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

Via Rebecca Lammersen
on Mar 29, 2013
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envy

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

 

~

Relephant read:

7 Strategies to Cope with Facebook Comparison Syndrome.

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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

 

 


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About Rebecca Lammersen

Rebecca Lammersen is the founder of Yogalution, an intimate, boutique style 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 swim. I love to travel. I love to dance. I love to help. I love to serve. That pretty much sums me up. For daily inspirations, check out Rebecca's website. Visit her yoga studio website and peruse her articles at The Huffington Post. You can also find her on Facebook. Subscribe to Rebecca's feed and never miss a post!

Comments

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

  1. Joy says:

    lovely!

  2. Elana says:

    I absolutely love this piece. Thank you for writing the truth. I feel rejuvenated!

  3. Thank you Elana! Rejuvenated, wow 🙂

  4. Virginia says:

    I needed to be reminded of this! Thank you!

  5. Janelle says:

    Reread. same old preachy facebook-like stuff. Glad you're not perfect, but your presenting in that same judge-y, holier-than-thou way that the posters your complaining about do. Quit yer bellyaching and go live your life. Bet off facebook.

  6. Michel says:

    Finally an article that speaks the truth about how we really are. We are beautiful and fucked up at the same time. We fluctuate between the two. Good days and bad days. To hear that your life is mundane makes me feel that I'm not the only one going through stuff. Not many express that on Facebook and I'm sure most of them feel mundane. It takes courage to admit that. Power to you Rebecca. I have fallen in the illusion of Facebook status of happy people with pictures of their food. Your article has confirmed me that it is an illusion. A split second in a 24 hours. Being flooded by Inspirational quotes, overly positive statements, pretty pictures and videos are good but at some point they have no effect. But admitting that sometimes life is hard and sucks…..and please I don't need a quote to feel better because in time I will. Why I will feel better…. Because that's life, beautiful and hard at the same time.

  7. tim says:

    i love technology but am falling more & more out of love with the shallowness of status updates & 140 character twits.
    thank you Rebecca for sharing this beautiful piece of real life.

  8. Me says:

    Agree with Janelle.Move on.

  9. I am so glad that you shared this with all of us. Your life sounds a lot like mine. Teaching, reading, writing, laughing, crying, yelling, and making mistakes then getting over it and finding the blessings through the storms. Life is life. We are all perfectly imperfect. Thank you for keeping it real.

  10. Anna says:

    hm…real life…welcome to the club, my fb posts are not perfect, but I strive to give a glimmer of hope to those out there, well I do have only close friends on my fb (so few not hundreds) and they know what I was through, so they know how my life sucks sometimes, but they also know that I do not give up, I'll be damned if I'll throw in the towel, so yes without being offensive I do put some angry or sarcastic posts on, (tears I do in privet) but then I bounce back and try to cheer up others, because no matter how low you fall, what counts is that you get up again, that is all that counts…that nothing can beat you, at least not for long 😉 and you are strong enough to take what life throws at you 😉

  11. Thank you Virginia, I am glad it resonated 🙂

  12. Thank you for sharing your perspective Janelle. ~Rebecca

  13. Thank you Michel. I always appreciate when people share their thoughts! ~Rebecca

  14. Thanks for sharing Anna 🙂

  15. Lauren says:

    Perhaps it's just me, but I've always been honest on Facebook. I have no need to project a falsely happy persona or a perfect life, because I don't have those things. Most of what impost are negative things – articles about war, or famine, or abuse, or politics. When I update statuses, it's usually a question that's on my mind that I genuinely want feedback about. No filtration. Some people actually are put off by it – somehow it isn't "over sharing" for them to post pictures of their food every day, but it is for me to say that I got so mad I needed to do yoga to calm down? I have a real life – messy and painful and beautiful and filled with love. Are some things private? Sure, absolutely. But what I do share isn't and is never going to be a sanitized and idealized version of me. I'm out to communicate, not to project a lie that others will envy.

  16. Yogartini says:

    Thank you Rebecca – for so honestly expressing your thoughts on this topic. For me, it's right on and so refreshing! I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

  17. I appreciate your perspective and the grain of truth it represents. I found myself disagreeing however; I really enjoy people sharing the things that make them happy and I enjoy congratulating them on the little and/or big victories they experience in life. I also take to heart their struggles when they care to share those (and they do), and I feel compelled to offer encouragement or share something of my own experience that might be helpful. I appreciate the opportunity to have a window, however flawed, into the lives of others. They share art and music and causes worth contributing to. It's not all airbrushed or too self-congratulatory for me…perhaps I'm just a Pollyanna but I'm good with that. Sincerely,
    ps. I have also wanted to throw my children from a window when they fought. They're grown now and thankfully, they actually enjoy one another's company now, lol…

  18. Keep Sharing Lauren! Thank you for your contribution 🙂 Rebecca

  19. Thank you Susan for your words. I agree, share it all–that was the message of my article. I appreciate everything you said. Thank you 🙂 Rebecca

  20. Joy says:

    So beautiful. I love it. Pregnancy hormones be blamed, perhaps falsely, but I am tearing up.

