Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: You wake up in the morning, pick up your phone and begin scrolling through your Instagram feed. After a few minutes, you start feeling a little down about yourself. Everyone you follow seems to be living the perfect life. They’re in healthy relationships. They’re traveling the world. They’re killing it on YouTube. In essence, they appear to be living the life you so desperately want to live.
If you spend a good amount of time on Instagram or Facebook, chances are you’ve experienced social media envy. It’s when feelings of self-doubt, frustration and even anger creep into your mind after seeing what other people post on social media. If you’ve ever had these feelings, there’s no reason to feel ashamed about it. We’ve ALL been there. Social media envy is very real, and if left unchecked, it can cause you to spiral into a dark hole of sadness and depression.
Is there any way to control or even stop feeling envious of the people you come across on social media? You betcha! Listed below are five tips to help you live a happier life, free from social media envy.
1. Remember It’s Not Real. Here’s the thing about social media: Most of the photos and videos that you see on Instagram and Facebook are unreal and/or they’re an exaggeration of the truth. People only share what they want you to see. They show their new car, but they don’t disclose that they went into massive debt to purchase it. They show their significant other, but they neglect to mention that the relationship has as many ups and downs as a roller coaster. They share the perfect selfie, but they don’t share the “before” picture—the one BEFORE all of the filters. The point I’m making here is that social media often paints a very unrealistic picture of a person’s life. It’s important to remember this the next time you start to feel a little envious of what you see on your social media feed.
2. Unplug. Every month there seems to be a new social media platform that pops up and and takes hold of our attention. With the growing popularity of social media sites, it can be very easy to become consumed with other people’s lives. We want to see what this person is doing and where that person is going. We become so consumed with the minutia of other people that we forget to live our own God-given lives. If ever you start feeling jealous of what you see on social media, simply step away and unplug for a while. It’s totally okay to take a break from Instagram for a few days. I promise you, it will still be there when you’re ready to go back. Unplugging will give you an opportunity to nourish real relationships with your friends, family and God. I challenge you to give it a try! You won’t regret it.
3. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others. You know the old saying “Comparison is the thief of joy”? Well, it’s especially true when it comes to social media. Because social media sites like Instagram and Facebook are filled with so many lies, it’s never good to compare yourself to what you see on someone’s page. It only hurts you. In order to overcome social media envy, you have to find your own happiness, a happiness that doesn’t sway based on what someone else is or is not doing on social media. You have to know that you are enough. Where you are in life is where you’re supposed to be. If you believe that God is for you, then you know that He is blessing you and will continue to do so.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Unfollow. As a general rule, you should never follow anyone on social media that makes you feel bad about yourself and where you are in life. It’s the equivalent of keeping a friend around who brags about what they have and taunts you for not having it. If you find yourself feeling down or envious about what some random person on social media posts, it’s okay to unfollow them. In fact, I encourage it! Keep your followers limited to those people who are actually your friends and those who actually make you feel good. Oftentimes, social media can make you feel as though you have to follow all of the big makeup gurus, the fashionistas and the YouTubers. However, many of them are only posting the highlight reel of their life. You only see the good. Don’t ever hesitate to unfollow someone, especially if following them is putting your happiness at risk.
5. Stay Close to God. The Bible says “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot” (Proverbs 14:30). When you start to feel overwhelmed and weakened by feelings of envy, draw closer to The Lord. Who else can calm your heart and quiet your storms like God can? As humans, it’s natural for us to feel jealousy—that’s why it’s so important to turn to The One who strengthens us during those times. So instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed every morning, consider opening up your Bible. Start your day with God and keep envious thoughts at bay.
I truly hope that these five tips work for anyone suffering from social media envy. If you have your own tips to share, feel free to comment below!