Please Don’t Envy Me: The Facebook Status Everyone Should Read.

Via on Mar 29, 2013

Alone By, Kevin M Sutton

 Envy is a dangerous chick, isn’t she? 

When envy decides to visit, she assassinates all rationale. Envy erases our understanding that being happy for another’s success and joy does not affect or detract from our personal success and contentment.

The more I rejoice in another’s accomplishments or life’s luck, the more I am inspired to focus on my own desires and passions.

Lately, I’ve noticed envy lurking all over Facebook. She creeps in between the exclamation points, smiley faces and thumbs ups.

She is taking advantage of our weakness. The human brain was not created to function healthfully in our technologically-ravaged modern world. I believe social media is causing us all to become slightly insane—delusional.

As human beings, we perceive what is in front of us as reality; we trust what we see as truth, but it isn’t. Through our engagement in the daily scroll of hundreds of self edited and airbrushed status updates, we perpetuate the spread of a lethal disease—the belief in an archetype of the perfect life, that does not exist– always happy and shiny, untouched by life’s ups and downs.

This inundation of perfection blinds us with jealousy.

People use Facebook to share the highlights of their lives. Just as a child proudly parades her masterpiece of crayon scribbles in front of  her mother, hoping for the applause of oohs and ahhs, we tout our accomplishments to hundreds of virtual friends, awaiting the thumbs ups and comments, searching for the same thing—validation that we are doing a good job—we are important.

Facebook is a platform for creating and sharing the life we want people to think we live. Anyone would be envious of a life free of pain, sadness, loneliness and heartbreak. The duality of life evaporates as we begin to dissolve into the monotony of perfection.

This is the cause of our envy.

We have a choice to see Facebook for what it is, a sound byte of real life and a reservoir of hungry hearts searching for acknowledgment, but the blur of jealousy overtakes us.

We have fallen prey to the delusion that every one else’s life is happier than ours, more productive and even more valuable.

We forget. We forget that there is something greater that dwells amidst the accolades, the trips and the fancy meals—the every day of life.

This understanding has become lost as social networking sites become our primary source of communication. We deliberately try to set ourselves apart, to be seen, to be happier than the update before us.

We are creating a struggle that doesn’t need to exist. We don’t need to set ourselves apart because…

We are all the same. 

How do we reengage with this sameness, honoring the trueness of the human experience? The first step, set limits with Facebook. I very seldom go on the newsfeed. I find it to be the quicksand of fallacy.

“Life happens between the snap shots. Life is what gets us from one snap shot to the next.”
~ A quote from a movie I saw once.

When we are lashed with status after status of overly exuberant tan people doing yoga on white sand beaches and rock formations, pictures of new houses and cars, pictures vomited on by quotes of high vibration/low vibration explanations (quotes so optimistic they make me want to punch someone), food that looks styled from a magazine shoot and people who look styled from a magazine shoot–we dismiss the in between, the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds of daily life. We fall ill with the virus of illusion, infecting the mind with delusion, feeding our fever of jealousy.

We think everything is better ‘out there.’ Basement Series: Sadness

It’s not better out there. All of these other people carry the same self doubt, confusion and bouts of loneliness you and I do. We are all just trying to figure it out, seeing our way through life from our own unique perspective of the world.

I write this piece as a call to action. If more of us write about how it really is, take pictures of how it really is and tell it like it really is, there would be no envy. We would see from our different perspectives, that we are all having the same experience.

My mission on Facebook is to bring a flicker of raw and gritty day to day, within this virtual train wreck of grandiosity and new age fairytale. Despite my efforts, there have been many times women have approached me and stated,

“I live vicariously through you on Facebook. Your life is so amazing.”

No. My life is real. Flawed. Cracked. Beautiful. Balanced with missteps, mistakes and good judgments.

I have worked diligently to be where I am right now, accompanied by sacrifice—a divorce from my husband, a divorce from everything I knew, making choices that took me in a direction I never expected. I have tried to reflect the truth of my life, the uncensored and uncut version in my writings, but if I am permeating a scent of idealism that others pine for, then I am doing a disservice to myself and to them. I am creating a veneer of falsehood, feeding envy along the way.

I must re-evaluate the image I am projecting into the ether of the internet. I encourage all of us to reflect on our online actions  because, behind the split second capture of an Instagram picture of posed smiles, is a story, a life’s story; A story we all know and for some reason like to avoid.

