Not to be dramatic, but I think social media is ruining my life. Mine is undiagnosed, but an ever-present condition. Believe it or not, the average person spends over four hours per day on their cell phone, and I'm no exception. On days I have no real obligations, I'll bounce between various social media platforms for an embarrassing amount of time — and the longer I scroll, the worse I feel. BTW: summer is a particularly bad time to log onto Instagram if you suffer from FOMO or have a tendency to compare yourself to others. Hello, study abroad pics and bangin' beach bods! Goodbye, self-confidence!
I'm kidding, but only sort of. I've definitely noticed a positive correlation between negative emotions and the amount of time I spend on my phone. How could I not? We all know that "comparison is the thief of joy," and social media can sometimes feel like it was created for the sole purpose of initiating comparison. Here's the thing: the grass is greener where you water it, and you can't very well water your own grass when you're too busy peeking over the fence at your neighbor's. The gardening techniques they use on their yard may not work for yours, and maybe the soil on their land is better for growing different flowers than the soil in yours.
OK, enough plant metaphors — you get the point.
Other people's belongings, looks, and experiences are not inherently better than your own. They're just different. This makes sense. My brain understands this. And yet, I don't know about you, but those logical thought processes seem to evaporate the second I open Instagram.
So, what can we do to change our mindsets? For one, when you see a photo of Kelly looking amazing in a swimsuit and start to feel guilty about all the junk food you've consumed today, try to remember that she's probably worked really hard throughout the year to achieve that bod. You go, Kelly. There's nothing wrong with spending a day eating junk food and binging Netflix (really, I'm not judging — this is one of my favorite pastimes), but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to then go and compare my 'might have set foot in a gym five times this year' stomach to someone else's 'definitely has a regular workout routine and eats right' abs.
So basically, my advice is to turn your jealousy into something more productive and healthy, like motivation. It's important to note that I am not saying you need to look a certain way in order to feel good about yourself. All bodies are good bodies and everyone is valid and equal exactly as they are. That said, if wanting to be stronger or more toned are things that cause you to resent others upon seeing their pictures on Instagram, channeling that feeling into the motivation needed to pursue a healthier lifestyle is probably a better use of your time.
This idea of turning jealousy into motivation can also be applied to other situations, too. Let other people's successes fuel your drive to save up and plan a nice vacation, or apply for a job you've always dreamed about but never believed you were good enough for.
Life isn't fair, but I really believe that you get out what you put in. This summer, I'll be making strides to spend less time on my phone and more time working on myself and my life, while expressing gratitude for the amazing life I'm already living. As Hannah Montana once said, "life's what you make it, so let's make it rock."