As social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook continue to evolve and provide us with positive ways to connect and interact with one another, they are also impacting our lives and mental health in very negative ways. One of those negatives is social comparison. The very often false life on social media portrayed by many for the sake of likes, followers and good content can make others feel as if their own life is not good enough. Social comparison through social media is a real issue for consumers of all ages. Depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem and a negative body image are just a few ways that self-comparison from social media is impacting our lives.
Rice Psychology Group wants you to know that falling into the trap of self-comparison is a normal response and almost everyone struggles with it to some degree. However, there are ways we can help ourselves not get so caught up in the glamorous life we view online.
All Is Not What It Seems
It’s incredibly hard sometimes to separate the false, perfect lives we see on social media with reality. It seems everyone is more interested in how they can make their life look the most desirable on these platforms, rather than sharing some of their negatives and struggles. And as we view this content, it’s rare that we stop and think about what might really be going on in this person’s life. Are we reminding ourselves that nobody is perfect and everyone struggles with somethings or at least some times?
One example of this is the tragic and recent suicide of tWitch from The Ellen DeGeneres Show and So You Think You Can Dance. If you watched him on tv or enjoyed seeing him dance on social media, you would have noticed how happy and content he looked. He was constantly smiling, dancing and sharing time with his beautiful family and was promoting several new business ventures. He seemed to have everything going for him, a life most of us would envy. However, we now know that behind this “perfect” life he portrayed on social media, he was struggling. We know, due to a suicide note recovered by authorities, that he had been struggling with depression and was facing challenges that he felt were too big to overcome. A very different lifestyle than the one he portrayed on television and social media.
Am I Socially Comparing Myself?
Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone has had a moment (or two or three) where they have compared themselves to something they’ve seen online. Maybe you saw someone showing off their perfectly decorated and clean home, all while taking care of five kids and it made you feel like a lazy mom. Maybe you saw pictures of someone taking a lavish vacation and driving a really nice car and it made you feel like you hadn’t accomplished enough in life. Or maybe you have seen others showing off their perfect bodies and looks (which in most cases, let face it, are filtered) and it made you insecure about your own looks. Let us be the first to tell you, you’re not lazy, failing or ugly. You’re doing great at wherever you are in life! And whatever your case may be, it’s important to remind ourselves that NOBODY IS PERFECT. Say that again… NOBODY IS PERFECT, and what you are seeing is only a glimpse into someone else’s life.
If you do find yourself comparing yourself to someone online and are feeling negative about it, some of these tips may help you through it:
- Limit your time on social media apps. We have talked about this many times before, but try decreasing the amount of time you are on each app. Setting a timer is a great way to help make sure you stick to your limits.
- Consider unfollowing people or accounts that make you feel bad. Your social media experience shouldn’t be a negative one. Unfollow the negative accounts and try following those that inspire you or make you feel good.
- Practice gratitude. Focus on the positives you have in your life instead of what social media reminds you don’t have.
- Remember it’s not real. Posts on social media are designed for attention, not real life.
If using these tips aren’t helping you and you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you can’t seem to kick your social media bad habits, please reach out and speak with one of our licensed psychologists in Tampa.
We’re Here To Help You Feel Good
Rice Psychology Group understands that while perfection is what we all strive for, life can get incredibly messy and overwhelming sometimes. Our team in Tampa is here to help you and your family work towards living your best life. Schedule your free, 10-minute consultation with us today.