Let’s stop avoiding it and share it openly and completely. Instead of the summits of our lives, let’s share the trek too. For those who have reached the summit of  Mt. Everest, the story they tell, that they want to tell and others want to hear is of the climb itself because, that is the most important part.

Here is a portion of a Facebook status update I wrote a week ago:

Please don’t envy me because I am you, just with different features and freckly skin. 

I have some really shitty days and some really good days. I cry, I yell, I laugh.

Sometimes, I get upset and I send impulsive texts filled with nonsense to my boyfriend, that I wish I could erase before they turn green. 

There are days I feel confused, and days everything makes sense.
I have been offered some deserved opportunities over the years, a product of un-waivering discipline and hard work, but my daily life is quietly mundane; I spend most of my time with my daughters, or alone- writing and teaching at my studio. 

I have issues with my parents. I have issues. Period.
I have an obsession with pretzel m & m’s–I eat way too many of them. 

I get lonely, really lonely–I cry and then, I get over it.
I get angry, really angry–I yell or I cry and then, I get over it. 

I look in the mirror in the morning, and I hate my hair. 

Sometimes I want to throw my children out of a window because they drive me crazy when they fight.
I just finished yelling at them for not going to bed. 

When I need a break from my seriousness, I watch awful movies on my computer in my bed while eating Triscuits. 

I will go to sleep tonight at 8:30 because that’s how I roll. I don’t have a glamorous social life,
I’d rather be at home even if I had the option of being out on the scene. 

I’m a girl who found what I love, and I work really damn hard for everything I have created.

Don’t envy me. I don’t envy you, because I know we are all the same–at least that’s my perspective. 

~Rebecca Lammersen

 

Like elephant journal on Facebook.

Ed: Kate Bartolotta

 

 

About Rebecca Lammersen

Rebecca Lammersen is the founder of Yogalution, a donation based yoga studio in Scottsdale, AZ. I love being alive. I love being a mother. I love teaching yoga. I love to write. I love to know. I love to not know. I love to learn. I love to listen. I love to read. I love to travel. I love to dance. I love to help. I love to serve. That pretty much sums me up. Check out Rebecca's website and her articles at The Huffington Post. Subscribe to Rebecca's feed and never miss a post!

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99 Responses to “Please Don’t Envy Me: The Facebook Status Everyone Should Read.”

  1. This article implies we're all using FB to delude the world to a certain degree. I believe people interact on FB the way they interact in real life, meaning, if they're aiming to project a certain image on FB they're probably doing the same in real life, it's just faster and easier on FB, so it's not social media that makes anyone be a certain way, they already are that way. I'm a private person with a career in the performing arts. My personal life is personal but my career is not. I share on FB what i share on stage and screen. It's one and the same for me and it's the real me.

  2. Ash says:

    this made me feel so good. it is something i've thought about a lot myself – how essentially we all have the same issues that bombard us on our unique journeys. i've recently had a big revelation in which i abandoned envy as i realised that if i'm envious because someone is doing something i want to do, then what do i do – i just do it. unless it is something that really is not a part of my journey, in which case i just smile and be glad that they are doing it and that i have my own things in my own journey that i can concentrate on. it's actually quite motivating to see yogi's on beautiful beaches doing their latest poses that i can't do, because i think, that looks nice, i can work towards achieving that myself!! but if i see someone posting that they got chosen to travel to the moon on a unicorn, although i will initially think 'woooooow i want to do that' i can disregard any 'envy' as i realise, sure, that's nice, but it's not 'me' or part of my journey right now.

  3. Irene says:

    An honest article, that presents the truth, or partial truth, about yourself, the writer. All truth is subjective, hence partial. As such, I respect it, understand it and share it. Because I am also a "subject" (subjective) with MY own truth. I actually don't have the same experience -and opinion-about facebook. I have the same experience with life in general. You go to the hair-dresser, for example, you pick up a magazine, you can be envious of anything you find in there, the cars the perfect bodies, the shiny flowing hair. You visit New York, walking along Madison Ave. can steer you into envy overdose. Envy, jealousy, competitivenes are in our nature. If we don't have these chips in our system, like His Majesty the Dalai Lama for example, it's because we have become VERY special. Human Nature, the natural, the median, the norm, is a messyenviouseverchangingflowy blob of Humanity. And, together with all of that, we are love oriented and gregarious and comunicative beings. We revel in contact and sharing and living other people's lives as if they were our own. From this emerges the monumental success of a creation like Facebook. It feeds right into our little envious hearts, but it also feeds into our need for love and recognition and comunication. I'm not sure about our brains being wired for the cybernetic world we've created, but I'm positive that we are wired to connect to one another, to share our lives -misconstrued or not- to reach out, to comment, to like to secretly envy and be jealous and desire what someone else has.

