More Facebook More Problems: How To Feel Happy For Others In The Social Media Age

Social media can spread a lot of joy.

A cousin’s photo displaying her ring right after getting engaged.

A friend’s video of her new baby giggling uncontrollably.

A coworker’s view of the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  

But these same joyful images can also cause you as a member of the audience to feel less than. If you recently went through a breakup, hearing news about a family member getting engaged can spark feelings of jealousy. If you’re feeling your biological clock ticking, an innocent baby video can send twinges of panic down your spine. When you’re not making enough money to travel, the Eiffel Tower seems worlds away.

It is easy to compare your daily life to the shiny moments on display in your Instagram feed. Jealousy is not only an icky emotion that lessens your own personal experience but takes away all happiness we do have for our friends when they are doing well.

If you still get jealous like Nick Jonas, these tips and accompanying mantras may help you to take a step back, reevaluate, and feel happy for others’ successes.

1 | Recognize that what you see on social media is not real life.

While there are some of us who share the humorous and messy moments of life with others, realize that most of what you see on social media is a highlight reel curated from someone’s existence. If a friend shares a snap of her first day on the new job, what you do not see is how many positions she applied to before landing her dream role. The more you can process social media with this in mind, the less you will find yourself playing the comparison game with what you see others share. Choose to follow friends who share not merely the perfect brunch shot or #ootd but real life’s imperfect moments that make you smile.

When I’m scrolling through social media and feel feelings of jealousy bubble up, I resort to this mantra: I recognize that what I am viewing is stunning or astonishing but it is just a small glimpse into this person’s life.

2 | Do not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

We all experience life on a drastically different timeline. The danger lies in comparing your age 30 to a friend’s age 30. So many aspects come into play that it is unfair and inaccurate to compare.

Instead of comparing where you’re at to where your friend is at, compare your right now to your last year. The only accurate comparison we can make is if you are stronger than you were last year. More confident that you were last year. Happier than you were last year. That is truly the only comparison you are educated enough to make.

Keep in mind that we travel very different paths. Celebrate the successes you have already experienced, no matter how small they may seem. Perhaps you aren’t as far along in your career as a friend, but you may be a fantastic mother in addition to a talented professional. Celebrate it!

When I’m feeling frustrated with where I’m at, I repeat this mantra: I am thankful for where I am at now and I am excited for where I am headed.

3 | Know that there is room for all of us.

Allow others in your same field (or in your same graduating class, or in your same town, etc.) to inspire you. There is room for all of us. As a yoga teacher, I support others in my field. I go to their classes and perhaps learn from them a new core exercise I have never seen before. Then I take what I picked up from their class and make it my own. How boring would yoga in my community be if there was just one yoga teacher and just one style of practicing. We share ideas and collaborate so that our own teaching strengthens and our community of thriving female teachers grows as well. There is space for all of our ideas and for all of our personalities to shine.

When thinking of others who are pursuing something similar to what I am pursuing, I remember this mantra: You support me and I support you. Together we all grow.

Have you ever found yourself playing the comparison game? What methods have you used?

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