You’re on Instagram and notice a photo posted by a fellow creative entrepreneur of a beautiful dinner party filled with people laughing and smiling, a table covered with food and candles and a perfect city skyline in the background. A wave of envy passes over you.
Welcome to the Social Media Comparison Game. In a world where Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and many other social media platforms dominate, it is trickier than ever to not compare yourself to others. Feeling “not as good as” or “not having enough of” ultimately causes fear and self-doubt, which leads us to staying right where we are. Not ideal. We end up putting our own personal thoughts and projects on hold, and not sharing them with the world.
Even with the best of intentions to connect with new people and share your adventures in business and life, it is often unavoidable that at some point you will find yourself entrenched in this [not-so-fun] game. As someone who works persistently on keeping my eyes on my own page, here are my tips and tricks that help me navigate social media comparison.
GET GOOD AT IDENTIFYING ENVY
Start noticing how you feel when you are on social media. Are there certain people or pictures that trigger feelings of envy and jealousy? What does it physically feel like in your body? For me, I start to feel flushed in the face, a little hot around my neck and chest, and want to withdraw immediately, usually in the form of avoiding my own work. It’s important to know how envy shows up for you so that you can better recognize it and intervene before it stops you in your tracks.
Once you identify the envy, you’ve got to check in with yourself and ask if following this person on social media is good for you and your business. If you find yourself feeling down most of the time when you see their photos, it is likely a sign that you should stop following this person right now. Sure, they post beautiful photos. Sure they seem great. Sure you love their vibe. But the reality is that it is vital you treat your social media network just like your network in real life. You wouldn’t keep people around on a daily basis who zap your energy, so why allow your social media network to do it? Follow and keep people close who light you up, and inspire and motivate you to keep at it. Drop and unfollow people who don’t.
CREATE WHAT YOU ARE CRAVING
Even when your network is made up of people you admire and love, it is inevitable that you will find yourself feeling envy from time to time as people promote and celebrate their lives and businesses. Even though a part of you is absolutely happy for others’ success, you still may not be able to shake that slight feeling of jealousy. Use that feeling to understand yourself a bit more. What is it that you are craving or wanting? Let’s go back to the dinner party scenario. Instead of feeling down and discouraged after seeing the photo, you could ask yourself in your mind, what am I really wanting? It could be that you want to attend a dinner party just like that. Now it’s up to you to create what you are craving by getting out there and hosting one yourself. The key is to become intentional about the life you want to create by treating your feelings of envy and jealousy as personal-research for understanding your own wants and desires. I know it’s not an easy
process, but with time and practice it is possible to have a thriving, inspiring social media network while keeping your eye on your own page.
Jen Wille is a Certified Professional Life Coach for vibrant women who are ready for more. Her warm approach, unique flair to self-development, and desire to help people bridge the gap from where they are and where they want to be is always at the center of her work. Find her at jenwille.com and on Instagram.
The original version of this article appeared on Blog Society.