Social Media Envy. You know what I am talking about — your Facebook or Instagram feed is full of your friends posting pics, status updates or checking in and when you see it you feel that all familiar pang of envy. We are all guilty of it and we all have that friend who’s life on our feed seems damn near perfect. They go everywhere, they have so many friends, they have the best life. And you? Well, you may be left feeling inferior. You are downright boring in comparison and if you are not careful, comparing your life to a life you see played out on social media can be harmful. In fact, seeing your friends appearing to have the time of their lives on a daily basis can be soul destroying.
I’m no stranger to this envy. I think we have all felt it at one point. If you are feeling down or stuck in a rut about your own life, having 24/7 online access to your friends ‘perfect’ lives does not help one iota. In fact, it can magnify everything you may not like about yourself or your life. You focus on what you don’t have, rather than what you do have. It’s an easy trap to fall into, so I have come up with some tips to help kick that envy feeling to the curb:
- All is not what it seems: No truer words have been spoken than that of social media. Sure, that girls group photo at a party looks great, or that family picture looks perfect but you also need to remember what you don’t see. You don’t see the bickering to get that great family pic, or the undercurrent in that girls group photo because two of the girls don’t get along and it was a real effort to get that picture taken. You can almost guarantee for every pic you see, there are a lot you don’t or won’t see because they are not ‘perfect’. Not to mention the story behind them. Of course, this is not the case for every pic on social media, but it is a safe bet to say this is the case for a small majority of them.
- Some people spend more time on their devices than enjoying where they have checked into: True, true, true. We have all seen it — that dinner party, that young couple on a date, or group of friends at a bar. Sure, they have checked in saying they are having the time of their lives, but the reality is far different. I have seen groups of friends at a bar heads down, all consumed by their smart phones. Some don’t even bother to look up when someone tries to talk to them. I’ve also seen young couples out to dinner, with one partner looking bored out of their mind while their date sits across from them with a ‘glow face’ whilst staring at their phone. Sure, online it states they are having an ‘amazing time’ but the harsh reality may be no, they are not.
- People lie: Some people will never, ever be totally honest. They will sugar coat everything. And that’s OK, for not all of us are blessed (or is that cursed?) with the gift that is being brutally honest. But if a friend checked in somewhere or posted a selfie of her and her partner seemingly loving life, when in reality 10 seconds after that pic was taken they had a screaming row and she stormed off in a huff, you are not going to hear about that. You are just not. That photo will stay on social media as a picture perfect couple, taking a picture perfect picture, with a sickeningly perfect comment to make sure we all know how in love they are. You are never going to see or hear about the very human moment behind that pic. And that is just how some people will always make sure they are viewed.
- People use filters: Normally, not everyone has silky smooth, porcelain skin, gorgeous hair or pure white teeth. We are not Victoria’s Secret models (well, most of us anyway). No-one looks that perfect in real life. So don’t even begin to compare yourself – you are not second rate. Same goes for other ‘perfect’ looking images such as buildings, food or other things of worthy of a social media posting— add a great filter, and it will look great. That simple.
- Have holiday pics, will travel: If your social media feed is anything like mine, it can seem like half your friends are off travelling the world. Sure when you have nothing on the horizon, are struggling financially or you have just returned from a trip and are still suffering post holiday blues, it can be like a dagger to heart, but fear not. Use these pics as your inspiration and motivation. When my girls were younger and money was tight, if anyone had even hinted at me that one day I would go on a family trip to Disneyland, I would have choked on my coffee. But guess what? It happened. Your current situation is not forever. Things change, and we go up and down with the wave that is life. Work out where you want to go, put it out there and make it happen. One day, it will be you posting amazing pics on your feed from wherever you are in the world.
- Someone may envy you: Really. While your life may seem boring to you right now, someone may be envious of it. I’m not saying make up stuff in your feed just to make people jealous, I’m saying what may be mundane to us, can be heaven to another. Do you complain about your job? Someone out there would love just to have a job. Constantly writing about how the kids are driving you nuts? Some people would give their left arm just for the privilege of having kids. So remember — while you are being jealous of others, I’ll bet there are others who are jealous of you. Be grateful for what you have. Always.
So, there you have it. I hope this little guide helps you see things a bit differently and helps you let go of any social media envy you may experience. It’s not always going to happen, I know, but it’s nice to remind ourselves of the bigger picture every now and then. And remember, we are pretty awesome as we are.
We don’t need a social media feed to remind ourselves of that.