It used to be that the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” was only applied if you were invited over for a dinner party and could see the inside of your neighbor’s home or if you happened to really envy their landscaping. But now with the advent of social media, Instagram in particular, little photographic squares give you an inside look at what appears to be the picture-perfect life.
Here’s the rub, though: no matter how many photographs you see of wood roasted salmon on a bed of leafy greens served on beautiful china from Anthropologie or a coffee table with gorgeous art books and the perfect green succulent, you have to remember that these are curated photos of someone’s life. Of course, no one seems to be posting photographs of their kids’ messy rooms.
On Facebook, you may envy how great someone’s life appears (Are they always vacationing? Are they always bragging about their significant other?) but who is really going to post: “Today I got fired and it was totally my fault,” you know?
So when you feel envy creep up, here are a few tips to keep you in check (and all of us really, because we have all been there).
Do you have a friend who is constantly posting about how great their significant other is? Oh, I have the greatest husband! Tony cleaned the entire house all before dawn and then brought me breakfast in bed and here is a picture. Isn’t Laura the most beautiful woman in the world? She makes my life sublime.
If you are the person who marks your monthly or even weekly anniversary on Facebook or Instagram, you may want to reevaluate some things.
For awhile, the mantra that a person–specifically women–could do it all seemed empowering. But the fact is no one can do or have it all and the pressure to do and have it all is actually not good for us. If you are scrolling through your feed and you see that Sally made her kids Frozen Themed Bento Boxes for lunch and you are on your lunch hour at work, choose not to feel guilty.
You and Sally have different lives; neither is better than the other. But your kids are fed and healthy and they will live regardless if their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are shaped like Olaf. On the other hand, maybe Sally is an artist and she gets satisfaction with sharing her art with her kids any way she can. This brings me to the next concept.
We have all been there. We are at work and a notification pops up where we see our friend, Fran, is getting a manicure in the middle of the day. “That must be nice,” we think as we roll our eyes. But we don’t know Fran’s life. Fran could be a caretaker for her elderly parents and for all we know she not only deserves a manicure but a full on spa getaway.
Instead of judging, try to take a moment and make a list of a few things in your own life you are grateful for…without comparing it to other people’s lives.
Ultimately, if you are truly struggling with envy, the best thing you can do is take a social media break. Not only will you probably sleep better (no more scrolling through your newsfeed right before bed) but you can take the time to smell the roses in your own life.
The truth is social media is not a bad thing. But everyone needs a break now and again. Just remember to support others and to also look at your own life and be appreciative.
NB Creative, Inc.
PlumbTalk Content Manager
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of social media? How do you keep from playing the comparison game?