How to Avoid the Compare and Despair of Social Media
These days it is fair to say that rather than go online, we ARE online and our connected, digital world means it has never been easier to be ‘in the know’, whether that is informed on the latest celebrity Twitter feud, or your friend's engagement announcement on Instagram.
Unlike any other generation before us, we have news, content and updates coming at us from all sorts of apps and angles. We have never been more informed, things have never been so quick and convenient, and yet, rather than thriving we are in danger of losing ourselves in information overwhelm fueled by our constant scrolling.
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, social media can provide a respite window into the lives of others – school friends, colleagues, brands, Youtubers, pop stars, models, actors. Their day-to-day movements are all documented for us to devour.
Posts, tags and check-ins flash by as life events are ticked off via status updates and we scroll through the show reel of people’s lives, with our own aspirations played back to us, including announcements of promotions, births, marriage, holidays, handbags and the list goes on.
As inspiring as it can be to see your former colleague celebrate another win or hit ‘like’ on the beautiful white sand beaches of your friend’s Thai holiday pics, this content, rather than motivating us, is increasingly making us miserable.
By stealth, social media and our growing tendency to compare and judge ourselves harshly next to our peers’ posts, has led to many of us feeling like we:
- are the only ones that do not have our lives worked out
- are behind others in the success stakes
- are running out of - or have run out of - time
- are not pretty, thin, clever, interesting, talented or generally enough
All of which could not be further from the truth.
Our digital digestion is affecting our ability to focus on ourselves, our plans, resources and what is possible - the fall-out of which varies from a bit of procrastination to full on anxiety.
So how do we arrest this sliding feeling and take back control of our feeds to obliterate compare and despair?
Your awareness is everything – notice what you notice. The fact you are feeling jealous or insecure about what you see on your feed is a sign that you are not in alignment with where you are right now. The emotional trigger holds invaluable insight for you if you gave yourself the opportunity to acknowledge it. For example, being jealous of your friend’s new boyfriend has little to do with how much sex she is having but rather how you are struggling to make space for love to come into your own life.
Treat your feed like a house party. Just as easy as you added and welcomed in the names, personalities and brands that fill your feed you can unfollow and hide the content that does not serve you. Treat your social media feeds like a house party full of loving, supporting, inspiring and fun content.
Beware the filter factor. We are all curators of our own individual fame bubbles. What that perfect selfie does not tell you is it took 20 tries and four filters to arrive at that ‘natural’ shot.
Take action offline. Scrolling, observing and judging others for hours will get you nowhere and wastes your time. Commit to take action offline, in real life. For example, if you are stuck in a job that you hate and want a total change, start researching and collecting vacancies or training courses that will be your ticket out of there. You don’t even have to tell anyone.