Is your Facebook newsfeed full of baby scans, wedding pictures and “We just bought our first house together! Yay!” status updates?
Even as we obligingly click “like,” are we comparing our lives to our friends and wondering where we went wrong?
I get that.
The desire to compare is human. We want reassurance that our choices are good, and that we’re doing okay. How do we do that? We look to our peers and see what they’re up to. We check in on their lives and find out what’s going on. And Facebook provides the ideal platform to make those comparisons.
It’s possible (I promise!) to become so confident in yourself that seeing good things in the lives of others brings genuine happiness in yourself. But if you’re not there yet, don’t panic.
How do we cope when our Facebook newsfeed makes our lives seem less exciting, happy and successful than others? Follow this seven step plan:
1. Keep sight of the bigger picture. Remember that we only see a snapshot of our Facebook friends. We have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, or what demons our friends might be fighting.
2. Remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for. It’s cheesy but it works. Keep a gratitude journal, or just make a point of mentally noting little things that make your day better.
3. Find opposite comparisons. On the very worst of days, use the other end of the scale to help. Think of five ways to complete the sentence, “At least I’m not…”
4. Remember what matters. A wise friend told me, “The only achievement that matters is good mental health.” I think she’s spot on. If your mental health isn’t great, make tackling that a priority. Once you have that, everything else will follow.
5. Be inspired not jealous. Look at what it is about the person’s post that fills you with envy. If it’s their beautiful wedding and you’re unhappily single, join a dating website. If they’ve set up their own business, and you’re bored senseless by your day job, work out what you’re passionate about and pursue it. Think you don’t have time? Then what are you doing on Facebook? Taking 15 minutes to bring about positive change in your life is a far more constructive use of time.
6. Practice being happy for the person. It might seem hard, but our thoughts create our reality. The more we tell ourselves we are happy for them (an over the moon, thrilled, ecstatic kind of happy), the more we’ll believe it. And the more positivity we have in our thoughts and mind, the more we’ll attract.
7. Avoid the worst offenders. If all else fails, weed out the chief lifestyle bragger culprits on Facebook and “unfollow” them. There’s no need to remove them as friends; simply visit their page and click on the little button at the top that says “Following.” Until you’re in a place where you feel sufficiently magnanimous to wish them happiness without seeing yourself in a negative light, don’t subject yourself to it. This can be especially useful for exes.
And remember, when you let go of comparison, you allow yourself to truly be who you are. Embrace that. Being the very best version of yourself will make you infinitely happier than aspiring to be someone else.
Author: Jade Garratt
Editor: Evan Yerburgh