Social media has changed our lives positively in ways we never thought possible.
Even then, keeping in touch with real and virtual friends; keeping track of what they are up to can detract us from the goodness in our own lives. Sometimes it can turn to full on “Facebook Stalking“.
Recent findings in the “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?” study showed that one out of three Facebook users felt depressed, angry, envious and dissatisfied with their own life after viewing the site. Those who did not upload pictures or post status updates were more affected.
Social media makes it easy to look at other people’s lives as being perfect, flawless and continuously happy. Through the prism of cute selfies, adventurous holiday photos, and status updates of your friends’ accomplishments, it is easy to magnify the challenges and downsides of your own life.
Is there a way to stop comparing yourself to others so you can appreciate your life more?
At the heart of idealization is the act of magnifying the positive aspects of another person’s life, while overlooking the negative aspects. Although it could seem that others are having a better life than you are, this perspective is not always true. A picture of a friend on vacation in Sicily does not always mean that they do not have problems. They could have a sick family member or an impending divorce. The same is true about your life. People’s lives are not always as perfect as they seem.
You do not have to completely disconnect from social media. However, you can control the amount of time spent viewing these sites. Some best practices to consider are:
Are you projecting your needs onto someone else? Obsessive idealization of other people’s lives could be indicative of dissatisfaction with a certain aspect of your own life. People who are in a troubled relationship can easily idealize others, either on social media or in real life, who seem to have the perfect relationship. Ironically, the more you idealize something or someone, the more isolated and dissatisfied you feel. Identifying what is missing in your life could help you come up with solutions for how to change your situation or accept it as it is.
A major cause of dissatisfaction and projecting our desires onto others is the need to control everyone and everything. Control is very illusive. The fact is that you cannot control anyone, even though some things may be in your arch of influence. There are many aspects in your own life that you cannot control. Come to peace with this. You will also need to radically accept your reality and the reality of others whom you idealize.
Accepting your life just as it is when you feel that others are having the best time of their life is not easy. But you must stop comparing yourself to others and focus on comparing yourself to who you were yesterday. It’s your journey and you can only be you.
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