Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2013. Yet, the sentiment is still the same. Swap out every mention of “Facebook” for “Instagram” and everything still applies.
Most of us twenty-somethings log on to Facebook several times a day. It’s usually out of mindless boredom, but by now, it’s also out habit. We’re bombarded with gorgeous pictures of faraway places where our acquaintances have recently vacationed, statuses accentuating wild nights out and milestones of dream jobs and engagements.
After viewing those things day after day, our own lives tend to look a little bland in comparison.
But why are we so obsessed with comparing ourselves to others? We already know that Facebook is showing us a highlight reel of everyone else’s best moments. Meanwhile, we get to experience every single one of our own share-worthy and cringe-worthy moments.
And again, why do we continuously scroll through our newsfeeds and subject ourselves to such torture?
The answer is both simple and not so simple. We didn’t quite grow-up with the Internet, but we also weren’t so far behind it that smart phones could outsmart us. Simply put, we long to be connected to others and find comfort in finding familiarity.
We want to see that other people are struggling just as much as we are.
However, that’s not what Facebook gives us. It’s really more like the exact opposite… and then we feel bad about ourselves.
Cue the pity party. Or actually, don’t. You are doing perfectly fine in your own life and while you might be looking for some validation of that, Facebook isn’t where you’re going to find it.
So how to we combat this?
1. The obvious solution is to not check Facebook.
especially not first thing in the morning, mindlessly on your commute to work or when you’re supposed to be working.
If you use messenger as a way of communication, send an e-mail or a text instead. You can still keep in touch with your close friends without having to see the Europe trip pictures posted by that one-kid-from-that-one-class during freshman year of college.
2. Put your attention elsewhere.
You can also delete the apps from your phone or use an app designed to limit your social media time. Here is a list of available options.
3. Limit your online friends and who can access your social media.
If you thought popularity contests were a thing of the past, think again. The Internet has a way of rocketing you to the top or letting your plummet to the bottom (but never fear, somewhere in the recesses, someone will be making memes of you). What we’re really trying to say is this: don’t let how many “likes” your statuses have and your friend count determine your self-worth.
Don’t get us wrong–Facebook is a great tool to connect with others and offers more types of sharing than most other social networks. But we also are all too familiar with the negative effects, such as the ones TIME recently outlined. It’s really OK to not overshare or limit your friends list to people you actually know and care about.
Do you struggle with comparing yourself to your Facebook friends? How are you trying to break the cycle?