Facebook comparisons may be all too familiar to many. And the truth is you may not even know it… Comparing ourselves to others for the good and the bad is something that most of us do. We live in a society where self blame and bullying are all too familiar to most. With social media on the rise so many of us find ourselves comparing how many likes and comments we got on a given post or what they did on a Sunday in comparison to us.
Unfortunately when we live life with comparisons and self bullying it affects our lives in so many ways. Judging whether you doing okay based upon looking at others is a very dangerous game. If you really think about it you are constantly shifting your own confidence and sense of self based on others. This can feel like you don’t have control over yourself.
Checking out your facebook is a rather mindless thing to do. Okay yes, sometimes you go on to share or see pictures of those you love in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. But most of the time, people tend to mindlessly go on for the passing of time. But even when we passively look through facebook, some messages may be inserted in our mind. “Wow, looks like so and so is having fun or she looks so happy (but not in a rather I’m happy for her way.”. Or feeling a sense of “I’m loved” or “I look good” based upon how many likes and comments you received.
Perhaps your facebook comparisons plays out in your life like this….
You are at home with your 3 year old and you ask him to put on his shoes to go outside. This then turns into a rather big meltdown (you can fill in some blanks here as to how that happened). In response to all the yelling you are trying to just let him cool down and you start mindlessly going through facebook. You see your acquaintances (which in reality most people are not real friends from facebook) and they are at the park smiling, laughing, and having this good time. You ask yourself, why are they having this good time and I’m in the middle of this tantrum? What’s wrong with us?
Or maybe it goes more like this…
You post a picture on facebook to share with everyone the awesome night out that you and your husband are having. You like the way you look in a new dress you bought and are wanting to share. You are eagerly checking your facebook every 5 minutes to see what people are saying. You find that you and your husband are more on the phone than actually talking to one another….
Helpful Tip→ When you post on facebook: A question to ask yourself is “what are you hoping for with the post?” This may seem like a silly question to some. Maybe you haven’t really thought about what it’s all about or put words to it. But the reality is that many people post for more superficial reasons.
I am going to even argue that many facebook posts, checking behaviors, and preoccupation with what your “friends” are doing comes from an anxious place. Yes, anxiety.
Let’s take a deeper look at the previous anecdote: What would it be like to actually be present with your husband instead of on facebook? Reassuring yourself that you are beautiful and this is a special night just as it is. This may be different for some. And different can cause anxiety and doing what is comfortable for many is facebook time. What does this all lead to?
A world of facebook comparisons rather than living in your moment and being present.
Eventually you wind up in a place where your confidence and ultimately your mood and day is being shifted by what is happening on facebook. But the truth is that this is something that so many people struggle with these days. It’s hard not to compare and focus on social media as this is what has become a cultural norm. Plus its everywhere. We live in a digital world.
Its true that comparing yourself on facebook can lead to self judgment leading to a decrease in confidence amongst many other feelings. However, if we can learn to stop comparing ourselves to others on facebook we can allow ourselves to be more present in the moment and be able to build ourselves up in a real way.
What will happen if you continue to compare yourself to others on facebook?
Living this way can be extremely tiresome and frustrating. Being hard on yourself typically for not such a great reason. Using a very false sense of others to indicate to yourself how you are doing. This can leave you feeling down, anxious, and lonely. It also takes away from you being present in your life and reduces your ability to trust your gut. Ultimately, this allows you to give other people power over how you feel. Not the best of feelings. You can also find yourself becoming way too consumed with facebook. Using facebook as a judging stick for how you feel about yourself. This can leave you feeling helpless, anxious and sad.
What happens if you stop facebook comparisons?
You have the opportunity to feel better about yourself and limit facebook comparisons by making active changes in your life. As a result, you will not feel that facebook is indicative of how good, attractive, kind, likeable or any other quality you desire. You can know this by trusting and being your own guide for these positive feelings.
One of the reasons you struggle with comparing yourself to others on facebook is because you are using outside validation to give you a sense of internal validation.
It makes complete sense that you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed with facebook due to this.
But it doesn’t have to stay this way when you start implementing active steps to reduce the need for outside comparisons to make you feel better. The truth is that this way of making you feel better about yourself is more of an illusion since it doesn’t really stick.
