We all have our insecurities and moments of feeling inferior to others who appear to have it all. If reading your friends' statuses about their exciting lives announcing pregnancies, engagements, fabulous vacations or seeing wedding picture after wedding picture on your news feed is enough to make you sick to your stomach; then you have social media envy.
Social media envy happens when a person becomes envious of the lifestyle or aspects of someone else's life as seen through the eyes of social media. 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 behind a computer screen alone at night. Seeing pictures of a party you weren't invited to can make you feel pretty lonely. However, social media doesn't have to make you feel this way. Here are ways you can ward off social media envy.
1. Remember that everything you are looking at is, to some degree, posed.
Even your friend's "spontaneous" picture was chosen by that friend to show up on your feed. 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 to those around you, you may find yourself developing social media envy when it seems like others are marketing themselves better. Perhaps try approaching 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 others' experiences as just that - their experiences as they journey towards growth and understanding.
4. Make your life as exciting as you want it to 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, crazy, 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, learn, and grow from them. You are the captain of your ship, so decide to make your life enjoyable for YOU, and all that social media envy will fall away.
5. The people on your news feed may be feeling just as insecure about their lives.
Have you ever considered the reason behind your friends' numerous social media posts is that they may also be feeling jealous and insecure? It's entirely possible. While you might deal with those feelings by hiding away, others will outwardly brag about everything going on in their lives and post it all online. It's a way for them to feel better about themselves.
6. Count your blessings.
The next time you're feeling down on yourself 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 of your own yet, but you do have a family and support system around who loves you. Maybe you don't have your dream job yet, but you're working to get there and have an 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, it's possible to block those posts while also keeping them as your friends. Check out how that's done here. 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 entirely. Whether it's only going online once or twice a week or making a clean break altogether, you need to decide how much is healthy. You'll find it's easier to focus on and love yourself and your life when you're no longer comparing it to others online.