Have you, like me, ever been on the sofa in your pajamas on a Saturday night? And on said Saturday night, have you ever scrolled through your Facebook or Twitter to see everyone else out and about, posting photos of their exciting lives? What do you say to yourself in that moment? And how does that feel?
For many, social media websites have become a favorite spot for people-watching. It can be fun to watch a friend’s child from across the country grow up through photo updates, or to share your photos and the excitement of a new home or other accomplishment. Technology has allowed us to peek into the lives of others with ease. And while it can certainly be fun to post a photo of your new car or the flowers your sweetie surprised you with, posts like these from others may also lead us to other, less-fuzzy feelings.
I often hear from my clients that a trip down Social Media Lane regularly results in hurt feelings, sadness or jealousy.
“Why does everyone else lead such interesting lives? It feels like I am the ONLY one not —- (out with friends, having a baby, eating a fancy meal, getting engaged… fill in the blank as it applies for you!)
Thoughts like these are not only unhelpful, but they’re also not taking all of the facts into account.
When your social media research suggests that you’re the only one still single, the only one home on the sofa, or the only one with a boring job – whatever it is – remind yourself that people are only posting their EXCITING news on social media. You’re not likely going to read about a friend’s baloney sandwich or Saturday night spent folding laundry. Realize that when you log in to social media, you are getting a biased sample of information. Even though you may FEEL alone in one way or another, you’re probably not – people just aren’t posting about it! If you remind yourself of this fact, you may find your anger, jealousy or sadness subside.
I am asking you to try to be mindful of your self-talk while braving the social media storm, but I know that it may not always work – sometimes the feelings are so intense or the thoughts so persistent. So what can you do then? Easy. UNPLUG. Walk away. If these social-connectedness tools aren’t making you feel socially connected, I suggest you put down the internet device and find something else to do!
More specifically, try to use those feelings in a proactive way. If you have something that you would like to achieve, I can almost promise that you need to log off of Facebook to do it. So what are you waiting for? Set a goal and get to it!