There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self
Your finger grazes the glowing screen of your phone and the tiles shoot upwards, until you place your finger back down on the next item on the news feed.
She said yes!!! *huge close-up of engagement ring
Oh that’s nice, good for them. Next.
How to get over social media envy and stop comparing yourself to others
Cat makes an unlikely friend (warning: TOTALLY ADORABLE) *viral video of a cat and a baby goat huddling together for warmth.
Aww, that’s adorable. Next.
*Article from biased news source. Political battle occurs below in comments, each side providing equally-biased and paragraph-long rebuttals to each others’ comebacks.
Sheesh, give me a break. Do something constructive with your time, you think.
We live in a time where if you’re by yourself in public, it’s almost weird if you’re not checking your phone for the latest social media updates.
Everyone has different reasons for using social media. When used the wrong way, it can be hard to stop comparing yourself to others, which can be incredibly damaging to your personal identity and self-esteem.
People are starting to realize that social media is not only used for connecting with your circle, but for comparing yourself to others. It can give people a false sense of being a part of something bigger, and create a gap between your ideal social life and reality.
This is not an article meant to bash social media, but rather how to use it in a way that keeps you sane and keeps you from feeling lonely. Here are a few ideas that will help you not feel like crap when you look at social media.
Shows the bright side
One of the biggest arguments from haters of social media is that it only shows the “highlight reel” of people’s lives, as opposed to the “bloopers.” We all hand-pick what events, places, and activities we want to document on social media, and by doing so, we can create a false sense of what our daily life is like.
When you see that engagement ring your friend just received, you don’t realize that maybe she’s been having second thoughts about being with that guy. Maybe the guy just drained his whole bank account on the ring and isn’t left with much money to support them. Maybe they’re struggling with substance issues or other strained relationships.
Your brain takes shortcuts and makes quick assumptions because of the massive amount of data it has to sort through each and every day. We take in so much information on a daily basis, it’s hard to think through each and every piece of information to get the full picture, so we tend to assume that when something is going well in their life that their ENTIRE life is the same way.
We all know what happens to people who ASSume things 🙂
Think about your own life. Each time you have something to share on social media, does that mean that your life is going perfectly and that you have it made?
Stopping comparing yourself to others on social media takes discipline. It takes a great deal of self-love and emotional wealth to be able to appreciate all the positive things in others’ lives, without comparing them to your own.Image Credit: www.llymlrs.com
In order to get the most out of your social media use, you have to ground yourself by asking why you use it, and what you expect yourself to get out of it.
When you use social media, are you really looking at other people, or are you looking at yourself standing right beside them? Do you use it because you REALLY care about what hundreds or thousands of other people are up to in their daily lives, or do you use it to make yourself feel more secure, seeing other peoples’ ignorance and less fortunate conditions than you?
Social media can be an incredibly powerful tool for staying connected to people all over the world. It can help you stay close to those best friends who are no longer geographically close.
The healthiest way to use it is just that- staying connected with those who really matter, and filtering out the rest. When you start to rely on it in order to feel good about yourself, that’s when you know you’re using it to compare yourself to others.
Pictures of fjords in Norway, to “happy” couples, to engagement rings, to new BMWs, to first houses, to hilarious and witty statuses that get hundreds of likes can cause a self-esteem tailspin if you aren’t careful.
You can remind yourself that these are all great things, and you can aspire to them, but there is no reason to trash yourself for not having accomplished other peoples’ accomplishments.
Live simply with social media
Having too many options is overwhelming.
When there’s 20 different salad dressings at the store, how are you supposed to choose? Which brand do you pick? Should you go low-fat this time? How about ranch? Ranch with bacon? Ranch with cucumber? As soon as you put one in the cart, the other ones on the shelf look that much better. Gahh.
Social media is an all-you-can-eat buffet of pictures, videos, and opinions that can give us a sensory overload and give you a false sense that you are “missing out” on what’s going on in the world.
If you don’t exercise your brain and give yourself a reality check every once in a while, your brain is going to get fat.
It’s going to get bogged down with unnecessary details of peoples’ lives who don’t contribute to your happiness. You trick your brain into thinking that everything that everyone is doing is important.
When you see everyone on a level playing field, the internet, it’s hard to distinguish what peoples’ lives are really like. When your best friends show up right up there next to your lowest-level acquaintances, it makes it difficult to distinguish between the two.
When you sit down and think about it, sure you’ll remember who is important in your life, but in the moment, when you are scrolling through what people are up to, it’s easy to blend them all together into one big pot of what I’m not doing.
When you look at social media, especially if you are just mindlessly flicking your phone and scrolling to see what people are up to these days, people’s accomplishments can get blurred together.
Your overall picture of each individuals’ lives and accomplishments can easily start turning into why haven’t I accomplished any of these things?
It’s hard to view your own impact and accomplishments because you live with them. They’re not novel, and they’re not new and exciting, because you’ve been working at them. For months. For years. For your whole life.
The crazy thing is, you probably have someone’s ideal life. Someone out there who sees YOU on social media is probably out there thinking wow, if only I had their life. They’ve got everything I could ever want!
And it doesn’t take much. Maybe all you have is a stable job. A small family. A pet. Maybe you live somewhere that someone out there would consider a cool place to be. Even those things that you overlook on a daily basis are desired by someone out there.
Gratitude and self-love are two key components of your self-esteem. These qualities do not come from other people, or material things, but from within.
When you stop comparing yourself to others, and instead compare yourself to your former self, you will see growth. That is, if you’re actually growing. That progress will motivate you to continue, as opposed to looking at someone else’s accomplishments, which can prevent you from even leaving the starting blocks.
There’s a saying that I’ve heard recently that I would like to leave you with.
If you aren’t embarrassed by who you were last year, then you aren’t learning very much.