Reboot your social media envy

Reboot your social media envy

Last week a friend asked me how she could reboot her feelings of envy of other people’s lives, and importantly, how to escape the trap of comparing her life to theirs as a measure of happiness. I had some advice for her about social media which I’d like to share and expand on with you.

The main thing to try to remember is that your life is not in any way the same as someone else’s. Your life is how it is due to a distinct set of circumstances that not one other person on this planet has exactly experienced. Your life has been shaped by the many highs and lows, skills, situations, loves, hobbies, and feelings you have lived through. You and your life are absolutely unique. If you look at your life and compare it to someone else’s and somehow feel yourself lacking, remember you are trying to compare the proverbial apples and oranges. They are not the same thing!

My friend suggested spending less time on social media as a way of rebooting how she was feeling. She was jealous of her friends with their wonderful gardens, delicious meals, happy families, and amazing trips. I often see that as suggestion on web articles, saying you should unplug or go offline, but I don’t think she (or you or I) necessarily needs to spend less time on social media. It’s a great way to stay connected, but it’s necessary to view it in the right light.

Social media life

This leads to a vital point: we need to acknowledge that almost everyone’s life on social media is cultivated. It is a “best life” situation.

Think about what you post on social media yourself. With the exception of some, most people probably post exciting photos of holidays or events, lovely family situations, perfectly created meals or crafts, and fantastic selfies… all carefully checked and filtered to show the best of the best. If you don’t like how it looks (or how you think it would look to someone else!), you probably retake the photo, adjust the lighting, apply a nice filter… I know I certainly do!

And you know what? This is absolutely fine! It’s fun to play with photographs and post things you are proud or happy about. But it’s crucial to remember that most everyone else is doing the same. They are proof reading and editing their social media lives to craft you the best of the best, the things they want people to see. This is personal branding, and completely okay! Social media (like all media) is there to enjoy and consume rather than be a template for life.

Reboot your FOMO*

So bearing all this in mind, what you can do about those envious feelings?

I suggest really thinking about what you feel beneath that jealousy. Does it stem from regret, sadness, guilt? Is it because of something from your past, present or a yearning for the future?

Once you can identify the root causes of your envy, pick one thing and make a commitment to trying it yourself. For example, maybe you see photos of people’s gardens and wish you could have that but you’ve never had a green thumb, and don’t have time to make a garden anyway, plus it costs money to set up, and then you have to maintain it, and, and, and… Write down what you want. Now write down some steps to get there. Now identify who can help you – friends who might like to help you dig up your existing backyard, workmates who can share seeds and cuttings with you, forum members who can offer free advice. Then project manage that task!

As much as you might want to be amazing at everything all at once, just pick one thing at a time. We can get to multi-tasking later! I’d also like you to go back to your life accomplishments list and remember your awesomeness and how if you had that all documented on social media right now, other people would be super envious!

Defrag your life

My friend said “I think my life might need a reformat rather than just a 5 minute reboot”. If you’ll allow me to continue the computing analogy, I think a defrag is all she needs. When your computer slows down and doesn’t respond like it used to, you can run a tool to clean it up. It finds old fragmented gaps in the hard drive and pushes all the newer data up the line to make a nice tidy series of blocks. You end up with better performance because the computer isn’t trying to read those old blank spots any more.

Apply that concept to your life. Change how you look at things. Instead of focusing on those old, useless gaps in the hard drive of your life, do some maintenance and get life back to the way you want it. Now, reboot!

* “Fear of missing out”

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