I never thought I’d be one of those people who fell for The Comparison Trap on social media.
I guess it’s because of my cynical view of social media. Every since I took my very first social media break, I’ve looked at all of the social networks as very annoying if used excessively, and super negative. I hate preach-y (although I love inspirational) Facebook posts and Twitter rants and the overall negative and judgmental vibe that people on social media networks give off. I’ve started and deleted three twitter accounts, and created an entirely new Instagram account to get gossipy or sensational posts that activate my anxiety off of my feed. I can’t do away with social media completely because every job I’ve had since I’ve graduated focuses on social media heavily, so essentially, I treat it like a job, and it’s been working out well for me.
So, I guess you could say I’m kind of privy to the social media game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a member of almost EVERY social network out there, and I do enjoy scrolling through them from time to time. But usually, I know that a lot of it is not real so I don’t feel bad or inadequate when I see someone’s picture perfect life in that little square. But lately, I have to admit, I have been falling for The Trap.
I think it’s because, over the past few months, I’ve been scrolling through social networks way more than usual. I’ve been dabbling in things that I said I wouldn’t anymore because of the unnecessary stress it brings: like live tweeting award shows, following whatever the latest crazy thing a politician says, and reading all of the comments that come after it. As a result, I’ve become upset when my faves don’t win awards, and frustrated at politicians saying things they shouldn’t. And I’ve been putting it all out there, on social media. But why?
I made a promise long ago that I wanted to keep my social networks a very, very positive. No more rants. No more sneers. No more Twitter rants that may be informative but end up bringing your entire mood down. Because the internet already has enough people doing this. We need more light, and more positivity everywhere. So why was I becoming apart of this crowd? Why was I having trouble sleeping at night, as my mind buzzed from social media and wondering what kind of notifications I’ll wake up to?
I realized it was because I was comparing myself to other writers and authors. Writers who had a larger audience that me and more articles under their belts. I started looking at follower numbers and retweets. I was trying to appeal to a certain type of crowd, and trying to keep up with the online conversation that is always happening. Basically, I was having virtual FOMO.
A sermon from Elevation Church called Hidden Issues really breaks down the harm that trying to be someone you’re not can have on your mind and the blessings meant for you. Once I watched it, everything clicked.
I’m going to take a step back. I’m not delete all of my accounts again, but limit my time spent on social media. Although I do love certain social networks (snapchat, Bloglovin, and my Bookstagram) those can be just as harmful as I spend hours looking at other people’s lives rather than actively living my own, subconsciously comparing my entire life to their ‘fun night out’.
Everyone has something that they may have to put a limit on, and for the time being, mine is social media. I’ve deleted my Twitter app off of my iPhone and I already feel my head becoming clearer as it’s not swimming with thoughts about something racist someone said, a meme that I wish I could unsee, or a Thinkpiece that just didn’t sit right with me. This is also helping me keep my social media accounts positive, so I consider it a win-win.
Do you ever compare yourself to others on social media? I’d love to hear how you deal with it!