Do you ever look at the people’s lives around you and wish that your own life was as fabulous as the people you know or see online? Social Media posts can easily fool us into thinking that our life is not as exciting or fulfilling as the people we see on social media. Flipping through filtered pictures of amazing family vacations, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, new home purchases, and many more happy moments, can leave us feeling emptiness in our own lives.
If you suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or are even just a regular balanced human being (I say this with a bit of humor), I think that social media sites can really impact your psyche. For some, social media affects their self esteem. Knowing what friends are doing, where they are going, can cause comparisons and feelings of being inadequate. If you are not doing something as great or exciting you may feel worthless. Your self esteem may be effected and before you know it you are feeling signs of depression.
Many people have stated that they think it is the negative videos on social media that can cause further depression. I think for many it is quite the opposite.
As a classic “Facebook Stalker” I am often looking at peoples photos or watching their videos. I have to admit that this practice often leads to feelings of loneliness. It reminds me that my Mom and Dad are no longer here, and that I don’t have access to my brother and his family who live all the way in Ottawa. It reminds me that I can’t afford to fly away on that much needed holiday in Mexico.
Watching people live their lives seemingly effortlessly, provides a constant reminder that many of us are only existing and not living.
Is what we see the truth? In some cases, maybe, but in many cases, we are only seeing what people want us to see. Rarely do people post the hardships they are facing, or excerpts from their last fight with their spouse. You won’t find pictures of people’s empty bank account statements or reports from their doctor stating that they have high cholesterol and are at risk of having a heart attack. We hit “like” on these posts because we want to support our friends, and we want to believe that what they are sharing with us is the truth.
Now what about those rare folks that DO post endless quotes about their battle with anxiety and depression? Tell me, what you really think about “these” people? Sometimes I want to send a message saying “PLEASE STOP”. Can’t you just fake it like the rest of us? How dare you be honest about how you are feeling. I feel that I cannot be honest and share my feelings on days that I am struggling, because I know how I feel, when I read others truthful posts online. We say we want to know the truth, but do we?
Life is hard enough without constantly comparing our bodies, our jobs, our friends, our skills, our lives and our worth with others. Our self-worth is often defined by how many shares, likes, and comments we get. For most it is not an option to show our imperfections.
How can we stop comparing ourselves to others? I think for me it is about balance. You have to take a break once in awhile, turn off your phone, and get away from Social Media. Remember that life is about what makes YOU happy. Not making your life look perfect through edited vacation photos and selfies.
I recently started making some changes in my life that have helped me focus less energy on meaningless information and social comparisons, and finding positive purpose in my life by doing activities that I enjoy.
Now instead of rushing home and jumping online I do one or more of the following –
- Go to the gym and getting in a great workout
- Have dinner with everyone at the table
- Go on a date with my handsome hubby
- Work on a new blog
- Try a new recipe
- Go to the beach or for a hike
- Read a good book
- Participate in local events
Once you start seeing how good you feel from actually doing something you enjoy, you will start placing less emphasis on finding out what everyone else is doing, and stop comparing your life to others. Help your family do the same. Make time to do things together. Comparing your life to others will only steal your happiness. Time to get out there and focus on the more important things in life — like living!