On random days, I’m just scrolling through my Facebook news feed like I always do when pangs of social media envy hit me. Generally, I am quite happy and satisfied with my life. I have loving parents, a loving supportive husband, an incoming baby who I am very excited to meet, and a good career which pays me more than I expected it would. Most days, I can say that life is good. Yet, there are days wherein I find myself wishing I had *insert name here*’s life instead.
One of the guilty pleasures I have in life is that I enjoy people watching. I could spend hours just sitting at a coffee shop, watching people go by, or observing how random people interact with one another. It’s also one of the reasons why I love social media because I feel that somehow it allows me to have a sneak peek on the lives of other people without having to talk to them or having to leave the comforts of my home. Hey, you did set your profile on public.
The latest was a little bit of friend envy. I was scrolling through the Instagram profiles of my friends and I just felt bad for myself because I was stuck at home, being pregnant and getting fat while they were out there – exploring the world! I looked around me and found nothing worth posting about that was as exciting as their posts. I looked at what I did daily which was sleep, work, do a little cleaning, eat, eat a lot, then go to sleep again. What did I want? I wanted to travel too. I wanted to go and take pretty pictures at pretty places then I remembered that just a year ago, where I am now was where I wanted to be. Last year, I was dreaming of being married to my boyfriend and growing through life together, but in that moment, I found myself feeling a little bit sad about it. And it all started because I browsed through the IG profiles of friends – and even random people.
That’s when I thought: Could social media create discontentment?
A resounding: Yes.
I remember my aunt telling this story to my mom, who then shared it to me. My aunt lives a great life. She owns a big house. She’s able to send her two kids to a good school. Her husband is a captain so he earns a lot. She currently has a great career as a financial adviser for Honda cars. Yet, every time she browsed her Facebook, she’d find herself saying: “Oh, _____ is living a great life. She’s eating at all these cool places and traveling to this and that while we are here just grinding through work everyday.”
Was she capable of traveling? Yes, she was.
Could she afford to eat anywhere? Yes, she can.
Still, she found herself envying the lives of people she distantly knew. Good thing was that one time her husband heard her and told her: “What you see on social media is not always what is happening in real life. You may think that they have a good life but they have problems too. Who knows, they might be looking at your Facebook profile and think that you have a great life.”
He was right, of course.
It is normal for people to think that the grass is always greener on the other side. It may look nice but it doesn’t always mean that it is. What have I realized from this? I’ve learned to just focus on making my grass or my life the best that I could. Focusing on making the grass greener on my side is more productive than just sitting there, scrolling, and feeling waves of envy wash through me. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy for my friends. I am happy for the lives that they are living. I am happy for them. I wish them the best! At the same time, I am also happy for me. I am happy for what I have.
I decided to look into what I have instead of looking at what others have that I don’t.
What can I improve about my current situation?
Being content with your life, doesn’t mean that you will stop growing or improving. For example, one of my friends recently became a flight attendant. It is such a glamorous job, to be honest. Imagine going to different cities, seeing different cultures, and getting paid for it. I can’t help but think, “Oh, I want this too. I want this kind of life. I want to travel and be paid for it.” But the reality is, I couldn’t be a flight attendant. Not because I’m married or I’m having a baby, but it’s because I wouldn’t be able to reach the height requirement. I’m quite on the short side of the stick. There was nothing I could do about that unless I get a knee surgery and attach some metal on my legs to make them longer. If I mulled over it and made myself feel bad for being short, then that’s just sad. Instead, I decided to look into what I could do with what I have in order to get what I wanted which was to travel.
In conclusion, if you feel discontentment with your life because of something you see on social media, don’t overthink it and make yourself feel bad. Remember that with social media, we only see what others want us to see. Everyone has the perfect life on social media. We can’t see the whole picture, just little snippets of it.
Have you ever felt social media envy?
How did you overcome it?