to a wake-up moment that saved me. The silver lining is I have some great friendships from that day but it was landmark in my comparison story. The full gory details are here in a post I came clean with last year. I received so much support afterwards that I felt so silly – when you know better, you do better!

Comparison today will still raise its ugly head with me but occurrences are few and far between! If I do start to silently compete or benchmark with others, or worse, bitch and moan about them, I can quickly get my self focus back through the mantra:

I trust the timing of my life.

How does your work help others?

I get people over the compare and despair of social media and focussed on their own lives – this means each client gains a plan for success on their own terms and also learn how to stop looking over the fences of others. It’s all about authenticity, in that, I help people stop acting from a place of ‘should’ or being a tribute act for someone else’s dream which is exhausting and confusing. There’s always time to create the life you want – we just need impartial support to get there sometimes.

Tell us about your coaching packages?

I love working one on one with clients – one off sessions are available but my most popular way of working with people is via my coaching package The Proof. I also get a lot of joy from speaking at schools or group meet ups to spread the #comparisonfree message!

Why is Social Media so bad for the soul, and WTF do we do about it?

Social Media is bad for the soul because it causes us to look outside of ourselves for answers and wastes the time we could spend investing in ourselves.

It’s not all bad – I love a bit of aspiration and inspiration and I get this in heaps by following people I respect Lucy Proof 009and accessing the brands I buy from or will buy from one day – life should sparkle! However, for many of us we don’t stop at being inspired, rather, we go down a rabbit hole of comparison feeling isolated and jealous of random people we met once as much as our good friends. It can play a big role in creating tension in real life, offline friendships because of the perceived personas we assume online. We’re all caught in our fame bubble and even second guess what to post based on expected likes or shares – in many ways we’re as image conscious as any of the Kardashians!

The ways to combat the dark side of social media are:

  • Notice what you notice: If you can feel your stomach tighten or nerves flare up around certain posts or comments online, then that’s a sign it’s time for action to get you back on track with what YOU want. All positive change starts with awareness and stopping any sort of ‘sleep walking’ behaviour.
  • Clean up your social media feed: Treat your social media channels like your living room – a fun place to relax and hang out. If certain people’s Facebook posts or Instagram feed make you feel inadequate, jealous or not good enough in any way, then it might be time to hide them or unfollow them for a while to allow you to focus more on what you want to do, rather than obsess about other people’s perceived standards, and conforming to those. Cleaning up your feed includes cancelling any notifications that can sabotage your good vibes or distract you from doing something which is worthwhile. Complete this sweep up regularly!
  • Remember the Filter Factor! An Instagram picture will never tell the REAL story – you’re just seeing an often cultivated and practiced presentation of a version of the truth. It’s about as real as Kim Kardashian’s arse on the cover of Paper magazine but we’re quick to forget that when we’re feeling a bit vulnerable. The Filter Factor makes us think everything is sparkly and that other people have it AAALLLL figured out when this is very rarely the case – again if you’re triggered by something you see try unfollowing it for a while
  • Don’t get caught with FOMO: Realise that we simply can’t be at every party, every workshop, every meeting, every reunion and our self worth or how much we’re liked by others isn’t dependent on whether we’re there or not or tagged in that post.
  • Swap competition for collaboration: One of the best things to do is to tune into the fact that we are all linked and connected not separate and in competition with each other. Reach out to those you feel you’re competing with, are ‘on your patch’ or in your face and instead of looking at how you can divide up and corner off what you share in interest, create something together and double the growth of what you both want. Collaboration and building relationships has only ever given me good results once I shifted from a place of being in opposition

What does Holistic living mean to you?

Lucy Proof 001Oooh I love this one! For me, it’s all about recognising that we’re connected to each other and anything I can do to make my connection with myself and others gets focus – sometimes with a twist. So for example, I don’t mediate sitting on a pillow, I leave my phone at home and walk my dog on the beach and while I do that I pray out loud and call in my angels to help me put my energy in the best place each day – I don’t wish or force future action – it’s all about that moment.

One big learning since I attended Gabby B’s conference, which has been key to a holistic approach, is to trust that good things are always on their way to me and ready to come through so I need to be careful of my ego getting in the way!

What is your message to cynics, sceptics, and the intrigued?

For the cynics or sceptics I say ‘love and light’ (only because it’s not my place to convince or persuade and I totally respect people’s different viewpoints)… and for the intrigued I say start somewhere and dive in… follow your nose and interest and see where it takes you… it will all happen in perfect timing.

Finally, what are your top five tips for self-love?

  1. Do not compare yourself to strangers on the Internet!
  2. Find your tribe – one of my greatest delights in life is being around, and connecting with, people that ‘get me’. Those with whom I can speak unfiltered and that will accept me at my best and my worst – some of my BFF’s I didn’t even know this time last year but because I went out and found my tribe they found me too. Make sure you’re evaluating the friendships and energies you allow in your life as it makes all the difference. It may not be very spiritual but I’m zero tolerance on a$$holes – I can’t save everyone and not everyone is my project and my self-love regime means I’m really choosy about who I spend my time with.
  3. Listen to your inner voice or ‘trust your gut’ – your feelings and emotions are there to act as messengers so tune in because your inner voice will never, ever let you down.
  4. Take time out – our modern world glorifies being busy but filling every minute will just run you down. Ensure you make space for fun and doing nothing – the world will continue to turn if you watch Netflix instead of clean the kitchen.
  5. Keep to your tools and know you can’t do self love wrong! I.e. if your meditation is a few gratitudes whilst you’re washing the shampoo out of your hair most mornings, that’s cool. If it’s a 20 minute meditation every day sitting on a special pillow and journalling twice a day that’s also the right thing. You can’t do it wrong – so just do it!


#HigherSelfie is the UK’s only spirituality unconference independently organised by Lucy Sheridan and Jo Westwood in collaboration with Yoga uber brand lululemon athletica. This one of a kind, never before experienced mind/body/soul house party will take place on Sunday 10th May and will be a complete takeover of this warehouse in Bermondsey.

As an ‘unconference’ the speakers on the #HigherSelfie stages will be decided on the day and all guests are invited to submit a talk to be chosen on the day and get the chance to speak in front of c.200 like minded spiritual dudes and babes. Ticket release is coming soon and all guests must have registered at higherselfielive to join the magic so sign up now!


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