Fighting the Urge of Comparison and Fear of Missing Out: In the Age of Social Media

August 8, 2017

 

“Comparison is an act of violence against the Self” - Iyanla Vanzant

 

 

“I got the job.”

  

“Living my best life #worldtraveler”

 

“Family comes first #FamilyOverEverything”

 

"Party was litttt last night #lituation"

 

Do any of these statements ring a bell to you? These are post that we frequently see flooding our timelines on our various social media accounts each and every second !! For me personally and many others I know, thoughts can arise in our heads like:

“Wow they look so happy.”

Or

“They’re so lucky to have this job.”

 

We fail to realize that most social media posts mainly focus on the highlights of people lives. Rarely do individuals post about their ups and downs creating a well rounded view of their truth. With social media so accessible, if you’re having difficulties finding a job, seeing a post about someone else landing their dream job could possibly be disheartening at the moment. As humans we never had  people's lives at our fingertips, so content seemed not so far fetched. 

 

When I saw certain pics, I did not necessarily feel jealous but, feelings of incompleteness or disappointment washed over me. There was a time in my life where I was comparing many moments to other people lives on Snapchat.  As I watched each snap, I thought, I’m sitting here studying or chilling and they seem to be having the time of their life instead of focusing on myself. Also, when I would see others turning up on my timeline, I would develop FOM, fear of missing out (seeing people out and about made me feel like I needed to trade my "boring" self care/study days for margaritas/museums). 

 

One habit I struggle with is the act of comparing my happiness to others even if I’m at peace in the moment. I remember a time when I was struggling to find a secure friend group, I would go on social media and see people with their best friends  and feel melancholic. Additionally, My family goes through rough patches where someone is not speaking to the other person so I would often compare the state of my family with what I perceived as a happy stable family, especially on the holidays (the matching pajama Xmas pics would always get to me!). It was causing me to crave the life of someone else and the moments in their life. 

 

This plague of comparison trickled down to me comparing friends, career paths and even my relationship. These comparisons do not testify to how happy we are in the moment, it more so paints a picture of the grass being greener on the other side, when that may not be the reality at all!! Comparison does not benefit us in any shape or form. When we compare we build false realities of who we think we need to be.   

 

I think because of this we have to take time out to think about the thoughts we are having when looking on social media and whether or not we are self-sabotaging ourselves by comparing ourselves to others. My first step to dealing with my bad habit was deleting Snapchat which for sure was not easy! But I knew it wasn’t healthy for me and the urge to compare was overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I think its fun to know what my friends are doing and to be inspired by others. However, everyone goes through different phases in life, where seeing certain images and posts constantly may not be healthy for you at a given time. 

 

These images that whisper negative messages to us such as "we are not enough" can also be pictures or videos of exes, former friends or even people who have hurt us in the past. Although, I do think there is so much positivity and dopeness to be spread through social media, it’s important to reflect on the thoughts that pop up as we mindlessly view the lives of others. Are you thinking: Am I as attractive as them? Do I have friends like this? Is my life boring? Should I be out right now? Is my exe's new boo better than me?

 

Eventually, after speaking with my counselor I realized that I needed to work on reframing my thoughts and fighting the urge to compare. Additionally, my good friend brought it to my attention that I have fear of missing out when I see my friends doing turning up so I started putting my phone down on those days I was studying or inside for the night. I will not say that I never compare myself with others, like let's be real, Rome wasn't built in a day! But I have made great strides to reframe my thoughts when I feel the urge to compare my situation, body or life to others. I built a habit that has significantly changed my thought process and brought me self-satisfaction by

 

1.     Expressing Gratitude: BEING GRATEFUL FOR WHAT I DO HAVE

2.     Remembering that what is meant for me will be for me: ALL ABOUT THAT LAW OF ATTRACTION~ I WILL ATTRACT WHAT'S MEANT FOR ME

3.     Writing a list of affirmations: I AM ENOUGH is an affirmation that always speaks to me when I feel the urge to compare myself

4.     Taking the time to take breaks from social media: I DON'T NEED TO SEE YOU PARTYING ON A FRIDAY NIGHT WHILE IM SIPPING WINE AND WATCHING INSECURE

5.     Remembering that Social Media mainly is a trailer not the whole film!

 

 

EXPLAIN YOUR 5 STEP PROCESS IN DETAIL ON HOW YOU PLAN TO COMBAT FOM AND COMPARISON:

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