  4. Michelle M. says:

    Great post! Envy is such a non-productive emotion, especially when it comes to social media. Positive thinking and vibrations are just as contagious as negative ones, why focus on the negative. Let’s stop measuring our success by what other people do, and strive for progress, not perfection.

  5. Bethany says:

    I understand where you're coming from, my husband feels the same way – he just got a facebook last year. I don't believe people lead perfect lives because of what I see on Facebook, nor do I believe people lead perfect lives because of what I see in person. I agree with Susan Laycock. I think we represent or misrepresent in everything we do. And it's our jobs as humans to see it for what it is, and not fall into the illusion that you talk about in your article. Honestly, I feel empowered knowing that someone is having fun somewhere. That I can see beautiful humans experiencing life outside of my cubicle. It reminds me that I'm not alone, that there are people in Brazil, a coffee shop in downtown Austin, that one of my friends just drank a green juice – that sounds good. It's inspiring, empowering and helps me connect.
    I think social media can and is a positive part of our lives and it has enriched mine. So, I think there is a place for your concern and dilemma, but also social media/facebook is our world now and we have to deal with it in the best way.

  6. Jennie Russell says:

    Facebook is what you make it, and what you allow it to be in your life. Only you have control of your technology, and how much you allow it to be a part of your life.

  7. ANM says:

    I loved this!! For a couple of reasons.

    I removed myself from Facebook a couple of years ago because of this – I couldn’t handle what I perceived as “fake friends” and “fake lives”. But with years of experience comes growth and I now see this was a product of my own negative thoughts and the place I was in! I have a couple of friends who seem to be extremely preoccupied with presenting the best face on facebook, but I can see how that in itself can be miserable. Perfect husband, perfect kids, perfect job, perfect family, perfect vacations, perfect decor in the home – and I’m serious. Not that I wish misery on anyone, but perfection doesn’t exist.

    Maybe this is a reflection of me, and I’m still trying to figure this out lol, but I cannot stomach posting personal things and personal accomplishments on such a public forum. I feel like, the only reason to do that is for acknowledgement…anything I can do in service to others doesn’t need to be publicized, and that it is, in itself, its own publicity. To try to create the semblance of perfection on a social media platform – especially when it seems that the ultimate reward is validation – is kind of sad. Love in all its forms – passion, excitement, happiness, pain, loneliness, etc. – we can learn so much from all of it. Life’s not positive all the time and from that comes the experience. Experience is always positive though, even if the feeling is not! It’s so much more productive to the world — and to ourselves individually –to acknowledge that life isn’t perfect and that’s okay! Like you said, we’re all just fish in this big pond trying to figure this thing called life out.

  8. Anandarupa says:

    THANK YOU. This piece came to me at exactly the time I needed to hear it. Thank you for sharing, namaste x

  9. maproksch says:

    um….newsflash. I don't envy you. Nor do I envy my Facebook friends. I found this article a tad condescending and sounding more like the author is the one who is projecting her own envy and narcissism on the Facebook community.

    My Facebook experience is entirely different than what is written here. I rant, rave, laugh, post pictures of my food, my horrible morning hair, my kooky excursions with friends, bad puns—anything and everything. Sometimes I am pretty funny, sometimes I just want to say hello (and when there's a blizzard going on and I think it's unwise to go out, FB comes in handy here). I have friends who post pics of their yoga poses and I am delighted (not envious). I have friends who share their losses openly and I offer support. I have friends who post pics of their children. every. single. day. And as a woman who never had children (and wanted them), I get vicarious joy from their pictures and their stories about their children. If they post a picture of some gourmet dish, that appeals to me, I ask for the recipe. I do not feel like my life is less than theirs. I do not feel like my life is superior to theirs. I have made REAL friendships–you know, the kind where you actually meet up with people in person, share a fine meal or even take a trip together—as a result of Facebook. Yes, I have made friendships out of complete strangers thanks to introductions via Facebook. I found some long lost friends and family. Let's be honest, Facebook is no substitute for real, face-to-face relationships, but I've seen some really lovely things happen here…..but then, maybe it's because of the caliber of people that I invite into my life. Perhaps you need to re-examine the people that you allow into yours, or at the very least, cull your friends list and keep only the people who are real.

