Dear Dr. Shyft: I can’t quite seem to shake my “grass is greener” mentality. I have a perfectly great life—a solid husband, a nice home, healthy children, and a rewarding job. I know I should be grateful. But oftentimes I find myself comparing myself to other friends, or often to others on social media…noticing their clothes, their bodies, their bags, their vacations. Can you help a sister out? How can I stop?
Frustrated with FOMO
Girl, I get it. First and foremost, you should know you are not alone. For centuries, people have been comparing themselves to those around them. It is natural and normal. It is our way of trying to figure out where we stand, and sometimes can even motivate us. However, with the advent of social media, comparison has gotten out of hand.
You have probably heard the saying, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” Whoever said that probably knew firsthand that social media is a highly airbrushed, highlight reel of other peoples’ lives. We see the coffee mugs and journals and yoga on the beach, but never see the dog poop in the backyard or the massive meltdown in Target. We have no idea what peoples’ actual experience, history, or life is like, and I think we would often be surprised to hear what people are actually dealing with. That doesn’t mean we keep ourselves feeling good by seeing that others are doing bad. What it means that we have to turn our self awareness meter up even higher, so that we know when we are comparing ourselves.
The next step is to be gentle with ourselves—acknowledging that it is natural and happens to everyone. And third, directing that awareness back to ourselves, and recognizing that we only have control over one thing—ourselves. We can work on what we want to work on, be grateful for what we have, and accept all the rest of it as part of the ups and downs of life. A few tricks like a nightly gratitude list or the occasional social media break can help too. Easier said than done, I know, but like anything else, it’s a practice! So you do you…because trust me, the world needs you, just as you are.