The Social Media Envy
Have you ever been envious of someone because that person is always out traveling and enjoying life? Do you sometimes wish you could trade places with that girl who constantly blogs about her collection of clothes, shoes and make-up? Can you not help but compare yourself to your former classmates, whom you only get to interact with on Facebook, who now have their own condos, brand-new cars and they even attend the hottest events?
Well, surprise surprise! You’re not alone, my dear. It’s but human nature to think that our mundane existence sucks more hairy balls than other people’s colorful lives. And with the onset of blogs and social media, it just became much easier to brag about EVERYTHING and feel insecure about ANYTHING.
C’mon. We all know pink swarovski WILL take the blues away.
I read about this on Cracked.com (my favorite non-social media website) a few months back. It perfectly explained the psychology behind Social Media Envy and I won’t even pretend that I can explain it to you better. Hence, here’s an exerpt:
We’ve all read interviews with celebrities, or maybe even friends’ blogs, in which they go on and on about how great their lives are, and we wonder what horrible shit we must have done in a past life to be dealt the hand we’ve got now. Bills, relationships, family, jobs … everything just sucks. Meanwhile, everyone else in the world is running around with their sex and money and interesting hobbies. Sure, those people might have some minor inconveniences from time to time, but not like you.
Studies have found that our pain, our unhappiness, the things that bother us, etc., we perceive as much, much worse than anything that others go through. We also assume that our lives are worse and that we are unhappier than those around us.
Part of this self-pity is due to the fact that it’s a social norm for everyone to project only the good things about their lives. As the author of the study pointed out, just look at people’s Facebook photo albums — it’s all parties, vacations, the new puppy, the new girlfriend, the new TV, the gang laughing at a bar. Nobody posts photos of themselves straining on the toilet and screaming that their colon is full of burning rocks. And your photos are probably just as carefree as theirs.
Not THAT carefree, though.
And you know it’s true, right? Just look at your Facebook walls. I’m sure there’s at least one annoying person whose status updates make him or her sound like a Paris Hilton posse.
“Here in a posh resto, having a meeting with some famous celebrity! Ah, I need to go to the spa after this because I’m so overworked from mingling with the stars!!!”
“Yey! I’m finally getting a new smart phone
from my parents since I’m a freeloader with no decent job because I’m tired of my current expensive phone, which I bought just 6 months ago. And my new phone is pink~”
“Ugh! It’s so cold in this foreign country, I had to buy another jacket from that European brand. But I love the food, the shops and the nightlife! I don’t want to go back home yet.”
“You guys should totally join me in my cooking/dance/language/martial arts/design class. It’s like the hottest shit in town and my instructor is half-Belgian! Oh and I’m gonna party in Bora this weekend because I have so much money!”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not casting stones here and I admit that I’m 100% GUILTY of this, too. But as mentioned above, it’s not necessarily wrong per se (unless you know, Paris posse). It’s a social norm to project only the good things and it’s innate for people not to air their dirty laundry in public, except for those emo, hormonal teenagers and them grown-ups with unresolved issues. But it’s also in our nature to compare ourselves with other people who “have more exciting and better lives” and in turn, we can get depressed and discontented.
Admit it, the internet makes everyone and everything look cooler and more fun! Normal people won’t broadcast about their cheating fathers, or the fact that they’re clinically depressed, or once had an STD or that their siblings are in rehab/jail. That’s why you shouldn’t compare yourselves to others and feel envious of them. They’re most likely more screwed up than you think.
That girl on the right looks sooo pretty and can pass for a Kpop idol! Wait, you mean she’s the girl on the left, too? WHAT? More photos here.
Personally, I know people who are party animals and but owe a lot of money, and girls who look so confident and pretty but were abused when they were kids. Yet, people envy them because their lives appear to be so colorful. Why would we even look far? I bet you guys didn’t know that though I loved my job, it didn’t pay as much as other corporate jobs. I have a lot of cellulite and stretch marks. When I sleep, I apparently sometimes snore or drool but I ALWAYS grind my teeth. Like, everyday. I’ve been yelled at A LOT by the boss and some clients and I’ve broken down more than once. But those things you just don’t talk about in public, right?
“You know what, Kring, I really envy you. At such a young age, you’ve achieved so much and you’ve gone places, met many people!”, said a dear friend to me recently and it’s what inspired me to write this post. Yes, with full conviction I can say that I love my life and I’m happy and grateful for everything. But what bothered me was how he felt bad for himself even if he is in a good place and has followed his heart to do what he loves. I even admire him for his skills and talents and I know I can never do what he does. I honestly wish that he would see what a gem he is and not compare himself to me or his other colleagues.
Dear reader, if you feel envious or insecure, just bear in mind that chances are, some other person out there secretly wishes to be you.
“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” - Max Ehrmann
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