“Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt
For the last couple of months, I went back and forth, deciding if I should go to my high school reunion. My first thought was, “Of course, I should go! It will be fun!” But soon my thoughts morphed into, “No, I shouldn’t. Reunions only exist so you can brag about your awesome job, your new husband and adorable family and how much weight you’ve lost since senior year.” It didn’t help that I looked at the Facebook profiles of some my former classmates who are attending- yup, you all all living better lives than me. I am SO not going.
I go through moments where I really hate Facebook. Every day, it seems like I’m bombarded with my friends’ newest photos of their adorable babies, engagement announcements, inspiring achievements- either physical ones or big moments with their careers, exotic vacations that I could never afford… I look at all these events, all these moments and think “when are they going to happen to me?” Both my heart and my brain flare up, leaving me extremely jealous which leads me to reevaluate my life, focusing on my failures and disappointments.
I’m not the first person to admit that social media makes me depressed. There have been studies how such sites like Facebook crushes spirits and causes depression and anxiety- the more often people use the Web, their happiness drops. When I hop on social media, I look at others and compare my life to theirs- it’s negative judging on steroids. When we do those comparisons, our self-worth is damaged. On social media, we look at an edited version of people’s lives- we’re only seeing their good stuff. It’s unfair. We compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel so we struggle with insecurity and resentment. We are so hard on ourselves- enough that we draw ourselves so in that we don’t start working on making our lives better. Being hard on ourselves kills our motivation and causes us to spiral into a larger abyss.
How do we cure the dreaded Facebook envy? Do you want to be happier? Albert Camus, the French Nobel prize-winning journalist once said, “to be happy, one must not be concerned with others.” The answer is stop with the comparison. We are all too unique to be properly compared with. If you’re not where you want to be, do something to change it. Refocus your energy on being the best version of YOU. Purse something greater. Focus on the good in your life and be aware of all your success and achievements. Above all else, remind yourself that no one is perfect and has it all together. Practice gratitude and grace- someday, I’ll look at other’s wedding photos and feel nothing but happiness for the couple (I know that one day, I’ll be able to post pictures of me in a long, white- okay, it will be pink- dress).
If that doesn’t work, dear reader, you can always deactivate your Facebook account and go kick a soccer ball for a while outside.
And if you’re like me and need a Wednesday pick-me-up…