It has been said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” (Theodore Roosevelt). This holds true even more so today than when it was first spoken. Social media, the evil that it can be, has turned comparison into an art form. Where else can you spend hours scrolling through the curated lives of friends, family and strangers? Just take a glance at your Facebook or Instagram feed. Did you know that there are even people on Instagram that are called “influencers?” I’m not sure what the qualifications are for such a title, but think about what that means for you. Are you allowing strangers or even friends to dictate what your values are? Are you changing yourself to keep up with others? Are you feeling depressed or resentful after spending time on Facebook or Instagram?
If so, perhaps it’s time for some detox. First of all, let me be the one to tell you that you are valuable just the way you are. Today. What you bring to the world is far more important than what you look like.
Secondly, once you have embraced that concept, it’s time for a social media cleansing. There might be people in your Instagram feed who inspire you to be a better version of you. This is where things can get dicey. I follow some inspirational people on Instagram and I often learn a great deal from them. However, these people are telling you things and showing up on Instagram in a way that benefits THEM. Read that again. Yes, your favorite inspo on Instagram is most likely trying to sell their latest book or market themselves in such a way that you rely on them, thus becoming a consumer of what they’re selling.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for detox, I recommend taking a break from all social media until you no longer feel withdrawals. In my opinion, this is necessary in order to start connecting with yourself. Feel your feelings. Start a journal if that helps. Think about how you feel when you are alone with your own thoughts, not the thoughts of others. Write down or contemplate what brings you joy or what makes you angry. Start a gratitude journal. Some days it it will be very difficult to find anything to be grateful for. I know because I have tried this experiment myself and found myself feeling grateful just for the coffee in my mug or the fact that my cat hasn’t puked up a hairball today.
I have found that the unfollow option on Facebook helps me immensely. I no longer engage in political flame wars or spend time thinking about my high school friend’s seemingly perfect life.
If you have never lived a life without social media, you may find this difficult. If you rely on it to connect with important people, shoot your peeps an email and just give them a heads up that you’ll be reachable by email or text for a bit.
I grew up without social media and it’s helpful for me to remember that 20 years ago, I didn’t know or care about what old friends were doing. I didn’t know how many kids they had, where they lived or anything else about their lives and I was okay with that. At first, it was fun reconnecting. Now that I have more knowledge about their lives than I care to, it’s time to reel it in a notch.
If Facebook or Instagram comparisons are robbing you of your joy, take a break. It will be there when you are ready to come back.