“Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.” – Jean Vanier
Have you ever felt like breaking up with social media? As in, “Dear Facebook, It’s Not You … It’s Me”? What’s driving your frustration? Is it envy? Surely not!
You really are happy for your best friend who just got a promotion—but does she have to post about it every day? And of course, you’re delighted for your brother who recently got married—but all those PDA pics he posts on Instagram are seriously nauseating (especially because you’re not currently in a relationship).
The truth is, we would probably have these feelings regardless of social media—as humans, some degree of envy is inevitable. But when those feelings start making you feel bad about yourself—and your life—it might be time to ask why. And what can you do about it?
First of all, it’s no secret that people regularly use filters, multiple photo re-takes, and sometimes carefully crafted prose in order to get positive feedback from social media followers. You know that. And deep down, you also know that nobody has a perfect partner, hair, house, car, children, complexion, body, and career. So, you’re seeing only what the poster wants you to see. There’s a good chance that you don’t know what’s really going on behind closed doors—so why worry about it?
Why not appreciate social media for the good that it does, allowing us to keep in touch with friends and family with whom we might not otherwise have time to connect. And when you aren’t spending your time wishing your life were more like someone else’s (or the social media version of their life), you can actually use those moments to work on yourself. Want a better job? Update your resume and start sending it out. Dreaming of a relationship? Jump back on a dating app. Wish you, too, had time to write (or dance, or travel) for fun? Sign up for a class or research a vacation destination.
But improving your lifestyle is just one aspect of feeling better about yourself. Perhaps more importantly is your sense of self-esteem in the first place. Practice building self-esteem with daily verbal affirmations (click here to check out examples on our website). Affirmations, when practiced correctly, can do wonders to drown negative self-talk and feelings of envy. For most people, the key to making affirmations work is finding those that feel the most accurate—for example, “I am loved by my friends and family, even when I am alone or feel lonely” (rather than, “Everyone loves me and I’m never lonely”).
Other self-esteem builders include:
- Building a gratitude list of people and things for which you are thankful, and referring to it regularly.
- Implementing self-compassion and self-care—including forgiving your own mistakes, patting yourself on the back for trying hard, knowing when to say “no,” and taking time for yourself.
- Accepting compliments without any excuses or rebuttals.
Remember—social media envy really isn’t about “them.” It’s about YOU.