Have you ever experienced unhappiness while reading a friend’s post about their awesome life?
Perhaps it is even a sibling or someone you dislike who has found a new romantic relationship, buying a new home or having another child. Their good news could be triggering feelings of inadequacy, jealousy or even resentment if you fall for the trap of comparison.
Consider the following thoughts about overcoming the sadness associated with viewing updates from your friends.
- Comparison can lead to jealousy and become harmful to relationships. Jealousy is about feeling completive rather than connected. Perhaps it is time to make a change and move on the next stage of personal growth.
- Ask yourself if you are experiencing envy. This has to do with discontentment and unmet needs. Envy is about wanting what someone else has, such as material possessions, personality, a relationship or good fortune. The feeling of envy has the potential to go beyond jealousy by producing negative thoughts or bad wish towards another person. My father calls this “Damaged Joy.” Feelings of envy indicate that is time to identify the fear behind it.
- Be kind to yourself by celebrating your accomplishments, imperfections and accepting your limitations.
- Remind yourself of how you have overcome a unique set of obstacles in your own journey.
- Information posted on social media can make us feel despondent if it increases our need to conform, people please (perform) or blame. None of us have the same opportunities, experiences or personalities.
- Ask yourself if suspicions and completion have resulted from viewing only the positive messages and photos which do not represent your friend’s personal struggles.
- Apples & Oranges: Recognize discontentment with your own physical characteristics as lack of unconditional acceptance of your uniqueness. Each of has different DNA– bone structure, hair texture and physical beauty. Diversity should be celebrated. Perhaps just looking in the mirror and giving yourself a contented smile will decrease feelings of gloom, exasperation and displeasure.
- Say to yourself, “I am enough”? If you wake up in the morning only thinking about what is lacking or what you could not do. You may be starting each day feeling behind or fearful that another person will take your place. Celebrate who and what you are now!
- Realize it takes time to learn from our mistakes. Do you need to forgive yourself? Decide to make day-by-day choices that will lead you to your dreams for tomorrow.
Be deliberate about resisting the undercurrent of comparison while using social media. Leave what cannot be changed by living in the power of now. You will find that this energizes your imagination for the future and prevents unnecessary strife. When we walk in the light of our own personal vision, we will not fall into the vicious cycle of comparison, envy or criticism that yields unhappiness.
Beth Holloway, MA, LPCA is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate and has more than 12 years’ experience in the mental health field. She has recently joined the Miller Counseling Services team and specializes in counseling individuals and couples who have experienced all types of losses including abuse, domestic strife, and trauma. She enjoys leading group therapy classes in the areas of Divorce Recovery, Spiritual Enrichment, Couples and Parent/Child Relationships, Grief Processing and Depression Recovery. Beth has had the privilege of traveling all over the United States and to more than 10 foreign countries and has been enriched by learning about people from diverse cultures and ethnic groups.