Are you satisfied with your life?
If not, social media may be playing a role.
Life dissatisfaction has been linked, in studies, to FOMO. FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out and nothing seems to bring it to greater light than spending time on social media. Constantly scrolling through the highlights of other people’s lives makes us compare their shining moments to our own, and wonder if we’re missing out, if we’re not measuring up, if we’re somehow lesser or doing this whole “life” thing completely wrong.
Social media takes lifestyle “envy” to a whole new level. Whether the fear of missing out drives us to social media in the first place is unclear, but we all have a need to be a part of the “happenings”—whatever they may be.
All this time spent on social media networks is even an indicator in failing marriages, according to Dr. James Katz, Professor of Emerging Media at Boston University. If we’re honest, it affects us all.
We’re exposing our lives for the hope of “likes,” of jealousy, and of approval. Vacations to sunny destinations, engagements, and birth announcements are posted constantly. Whether that twinge of jealousy on Facebook, comparing your followers on Twitter, or pinning items you feel that you will never have on Pinterest, social media can put a damper on our mood. But it doesn’t have to. Social media can actually improve our attitude of gratitude, help us form deeper connections with others, and increase our happiness. In order to make that the outcome, we have to keep a few things in mind…
Remember that adage, “Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside.” Just like you are, pretty much everyone on social media is posting their better moments. Unless we are seeking some type of reassurance or support, we don’t often post the 2 a.m. breakdowns, the work “failures,” or the overwhelming college debt. Everyone behind those Facebook profiles, those Pinterest boards and the Instagram #travel accounts is only human. We all have our good times and our bad, but the internet has a way of glossing over anything less than photo-worthy or uncomfortable.
Go ahead and share your best. Be uplifting and fun with your profiles, just remember that others are doing the same thing, while still experiencing the full range of emotions that make us real. Wasn’t it Kylie Jenner who said “Instagram is a made-up world”? Preach.
Maybe you’re not lounging in Bora Bora like your college roommate at the moment, but you also don’t know how hard she worked to get there. Be thankful for where you are right now and use your friend’s gorgeous pictures as motivation to move your career forward. I know it’s easier said than done. But the fact that you have internet and access to all those social media accounts means that you are among the top in the world in terms of affluence. Plus, you are reading this. Did you know that there are an estimated 775 million people in the world who are illiterate? We are blessed, my friend.
Rather than focus on the envy of others’ lives that social media can evoke, let’s look at the opportunity. Positive change is happening at a never-before-seen rate. We now have the ability to share our loves and our passions with the world. We can promote charities and organizations that are doing wonderful work. Travel while staying in touch with our families. Work from almost anywhere, learn, and grow. We can take social media and use it as a means for connection, not on the shallow level it has become known for, but a much deeper one.
So, what do you think? Can we turn this “envy” around and use it to fuel our action and dreams?