Check out my 5 steps to stop comparing yourself to others on facebook.
Understand what is presentation vs. real. People tend to post pictures when they are having fun, doing something different, look their best etc. Some people go to the opposite extreme and post the hardest parts. It’s important to keep in mind however that a lot of it is more for presentation versus what is really happening for them on a regular basis. I am not trying to say that people who post are not being genuine just that when we see a picture and think we know so much about them its most likely only a snapshot. It was a moment in time and typically people choose those “best” moments.
Here at Simi Psychological Group we work with our clients on understanding this difference. We help them identify when facebook comparisons are happening and ways to use this knowledge to challenge their “habit” of taking it on as real.
After you start recognizing presentation vs real you can acknowledge that not everything is what it seems and that we are all human. This can give you a better perspective and help challenge that automatic those go to thoughts of “she just always seems happy” or “why don’t I get that many people commenting on my posts.”
Catch those automatic thoughts. Many times people are mindlessly going through their facebook feed that they don’t even recognize what they are saying to themselves. It becomes this habitual thing that people do out of boredom and often times anxiety. The thoughts that come up as they are going through the newsfeed often times goes undetected. Pay attention to it. Are they neutral thoughts? Are you thinking about something else completely? Are you comparing yourself? Are you judging you based on what you are seeing? It’s important that you catch yourself using the word “should.” “I should be doing that…” or “I should look like that.” How are facebook comparisons impacting your “should in life.”
Together, with our clients we help them pay attention to these thoughts by practicing mindfulness strategies. These strategies include working on being present focused and catching yourself getting stuck in a cloud of thoughts. We work with our clients on attuning to their breath, thoughts, and body.
After you start doing this you will be much more aware of the messages you are taking in about yourself. This can help you challenge these thoughts better and have more control on the way that you surf facebook.
Clean up your friends list. Do you have those “friends” on facebook that you find yourself checking out too often. Maybe an ex? Ask yourself if checking them out is really coming from the best place in you? Are your insecurities leading the decision? If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to get them off your list.
We work with our clients on understanding the deeper rooted parts to the day to day decisions we make such as these. This helps really understand “what it’s all about” and to challenge ourselves to do things differently.
Once you challenge yourself to let go of the “unneeded” friends you are likely to feel much more relief. Getting at the root of what is really happening with the over checking and calming down the urge will significantly lessen your anxiety and build confidence.
Balance digital time with real life connections. How many friends someone has on facebook is not truly indicative of how connected one feels to others. This is not to say that one can’t connect via social media but real life relationships allows for more vulnerability and connection. Understanding that there is a balance that one should have so that they don’t get too caught up on the presentation as was discussed previously is important. Possibly allow a certain amount of time per day (and actually set your timer!) or just on weekends etc.
At Simi Psychological group we work with our clients on strengthening their connections with those closest to them. We help them tolerate the uncomfort of deepening true friendships and help them reduce focus on friendships that are not serving them well. We help our clients pinpoint ways they can have better balance in their lives.
Once you start having better balance between your focus of facebook and real connections you will see the reduction in facebook comparisons. You will be able to focus more on what is real and making deeper connections.
Okay, I’m just going to say it. Maybe it’s best to take a complete hiatus from facebook. Taking a complete break may be a bit hard if you are one to check often but challenging yourself to completely remove yourself may be the right medicine for over comparing. Removing the trigger that is most connected with self bullying does something really good for your mental health. It allows you the time to help reprogram your brain to connect in different ways and limit the connection you have between seeing others and being hard on yourself.
With our clients, we help them take the action steps needed to help them create lasting change in their lives. Typically these action steps are outside their comfort zone but they are able to teach themselves that they got it and are able to deal with the uncomfortable.
Completely removing yourself from facebook (at least temporarily) can help you feel a sense of relief that you are taking a break from facebook comparisons. You will likely find that you are having more mental space to be thinking differently.
Comparing yourself to others on and off facebook can feel overwhelming and have a serious hit to self confidence. Here at Simi Psychological Group we help our clients get at the root and build up their confidence while significantly reducing any need to compare. Please schedule a call today for a free consultation with us.
Licensed Psychologist PSY 26380
I’m a licensed clinical psychologist who empowers people to work through the roadblocks that are holding them back and find meaning and purpose in their lives.
I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more