As a part of the “Facebook generation,” we’ve all witnessed the evolution of social media. Remember the good old days? The web used to be a safe haven for bad poetry and teenage angst (see also: Livejournal). Facebook used to be about coy, weird Internet flirting (see also: the long-neglected “interested in” feature). But these days, social media is for vacation pictures, and what you’re listening to on Spotify, and how your newborn is adapting to solid foods. And since we’re all plugged in to our so-called “friends’” lives 24/7, I have to ask the big taboo question: why is it that everyone out there is doing so much better than I am?
Friend Y (a distant acquaintance in college…) is planning his fairytale wedding. Friend X (someone I met at the gym…) is looking super adorable in all those photos from her backpacking trip across Asia. Friend Z just won a coveted writing award, and Friend W is in a new television series, and Friend Q’s hot new SO looks like Ryan Gosling, and the list of petty feels-like-injuries goes on and on. So, how to avoid the jealousy? The burning FOMO when confronted with other peoples’ success? In a nutshell: have more self-confidence. But for those of us who can’t follow easy advice, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting Facebook and ilk out of your head.
STEP ONE (Seems obvious, but…): GET OFF OF FACEBOOK.
If you’re addicted to social media, attempt cold turkey. You won’t spend so much (wasted) time comparing yourself to other people if you don’t make a habit of scrolling through all their photos like a lunatic. Tomorrow, attempt to monitor how often you check Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and the length of your visits. If the number shocks you, halve your quota the next day. Get rid of the apps on your phone. Better yet, find some cool other blog (such as HelloGiggles, wink wink nudge nudge) to consider your quick-fix when a real, live conversation goes stale. I guarantee that you’ll be surprised at how little happens on Facebook when you aren’t there – it’s kind of like the ‘tree falls in a forest’ thing. You’re also going to save so much brainspace, for things like Russian Literature and back episodes of Cosmos. FOMO is ridiculous, and you’re better than that.
STEP TWO: Take Stock!
Remember that a lot of social media is about how things look. Yes, your buddy on Instagram consistently makes your mouth water with well-lit pictures of homemade gourmet goodies…but then again, she’s a caterer and a professional food photographer. More likely than not, your life doesn’t look as interesting in pictures because the bulk of it isn’t designed to be photographed. That’s a good thing.
But in case you need a physical reminder of what’s so groovy in your own personal day-to-day, invest in a Kodak throwaway camera and spend the weekend taking pictures of all the mundane things you find lovely. Friends at lunch! A particularly well-decorated corner of your apartment! Your cat! Get these pictures developed and framed and DON’T SHOW THEM TO STRANGERS. They are just for you. Rejoice in the private little things you find beautiful – then you’re no longer kowtowing to the Internet’s constant demand for one-upmanship.