The Mantra That Helps Me Overcome Social Media Envy
A friend of mine recently shared a quote that said, “Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes struggle to everyone else’s highlight reel.”
It stuck with me, and it made me think of my own highlight reel—the one on my social media profiles. While I may appear to live a charmed life on Instagram and Facebook (dream job, dream guy, cute clothes), I still have insecurities and doubts on the inside—and my time spent on social media can only intensify those feelings.
While they’re great for keeping in touch with friends, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a breeding ground for resentment. Most people seem to only post the good stuff on social media: the engagement, the promotion, the cute little baby bump, the fancy home, etc.
What you don’t see is what it took to get there: a challenging long-distance relationship, pulling all-nighters at the office, costly fertility treatments, scraping every penny and dime for a down payment. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side—despite what statuses, selfies, and hashtags may have you think.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side—despite what statuses, selfies, and hashtags may have you think.
I know from experience. I recently left a full-time journalism job—a position that often looked glamorous from the outside, full of selfies with celebrities who stopped by the office. When my friends asked why I walked away, I told them, quite honestly, I was burnt out. They just didn’t see it on social media.
I distinctly remembered one Saturday night I was glammed up for #DateNight reservations—but I ended up all dressed up and typing away on my laptop because there was breaking news. #JournalistProblems
That’s not meant to be a “woe is me,” but more of a “maybe if we were all just a bit more honest about the process, it would change people’s perception.” It’s not always glitz and glam. With that in mind, I’m making an effort to be more transparent on my social media accounts and IRL with young women who ask me about my journey.
No, being successful isn’t easy. Yes, it takes a lot of hard work. And yes, there will be moments when you wonder WTF am I doing? What am I supposed to do? More importantly, what do I WANT to do?
No one has all the answers and no one has it all figured out—even that fab person you’re following on Instagram.
Despite writing and speaking about the pitfalls of social media, I still suffer from it occasionally (hey, I’m only human!). Below are a few tips that have helped me keep a reality check on life when everything seems to be Photoshopped and filtered beyond recognition:
1. Swap “Why Not Me?” with “Good for You, and I’m Good, Too.”
Instead of lamenting, “I want that, why not me?” when your frenemy humble brags about her new Birkin bag, let’s adopt a new mantra: “Good for you, and I’m good, too.” Doesn’t that just sound and feel so much better? You can be happy for that person and content with your own life—they’re not mutually exclusive.
2. Start a Gratitude Journal
I downloaded The Five-Minute Journal app earlier this year and it’s been a serious gamechanger. It’s easy to feel down in the dumps when you’re comparing yourself to your friends and famous bloggers every five minutes, but jotting down your blessings at least once a day can help you see the silver lining. Perspective is everything.
3. Take a Social Media Hiatus
I’ve done this a few times to protect my sanity and it is truly liberating. And honestly, you won’t miss anything except for a plethora of selfies, staged vacay pics and overhead shots of avocado toast. If you’re not ready to quit cold turkey, consider blocking apps over the weekend. Your mental health will thank you.
4. Keep it Real
I get it, we all want to appear as though we’re living a picture-perfect life, but that’s simply not true. Imagine if everyone posted no-makeup selfies and closeups of their cellulite; if the sibling fight was caught on camera before the family portrait; if we posted about our struggles as much as our successes. The world would be a much more real (and beautiful) place.