Hi my name is Jess and I struggle with feeling inadequate, with jealousy, with comparison, with…social media.
In the past year this is one of the most sound pieces of advice I’d received: “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Given to me by my bestie Justine. See photo below. She doesn’t look wise but she is. haha jk jk.
My generation especially lives in a world of glitter. Every day we are inundated with glitter – sparkly images of our friends and their great jobs, new designer outfits, trips to Europe, perfect relationships, pinterest worthy homes and so on. I can’t explain how many times I’ve met up with friends and the conversation centers around what they recently posted on their Instagram, or where they last checked in on foursquare. Not to mention we’ve spent the majority of our dinner dates instagramming our food, tweeting, and looking at our phones! That’s NOT normal.
As if all of that isn’t bad enough I recently found myself emotionally invested in other people’s photos and not in a positive way. I was saying things like: ‘Babe, so and so is on vacation here’, ‘Look at this new bag she got, I want a new bag’, ‘Look who just bought a beautiful house’ ‘Really another selfie of you and your perfect hair?’…and on and on.
Jealous. Judgmental. Sad. And worst of all totally ungrateful for all of the things I should be grateful for. I was in a place where nothing was enough. As a matter of fact I would take one facebook photo and fill in the blanks with the perfections I assumed a friends life consisted of.
Bad idea. Very, very, very bad idea.
So, I started to really pray and meditate on what was going on. Why was I all of a sudden so unhappy with what I’ve been fortunate enough to be given and what I’ve worked hard for? More importantly, why was I getting so sad at seeing others happy??
Oh wait I know why – because comparison is the thief of joy.
Here’s the thing – I’m not the only one. I have plenty of friends who have gotten off facebook because every time one of their friends get’s engaged they find themselves crying. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, but it can be an unfortunate byproduct of social media. I didn’t want to have to quit sites, I wanted to be able to see things, process them and move on without it affecting me emotionally. So it started with these two articles that REALLY helped put things in perspective for me.
The first article states: “My life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. Everyone’s life looks better on the internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths—we get to decide what people see and what they don’t.”
There it is. All that glitters isn’t gold. Partial truths are so dangerous. Sure we’ve all been guilty of hiding the Negative Nancys on our timeline who are constantly griping about their bad luck and misfortune because it’s well, depressing. But what about the people who are constantly promoting their perfect life?
Well let’s look at this:
A. Their lives aren’t perfect – nothing is perfect. I’m not telling you to take solace in other people’s imperfections but to keep things in perspective. That couple who just posted a happy photo of them at a friend’s wedding probably got into a fight on the way there. Haha! Seriously though, perspective is everything.
B. Good for them.
Here’s how I’m working through things. What I’ve learned:
1. To be aware of how much time I’m spending on social media and put my devices down. Learn to just be. Not every moment needs to be captured, shared, or filtered.
2. To be aware of why I’m posting on social media sites – is it to portray a perfect life, get a certain number of likes (aka recognition/validation) or to inspire others or to just remember a moment? What’s my intention?
3. In case I wasn’t clear in #2: To stop finding importance/validation in the response/reaction of others.
4. To be very aware and in control of my thoughts when scanning social media sites. This takes practice and intention. Your thoughts will run away from you quickly – manage them before they manage you.
5. To be grateful for everything because nothing is guaranteed and most of all because life is GOOD.
6. To be real. To be uplifting. To be honest. If I’m going to share I’m going to do it in the realest way I know how.
7. Tangible things I do: Turn off all notifications. Log myself out of my social apps so that I’m less tempted to just sit and scroll. Leave my phone in the other room, the car, my purse.
Whew! Okay that was a big one but I hope it speaks to someone out there and if not well I’m glad I got it off my chest haha!