Every time I log into Facebook, I am bombarded with photos, updates, and life milestones that my friends are sharing with the public. Often times I am excited for them and eager to see more. Sometimes though, despite my best wishes, I cannot help but be a little bit jealous. Constantly seeing photos of friends spending a week on a tropical island, or working an summer internship in a far away city, or posting engagement pictures with their significant other can be rather taxing after a while. As much as we don’t want to, it can be difficult to stop comparing our lives to what we see from others on social media.
This subject has been on my on my mind for the last week or so, ever since I had the chance to catch up with a good friend from high school. At one point in the conversation, we were discussing a girl we went to high school with, and how perfect her life seemed to be going from what she shares on Facebook. We were both happy for her and how her life seemed to be going, but wondered if that was really the whole story. Maybe it was, or maybe it wasn’t. Either way, it isn’t really my business. I shouldn’t be sitting around, hoping that someone’s life isn’t actually as good as it appears. That is such a waste of energy, when the alternative is to simply be happy for people and the direction their life is heading.
All throughout high school I didn’t have a Facebook. I finally succumbed to the site before my freshman year of college began, but that is really the only form of social media that I indulge. I still don’t have an Instagram or Twitter. I just find that I am much happier when I am not comparing every aspect of my real life to the small portion of things that people share on social media. Some people may have more restraint than me, but not letting myself be surrounded with envy inducing images is what works best for me. By no means am I suggesting that I am a better person for it. I just know how social media makes me feel, and I have found a way to work around it.
Despite some possible negative outcomes, I really don’t think that social media is completely negative. I still love seeing my friend’s pictures from their world travels, or pictures of their new apartment, or the cute anniversary photos with a significant other. With social media, we are able to stay in contact with people we might have otherwise lost touch with throughout life. Social media has the ability to inspire us, and allow us insight into worlds completely different than our own. I really do enjoy it, but sometimes I think it has the ability to take a toll on our heart.
Social media has a weird way of lifting us up, and also tearing us down. We can feel validated from the likes we get on pictures or the praise we receive for our cool snap chat story. At the same time, we can be left feeling down when our life is not as seemingly impressive as our friends. In the end though, I think we have to remember that what we are sharing on social media isn’t always a precise representation of our lives. We are much more inclined to share the good, and never indicate that there is a bad. People rarely share anything other than what makes them look the happiest. So while we are sitting at home comparing our lowest moments to the highest moments of our friends, we aren’t being fair to ourselves. Remember that it is easy to share what we like, but a lot easier to hide away what we don’t want others to see.