    And yes– I am sharing this. :o)

  21. misty says:

    I have so much to say about this subject, has been brought up many times recently from all avenues. I think this is what happens if you are unaware that it is happening, if you are looking for yourself somewhere elese, for someone else to give it to you. Facebook is fun, a place to throw your worries to the wind, or cast them out for all to see. It is both, not everyone portrays the perfect life, if they do so what. The problem is, defining what you are percieving as bad, and then having emotional attachment to it. "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." There would be no envy? There will always be envy, it would just look different: why can't I be as honest as her/him/them? In your call to action: you are requesting that others behave differently so that you can be happy. The true test of happy is to be peaceful admist the chaos, too see the beauty in everything, and to learn to dance in the rain. Best of luck in your search.

  22. Thank you Misty, this is how you perceived what I wrote. This was not my intention of the article. Thank you for sharing, I always appreciate hearing from readers! ~Rebecca

  23. Thank you Joy. Have a safe and healthy pregnancy 🙂 Congratulations!! ~Rebecca

  24. LCF says:

    Your Facebook friends must use Facebook differently than mine, because my FB feed is full of both joy and pain: a much-loved dog dying, a relationship problem, despair that a problem will never end, as well as happy news and funny cat memes. Some of the status updates may be airbrushed, as you say, but most speak of human lives in all of their complexity.

  25. kimberlylowriter says:

    Love this!

  26. Carolyn Riker says:

    I needed to read this as a reminder and a wake-up. Some days I'm witty, some depressed as snot, and others just okay. I post. I write. I put up stupid stuff, serious or meaningful. Sometimes nothing at all. FB is a vacuum of my soul most of the time. It can be frantic and manic or depressing as hell. I don't have an answer to a balance yet…but this article…well, it said much of what I feel. so thanks for being real.

  27. leilra says:

    I am you and you are me–something I'm still trying to engrain in my brain. Thank you for this.

  28. Thank you for Sharing!

  29. Thank you kimberly!

  30. Thank you Carolyn 🙂

  31. Ivan says:

    Thank you, Rebecca- this one deserves a whole lot of attention.

  32. Rebecca,

    You succinctly nail it when you write: "Envy erases our understanding that being happy for another’s success and joy does not affect or detract from our personal success and contentment." Are you familiar with the concept of mudita? In the Yoga-Sutra, it is most often commented on as being "joyful in the virtuous" but in buddhist yoga, it is described as literally sharing in the joy of others… not merely being happy FOR someone's success, but simply feeling happy (like a mom or dad feels when they're child(ren) are happy. Just happy!

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post, but am even more impressed that you are in Scotsdale and have a donation-based yoga studio. I live and teach in Tucson and am the founder/guiding teacher of the Empty Mountain Sangha. If you are interested, I'd like to be in touch; maybe via phone or Skype? I'd like to know more about what you're doing "up there" in Scotsdale!

    thanks
    frank jude

  33. Paula says:

    so refreshing to hear. The world of Facebook is so one sided. Sometimes when I am struggling with life, Facebook is toxic. Actually, its pretty toxic all around. Excellent article!

  34. Jennifer says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks for posting your article. I would like to expand on it.
    As someone who lives my life on the fringes, peering into society as an idealist perhaps, and using the gift of yoga to peer into myself, I would agree with much of what you mentioned. I studied Communications in university, and I'm pretty sure that my Psychology of Marketing class was one of the primary factors that led me down the path of teaching yoga; first, to remove the suffering within myself and then to help others do the same.
    Constantly, humans are looking into mirrors, every thing and every one we see reflects back to us something, mostly which we react to with either a pleasant or unpleasant feeling. I think this reality has always been around; what we believe to be bright and shiny in others casts our own shadows of the lack of that in the mind.
    The Perfection mentality was notorious in war-time propaganda; the 'Everything's Great! :D' delusion. And this trend continues in marketing today, bombarding our senses from media, images to live up to that either we can never replicate, achieve, or at least sustain. And we are kept so busy with attending to the acquisition and altering of the physical reality, which, of course, is bound to arise and decay as everything else; and we are left to grasp at the shreds of a feeling we might have or might have never had, propagated by a fairytale in the mind……It all starts within.
    I do think we should be aware of what we show to the world, and that it is definitely more 'real' to keep a balance and sometimes be vulnerable, and this whole business of 'perfection' (which is far from a new idea) is something that needs to be worked at in our social imagery with more 'reality'. But no matter what, if someone feels lack or insecurity, they will see it wherever they look. So I think perhaps an even better answer would be summed up like this….I remember a friend who took Jivamukti training. When Sharon Gannon was asked the question what the best way to help free others, she nearly tripped over the microphone in excitement to say 'Be Free Yourself!!!'.
    Bless

  35. Alicia says:

    This morning, a friend with whom I used to teach gave an update on her daily struggle with seizures that has been going on for over a year now. She was asking for prayers and positive thoughts from her Facebook community. She is hitting bottom as this unknown disease controls her life. Yesterday a person in my small community (less than 600 people) posted about the passing of his mother, so others would know. These are the posts that appear in my feed, and the feed of those in my tiny community. Why in the world wouldn't you merely un-friend or hide the stream of those who are being so false? You are in control. Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with distant family members when you can't afford to travel to see them. If you have news in your feed you don't agree with, "friends" who are fake, or are following a stream that posts "optimistic vomit", then exercise control over your feed. As a technology educator, I'm constantly trying to stress to my students YOU control social media and technology. It doesn't control you.

