We have a problem. It’s a serious problem that’s affecting our lives more than we even realize. Relevant Magazine calls it the “Envy Effect.” It’s a natural tendency for us to judge our lives against other’s. Well this creates a real problem. Comparing your life to someone else’s essentially breeds one of two outcomes.
The first would be that you’re comparing your life to someone who you view as inferior. Basically, you put yourself up by putting others down. We all have those friends who only post really sad things on Facebook or you can just tell that they are always sad. And it makes us feel better that at least we aren’t that sad or lonely or whatever it may be. This is bad, but it’s not really what I want to talk about.
The second outcome, I find, has a far more consequential result. Have you ever noticed how on Facebook and Instagram, people generally only post good things? By that I mean, the pictures that are posted are usually of an adventure or something really fun that the user has done. No one posts really mundane things. It’s because we all want to lead these really exciting, adventurous lives. We do. You can’t deny it. The problem is that we are comparing the low points of our lives with the high points of other’s lives. Nobody lives a perfect life. There’s so much more than anything that’s posted on Instagram or Facebook. No one lives like that. You need to know that. You need that hope.
I know it’s easy to think that no one has crap like you do, but everyone does. I promise that if you just look at my Facebook and my Instagram, my life looks pretty good. It looks like an adventure. And it is, but there’s much more than what you can see. I post very few things on Facebook, most of which are quotes or Bible verses that are influencing me at the time. I post on Instagram maybe once a week. There’s obviously so much more that happens in a week than one quote and one picture. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been open about some of the harder things in my life. And that’s just a glimpse…
So stop comparing your life. I know it’s not one of those things that you can just quit cold turkey, but there are a few ways to combat this sort of thinking. The first is learn to capture these thoughts. It sounds funny to say, but you have to be aware of your thoughts. Don’t just let your mind wander all the time. Take control of your thoughts. Once you’re able to catch yourself thinking of these things, extract the thought and fill it with something better. Whether that be a positive statement or a reminder that the sun’s still shinning. Whatever it takes, do it. This will change the quality of your life.