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How Social Media Is Making You Feel Bad about Yourself Every Day

How Social Media Is Making You Feel Bad about Yourself Every Day

Do you ever feel worse about yourself after scrolling through Facebook or Twitter? Does it seem as though everyone is leading a life better than your own? It’s all too easy to get jealous of others on social media. Vacation photos, engagement announcements, wedding shoots – it can be enough to make you seriously envious.

Symptoms of social media envy

So what are the symptoms of social media envy? The main clue is an overall drop in mood. You might feel empty after reading some particularly upbeat posts from a friend or relative. You may also feel compelled to read through all their posts, or flick through all their photo albums. Even when you feel jealous, it’s as though you can’t look away. On some level, you might even enjoy using their posts as a stick with which to beat yourself. Within minutes, you can spiral downwards into a pit of self-loathing and despair. You might also feel bad for feeling jealous. After all, shouldn’t you feel happy for others?

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Humans are inherently competitive

It may help to understand how this phenomenon arises in the first place. Humans are inherently social creatures who like connecting with others, but we are also a competitive species. The truth is that most of us enjoy showing off to some extent. The inevitable outcome is a society of people who tend to take every opportunity to show the world just how great they are, and how well their lives are going. Unfortunately, it is hard to remember this when you are browsing Facebook, and this is where the problems start. According to a study carried out at the University of Copenhagen, we start to feel envious when we compare our everyday lives with other people’s highlight reel – which is all social media really is.[1] When you fall into the trap of compar ing your private self with other people’s public personas, you are bound to feel inferior!

Jealousy is like real pain

Why is a jealousy a problem? It might feel like a mere annoyance on a day-to-day level, but the effects can accumulate over time. According to a piece research published in the journal Science, envy and physical pain make use of the same regions in the brain.[2] It actually hurts to feel jealous, and it can become a bad habit. Over time, you can become a bitter person who is too busy overanalyzing their own shortcomings rather than living life.

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So what can you do to combat social media envy?

Remove boastful people from your friends list

If you follow people who make a point of showing off at every available opportunity, unfollow or delete them. Boastful people are rarely good friends anyway. If you still want to keep in touch with them, stick to text or instant messenger instead.

Don’t be afraid to mention good things in your own life

If you have some good news to share, spread the positivity! There is nothing wrong in acknowledging your achievements and highlights on your profile. It’s only when it is done to excess or to make others jealous that you need to re-evaluate your behavior. Other people might have good lives, but chances are that you have great moments too. You could also set up a private profile that only you can view. Make this private profile as positive or even as boastful as you like. It sounds silly, but it could be a good self-esteem boost.

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Limit social media time

The simplest way to avoid succumbing to envy is to limit the amount of time you spend reading other people’s posts. Never allow yourself to waste hours looking longingly through a feed or photo album. Set yourself a reasonable time limit per day, and stick to it.

Use social media to connect, not compare

Social networks are designed for positive interactions, not pointless and unhealthy comparisons. Keep your focus where it belongs. Take a genuine interest in other people’s activities, lives, and opinions rather than running yourself down by making it into a competition.

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You don’t have to give up Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms entirely. They are great tools for staying in touch with others. However, in order to combat jealousy, you need to keep a balanced perspective and be willing to take a step back when necessary.

Reference

More by this author

Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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