Facebook or Bust!
Let’s admit it: Many of us, myself included, constantly compare ourselves to others. We do so in order to either figure out what’s supposedly normal and/or figure out what’s unacceptably weird. Then we tend to shape ourselves in ways where we copy the behaviors and actions of others to feel comfortable and fit in. While it’s natural to use the lives of others as templates to which we compare ourselves, most do so at a cost to their own happiness. And most of us do this too often! Many drown in despair if their life’s markers aren’t aligned with some borrowed idea of an idealized, normal path. But are we making decisions that are truly inspired by our own desires? Are we sure we are chasing our own self-focused dreams? What role does Facebook play in all this?
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Stop the Statistics
Here are some questions you may want to stop asking while on Facebook, if any of them pop up often and bring you down: Are most of my friends my age already married? Are they already divorced? Have they already bought a home? How many still rent? Did they get to where they thought they would be by now? Did I? Can I? Will I? Where am I? And so the cycle spins around and around.
The Facebook Playbook
Facebook gives us the MOST access to check out everyone’s lives! If you have a Facebook profile you are probably used to your newsfeed updating with photos of babies, pictures of new cars, engagement rings, and on and on. If you engage with Facebook and find yourself comparing yourself to others a lot and feeling unhappy, it’s time to make a change and find your own new beginning.
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Create goals based on what you want, not based on what you see others having. Think about what you deeply want in your life and come up with ways to achieve those things. I’ve found the best way to figure out what I want in my life in a positive way is to not think about what’s missing, but think about what I have. Appreciate the good things in your life and think about how you want to make those things even better. I’ve found that when I focus on what’s missing or what I feel like I don’t have, that I get into a negative headspace and lose sight of the positive elements in my life. You are welcome to want things others have, but the important thing is to not feel inadequate if you get those things on your own timeline and in your own unique way. Do not compare your path to others, as their paths are their own and everyone feels behind in some area. We all get the things we need at the right time.
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Truly Like Liking
Try to avoid liking a post on Facebook and then getting jealous. We’ve all done it. You feel happy for someone, like their post, and then think, “Why isn’t that me?” We must stop torturing ourselves like this. Instead, think about the other person and send them a kind note. When you think about others, focus on your happiness for them. If you start to feel jealous or uneasy, then maybe it’s time to get off the Internet. Sometimes spending too much time as a voyeur only activates the comparison mood.
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Be a Better You
Celebrate your victories, exercise patience, and make small changes to work toward your goals. Dare to not compare yourself to others all the time. Also know, other people are probably comparing themselves to you too. So be a conscientious Facebook poster yourself! The next time you think about others, don’t compare their supposed successes to your supposed shortcomings. Instead, think about how your successes could be making them feel too.