Spend just a few minutes scrolling through the newsfeed on Facebook (or any social media platform for that matter) and within a matter of seconds you’ll find yourself inundated with a variety of “stories.” Stories like:
- the birth and celebration of a new baby
- the sadness of losing a loved one
- the pleading & gut wrenching prayer requests for a friend or family member that is fighting cancer
- the engagement of two souls
- the announcement of another school shooting
- somebody going off on a political stance
- the business success of an entrepreneurial friend
- friends purchasing a new home or new car
You know how it goes. You see friends who are enjoying a date night out with their spouse, friends on the vacation of a lifetime, friends who just landed that new dream job they’ve been praying about, friends enjoying a girls weekend at a spiffy resort, etc., etc., etc.
While “seeing” all of these stories, you can’t help but to think:
- The last date night I had with my husband was when we were dating
- I wish I had money for a vacation, it would be nice to get away
- I hate my job and honestly, if I could quit today, I would but I have too much debt to pay off
- Girls weekend getaway? I wish I had the time, the money and close friends to get away with
The list goes on and on. After awhile, you may walk away from your computer and/or mobile device feeling sad, depressed, overwhelmed or even filled with anxiety.
You may start wondering why your life isn’t filled with all of these “glamorous” moments. You begin feeling discontent with your life. And before you know it, you think to yourself, “this isn’t the life I signed-up for and quite honestly, it’s boring.”
As these thoughts and questions run through your mind, you begin worrying about the state of our world. How could there possibly be another school shooting? Are my kids safe? Why does it seem like another one of my friends is dealing with cancer? What has our world become?
You then start comparing yourself to what everyone else is doing. The friend who just threw an extravagant birthday party for her child, complete with homemade, superhero decorated cupcakes and crafts. You hate cooking, baking and there is not one crafty bone in you. Or, you see all the elf-on-the-shelf pictures and while you were determined to not give in, your child is now wondering why “Santa” didn’t bring them an elf and before you know it, you’re out buying one because you want to be a good mommy too; like the mommy’s you see on Facebook.
Where does it end? Is it possible to enjoy social media without giving in to our thoughts that can so easily lead us astray?
Yes you can! Here are some of my top tips to enjoying social media for all the goodness that it can bring:
1) Limit Your Time: We all know it, we tell ourselves that we will hop onto Facebook for just a few minutes to check-in and 2-hours later, we’ve realized that we just wasted 2-hours of our life! If need be, set-up a timer and stick to it! If you only want to be on social media for 15-miutes, then set your timer and once it “rings,” log off and go about your day! Limit your time.
2) Monitor who you engage with: Truth of the matter is, you don’t have to be friends with everyone on social media. If you find that someone you have connected with has nothing but depressing, argumentative, whiny posts, go ahead, disconnect from them and instead, surround yourself with positive people that will speak into your life on a daily basis via social media.
3) You #BeWorthFollowing: We’ve heard it before; it starts with YOU! You can make the decision today to be different; to choose to use social media in a positive way. To encourage, inspire and give hope to the millions of people who are on social media on a daily basis. You can choose to not get involved in arguments online or to whine and complain about things in your life. You can choose to be different and to be the shining light online.
4) Gratitude: One of the best ways to overcome the tendency to compare our lives with those online is to keep a gratitude journal and there are multiple ways to do this online. Make a commitment everyday to add 1-3 things that you are grateful for (not just during the month of November). You can create a document on Facebook, you can create a board on Pinterest, you can upload a picture each day on Instagram of what you are thankful for, you can tweet your gratitude, etc. Kick comparison, envy, jealousy, and discontent to the curb by focusing on what is going well in your life!
5) Give it to God: Believe me, I know how hard it is to see the stories online of people who have passed away, people fighting cancer, disease, sickness and stories of children being hurt, missing, etc. After awhile, it can and does get to you. During these times, when you see these stories, stop and take a minute to pray for that person, that family. Immediately give it over to God and ask Him to make a way. Don’t try to carry the burden on your own, give it to Him. And with that, don’t be afraid to ask Him that if He wants you to help in a tangible way, to make that crystal clear to you. The best thing you can do it give it over and pray.
Social media can be a great tool when it comes to impacting the lives of others in a positive way! We just have to make the decision as to how we will use it.
Share with us below, how do you avoid the comparison, discontent trap of social media?