“Comparison is a thief of joy”
This may be the truest quote I’ve ever found. It makes me think of two kids—the first is thrilled about the carrot sticks and ranch dressing she’s been given as a snack….until she looks over and sees her brother was given a cookie. Suddenly, her snack is an insult, a physical representation that she must not be as loved as her cookie-eating brother. How is this fair? She wants what her brother has! Her carrots are not good enough. What two seconds ago seemed wonderful, has now been diminished into nothing.
Is that an over-reaction? Maybe. But think about your life now. How many times do we feel insecure and doubt ourselves when we scroll through social media or have an in-person conversation with someone seemingly better? Facebook and Instagram have made comparison an even bigger breeding ground of ways to get trapped in moments of jealousy.
Finances, weight, kids’ behavior, number of kids, size of your house, etc. You name it, it’s so easy—too easy—to find someone seemingly doing it better or easier than you. When we are in a trial, it seems to be everywhere. For instance, anyone who has ever struggled with fertility will tell you that during that struggle, EVERYONE with a uterus is suddenly blissfully, breezily pregnant
just to spite you. We take our personal pain and flip it to make presumptions and judgements about other people’s photos and/or online persona. They’re most likely not posting that particular image just to rub it in (and if they are, they’ve got their own whole host of insecurities, so we should extend them some grace) but why do we take it personal and believe the lie that their post was a way to call us out on our failures?
Oh, can it be an uphill battle! But if we instead focus on our own blessings and gratitude, we can stop falling into the pit of thinking certain posts are personal attacks against our self worth.
As important as it is to change your attitude and interpretation of posts, sometimes it’s healthiest to completely break the tie.
Is there someone in particular that causes upset when you scroll through your feed and your jealousy flares when you see their carefully crafted posts? I actually unfriended over 150 people this past summer (yes, I bravely deleted instead of blocking them.) It was mainly long-lost acquaintances who I never interacted with anyway and who probably won’t notice my absence, but it also included some who just fueled negative emotions in me every day, multiple times a day. I want Facebook and particularly Instagram to be a place for real-life everyday moments (good and bad), announcements, world news, inspiration, motivation, and a way to keep in contact with my family scattered up and down the east coast. I don’t want a steady stream of pushy direct sales reps, bragging/patronizing, pretending life is perfect, or instigatigators who thrive on playing “devil’s advocate.”
It’s such a delicate balance between increasing our gratitude, and decreasing the negativity—something I’m certainly working on too! Let’s pledge to take Facebook and Instagram less seriously, and to stop comparing ourselves to others.