  36. margaretwaage says:

    Great reminder here – thank you. We often think of Facebook as a platform much like a sounding board but sometimes it's other things too. It is an opportunity to put our best and worst selves out there. The idea of what Facebook is doing to us in return is a worth thinking about because it does have an effect on our well being. Keeping a perspective on how technology with its potential to add or detract from our lives is wise.

  37. candiceantoinette says:

    Wow, Rebecca. I applaud the message here. There certainly is an online phenomenon happening where people misrepresent themselves and their lives and your post speaks to that so eloquently. However, part of me also wonders if it's the type of people one chooses to associate with on FB. Sure, I see lots of travel pictures and "Yay, I got a new job" posts, but I do see sprinkles of every day life in my feed. I wonder if your post speaks more to the type of people that one chooses to have online relations with. I have NO problem deleting or blocking someone if I find them to be consistently shallow or insincere and find that's a great way to keep that aspect of things in perspective. And with all do respect, can I just say that I found it be a conflict of interest that at the end of your rant, I get a prompt wanting me to "like" your FB page? LOL 🙂

  38. sitka1974 says:

    In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as
    you have to defend the imaginary self that
    you think is important you lose your peace
    of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow
    with the shadows of other people, you lose
    all joy because you have begun to trade in
    unrealities, and there is no joy in things
    that do not exist.

    —Thomas Merton

  39. YenniaV says:

    super love this! thank you for this article.

  40. Dave says:

    Wow. I think I read something from you a while ago as well. Regardless I.Loved, This. LOVED IT. I had a moment of realization where I thought to myself "Shit… no one's perfect. NO ONE…" and realized that I was, not only with Facebook, but just in life in general, doing the same things, trying to validate myself and how Im perceived. Wow, and it's NOT just me… which was really a bit of weight off my shoulders. Thank you for some reality that you've shed. Awesome

  41. JEP says:

    This is the kind of quality article I love getting from this site. Thanks so much, it was a great read and gave me much to think about.

  42. Emily L says:

    Most of my facebook friends are pretty open about their struggles as well as their triumphs. I am too. I prefer it that way, for sure.

  43. Pan says:

    Thank you for your wonderful and insightful and insightful truths about the degree of self deception on social media. I avoided FB for years, for the most part because I don’t like to give corporations nad government any more information about me than they already have. When a friend signed me up, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people I have known and loved, but had lost contact with over the years. For the most part, I post comments to elucidate the subject of a picture or two line post on a subject that can not be rationally discussed in two line catchphrases.

    Other than that I occasionally post poetry to the news feed, usually an attributed excerpt of the work of others, but occasionally my own. I have noticed that the better I feel about a post, the less response I get. The people who do respond usually make lucid comments about the posts, but there are usually not many who do. I try to always speak the truth as I understand it, though I’m human and memories can be tricky things as one starts to accumulate them over long time period.

    As a computer user of many , many years, I have come to regret the small contributions I have made to the field. At one time I had strong hopes that email would bring a rebirth of the lost art of letter writing, but after dot com domains were permitted, the hope died a quick death. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express both my gratitude for your letter, and express my feelings about it.

    Sincerely, Pan

    Namaste”

  44. JR says:

    For me, much of the envelope comes from it being able to give certain things to my kids. And even when I do (like a trip to Disney), there's always someone that can always do it bigger and better based on their income. My wife and I do ok (both in education) and we are in a very nice school district, so we really can't complain. But every once in a while its very tempting to beat myself up and coach my children the only way to succeed in life is to focus on marketable careers – the "big four" – medicine, finance, law or engineering. And if you can combine the two, all the better. I entered the world as a middle class kid and after 20+ years of working, I will die in the middle class. Maybe that's ok in the grand scheme of things, but I would rather my own children not to have to explain to their children why they can only ride Toy Story mania once when their cousins were able to ride it four times in one week. It's tempting to say. "Well, here's another example why you have to aim high, because with money comes choices. Fun choices and more opportunities to splurge. Yes, long term there may be trade offs, but in the short term, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you have "won" at life.

  45. nando says:

    Social media is a reflection of society, we all wear masks, we all wear our fronts very well, for protection or whatever reason.

    Be real in real life, and most likely your FB page will be just as genuine.

    Insecurities and other human made divisions are not a new creation of social media, let’s take a step back and have an honest discussion with ourselves, what is really going on? Why do you use Facebook?

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