We’ve all done it: looked at someone else’s life, tried to imagine ourselves in their shoes, and felt either weirdly bad or weirdly good afterward. It’s easy to feel like that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, especially with social media around every corner. Of course, that’s easier said than done: yeah, you might not be comparing yourself to actual Instagram influencers anymore, but what about everyone else on your feed? What about private accounts?
Here’s the thing: just because you aren’t comparing yourself to people whose lives seem perfect doesn’t mean your habits are healthy. Finstas (“fake” Instagrams, or private accounts, if you don’t use the world finsta), in particular, can be really bad for this. When you’ve got an entire account dedicated to the stuff you and your friends (and friends of friends) don’t want to put on a “main” account, there’s automatically going to be some weird things that come up because of that. If all your friends are posting really negative things, you’re probably going to compare your life to that and try and prove that your life is either better or worse—even if it’s only to yourself. That doesn’t make you or your finsta bad, it just makes you a human being living in our very digital world. There are times, however, where you might feel like you need to take a step back and re-assess, so here’s three things I do to help with that.
Not going to lie, I feel like journaling is the first thing on every list like this, but there’s a reason for that: it works! Social media can be great because it gives you a chance to write out what you’re feeling, but the nature of it means you’re expecting some sort of response. By writing it in a journal, you can process those feelings without getting the disappointment that comes from not getting the response you wanted.
2. Taking a break
I find it really really hard to take time off social media. It’s how I maintain a lot of my friendships, and I get serious FOMO when I’m not logged in. Recently, however, I forced myself to delete Instagram for a couple of weeks and it legitimately helped. Shortly after I got back on, I caught myself making the same comparisons I always do, but this time I was able to recognize and counteract those feelings instead of internalizing them.
3. Validate your feelings
This can be difficult to do when you feel like you shouldn’t be comparing yourself, but I personally think it’s one of the most important things to do. By taking the time to acknowledge what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, your brain will start to work through it on its own. Look at it, acknowledge it, and set it aside: you’ll start to feel better.
Everyone has different ways of dealing with feelings of jealousy and comparison, but the most important thing to remember is that you really can’t change the things that make you you, but neither can anyone else. It’s perfectly human to want to compare yourself to others—just don’t let it take over your life.