  10. Phyllis says:

    Well! I agree with her point and perspective. However, Facebook has also opened up an avenue of social connection and sharing amongst family and friends who live far away that would otherwise not exist. I really don’t want to hear all of the “crying, yelling etc ” that every person experiences in their “private” life, on FB. People already share some not so appropriate images. It’s like going out to dinner or going to the park with a friend or family member. Ya don’t tell all there either. I am intelligent enough to sift through the negative feelings I have regarding others joys and happiness and jealousy and envy exist outside of FB as well. Hopefully as the “medium” of social interaction develops, we too will mature with it and use it for the tool it should be. Like writing a “letter home” only faster! Enjoy it! Don’t let the negativity of life creep in and steal your joy! Then go have lunch with a friend or watch an upbeat movie and “let it go”!

  11. Bruce Wayne says:

    Interesting how the writer had elected to designate envy with a gender “she”….Why?

    Read the article, points being made could be said of any other medium including Elephant Journal itself where your article appears. As for the last portion of your article where you shares examples of your facebook status; more power to you if you feels sharing elements of your personal life candidly is what you believe your status is for, some of us would rather keep our private lives and thoughts off social media so as not to add to the social media pollution that has exploded with the unhealthy demand for every thought and action to be aired out for all to see when there really isn’t a need for all that.

  12. cli.gs says:

    It’s truly a nice and useful piece of info. I’m happy that you simply shared this useful information
    with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Liga says:

    "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." – Steven Furtick. As you said, life is what happens between those facebook snapshots! Be clear of purpose and don't get sucked in. Thanks Rebecca!

  14. Joy says:

    Envy is an emotion, and like all emotions, good or bad, it is natural. When we start tucking these feelings away rather than addressing them, we become emotional anorexics. ALL feelings are valid. When used in the right way, envy/jealousy are fantastic motivators. I personally find my best motivator to be spite. That's right, SPITE!
    Go ahead… judge. Furrow your brow. It's a fact about me in which I have no issue being honest about. Spite is my fuel. When I feel wronged, I put it into my art and try to be the best I can be. Yes, and sometimes in the faces of those people that have wronged me. Then I feel better. Trying to dissolve an feeling that is clearly there is actually an impossible (and super unhealthy) task. Address it, utilize it, allow it to make you powerful (even if it means that what made you envious was a facade on someone's facebook). I mostly disagree but worth a read. If you can improve, do so, who cares about the source of motivation!? Don't allow articles like this to shame you for your feelings.

  15. melanieimhoff says:

    I needed to see this. Today. Thank You.

  16. BoatPose says:

    I can understand why it is misguided to envy someone's life based on their online profile, but I fully relate to those who experience envy. Envy is unproductive, but I recognize that many aspects of my life are enviable. My life is far from perfect, but my job, my vacations, and my health, just to name a few, could reasonably be envied. Rather than ask others not to envy me, I try to be grateful for my opportunities, life circumstances, and, yes, privileges. If the society I live in provided equal resources and opportunities to everyone, I might ask others not to envy me. But until then, I will envy and be envied. While at the same time, trying to be gracious and grateful.

  17. carrie says:

    "The human brain was not created to function healthfully in our technologically-ravaged modern world."

    The human brain may not have been designed to originally cope with much technology (see electricity, Industrial Revolution, surviving various diseases it can now cope with, even turning to agriculture from hunting and gathering) due to the changes in society it brings but like, with everything before us, the human brain adapts. It's not rigid.

  18. Angkush says:

    Just brilliant
    Regards and love from Mauritius :)

  19. Paige says:

    Brillant article.

  20. Jaye says:

    I agree and I disagree; it all depends on the person posting. I have found great comfort from friends, all sorts of friends, when I have experienced tragedy. I have appreciated the thoughts and prayers from friends when my dad had open-heart surgery. Facebook is like anything; it's what you make of it and whatever you want to take from it. Bottom line (and I think the writer makes this point) it's our choice.

  21. Theja says:

    This is something that I have been thinking about FB. Why do people always portray themselves as having a ball ? And post mostly positive things from their life? I know of some who take special photos just to post on FB. thank you for your thought provoking article. loved it.

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