We all have our insecurities and moments of feeling inferior to others who appear to have it all.
If your friends’ status updates and photos of their seemingly exciting lives filled with great jobs, romantic engagements, fabulous vacations, extravagants gifts from boyfriends, adorable moppet children doing super-cute things and weddings in exotic locales are making you nauseated and upset, then you have social media envy.
The good news? Your feelings are completely normal. It’s hard to feel happy about someone’s wedding when you’re hopelessly single and sitting before the cold glow of a computer screen late at night. Seeing pictures of a swanky party you weren’t invited to can make you feel pretty lonely. But social media doesn’t have to make you feel this way. There are cures for this.
Here are ways to keep it in perspective and feel better:
1. Remember that everything you are looking at is, to some degree, posed.
Even your friend’s seemingly spontaneous picture was carefully chosen. People usually don’t show the awkward or embarrassing sides of themselves, particularly in pictures. Everything you see on social media is, to some degree, framed, posed or designed to be liked.
Author John Green talks about framing on his YouTube vlog and mentions that even though most people are telling the truth, they are choosing between a number of truths.
2. Remember that social media posts are usually created to garner a reaction.
Most of the time, your social media posts are designed to receive a response from friends and followers. There are, as always, exceptions to this, but many people post on social media to be noticed.
Most people won’t post a picture they think looks silly unless they want others to react that way as well.
3. Approach social media with a different mindset.
If you are approaching your personal social media pages in a way to market yourself or sell yourself, you may find yourself developing social media envy when it seems like others are marketing themselves better.
Try to approach your pages in a more positive way, seeing social media as a way to interact with people who already like and know the real you. You may begin to see that others are doing the same thing. Gravitate toward those people.
4. Make your life as exciting as you want it to be and treasure your real-life moments.
If you feel like you don’t measure up to those people on your social media feeds, remember that you can make your life as exciting, adventurous, humorous, engaging, silly and spontaneous as you want it to be.
Create new adventures for yourself — not because you’ll post about them, but so that you can experience something worthwhile. Decide to make your life enjoyable for you, not others.
5. The people on your news feed may be feeling just as insecure.
Have you ever considered the reason behind your friends’ numerous social media posts is that they also may be feeling insecure?
While you might deal with those feelings by hiding away, others will brag online about everything going on in their lives. It’s a way for them to feel better about themselves.
6. Count your blessings.
The next time you’re feeling down after being on Facebook, think about all the great things you do have in your life. Maybe you don’t have a spouse or children, but you likely have a support system of great friends surrounding you.
Maybe you don’t have your dream job, but you’re working to get there and you have a steady income. We all go through life at our pace; there’s no need to compare ourselves to others.
7. Turn the envy into something positive.
Instead of feeling depressed when reading through your Facebook feed, set goals for yourself. Are you sad about someone’s post over a new job? Get back on the job hunt. Depressed over not being at a party? Plan a get-together of your own.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, know you can achieve your goals with hard work and focused effort.
8. Remove what bothers you on social media.
If you always see posts from people on your Facebook feed that bother you, block those posts while keeping them as your friends. Your browsing experience will suddenly become much better.
9. Unplug, unplug, unplug.
One of the best things to do when none of the above work is to walk away from social media. Whether it’s only going online once or twice a week or making a clean break altogether, you need to decide how much exposure is healthy.
Try a one-week detox and monitor how much better you feel. You also will find that you have more time for walking the dog, reading a good book, engaging with people, even doing more work and, maybe, being noticed for your efforts.
You’ll find it’s easier to focus on and like yourself when you’re no longer comparing your world to the manufactured ones online.
Rhett Power is co-founder of the toy company Wild Creations and author of the new book “The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions.”
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