I was recently listening to the radio and the host talked about a study dealing with the social media comparison trap. In this particular study, women felt worse about their bodies when they looked at Facebook compared to looking at skinny and beautiful models in magazines. I thought this was so interesting. Nowadays so many women acknowledge the fact that social media makes them feel “less than” or bad about their lives. Yet as a society we don’t do anything to fix the problem. I’ve written about Facebook versus Real Life before and how dangerous it is to play the mommy comparison game, yet I still find myself doing this! So often I think about this quote from Steven Furtick “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Do you ever think “I need a moment to relax so I’m going to scroll through social media and see what’s happening in world?” Then after a few minutes of scrolling your mind starts to wonder and in a matter of minutes you start worrying. “Maybe I should be teaching my daughter more? Maybe I should be going to the gym more and eating less meat? Or maybe I need to buy new clothes, then I’ll feel better.” It’s a slippery slope! I want to share some ways to combat this social media comparison problem. Instead of just acknowledging the problem, I want to be more proactive about preventing it and fixing it!
Ways to Stop Comparing Our Lives on Social Media
- Limit Your Time on Social Media: I often think about stopping social media and how much time I spend scrolling through the different apps on my phone. Unfortunately as a blogger it’s almost impossible to avoid social media if you want to continue blogging. Times where I did step back I was refreshed and found more focus. I believe it is important to take some time away from our phones and computers every so often. There is something special about face to face interaction and spending time outside in nature. I’ve heard of people limiting their time on these apps to 30 minutes a day or 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. You need to figure out what works best for you, but limits may need to be set. Find someone to hold you accountable if you struggle with setting the boundaries for yourself.
- View Social Media With a Filter: Before you even log on, remind yourself of this comparison trap. Acknowledging it and bringing awareness to it can help you catch it as soon as it starts. If this means blocking certain people or filtering photos ahead of time to protect yourself, do it! Become aware of your vulnerabilities and instead of feeling bad about it, protect yourself.
- Practice Thankfulness: This seems to be my answer for everything! When we start comparing our lives to others and feeling sorry for ourselves we need to take a step back. Instead of comparing, remember what you are thankful for. We all have things to be thankful about and it doesn’t always have to be a big thing. It can be as simple as I’m thankful for warm coffee in the morning or I’m thankful for the sunshine today. When we practice thankfulness we are changing our perspectives. It can even increase our personal happiness. When we build our self-esteem and practice thankfulness we are less likely to fall into the comparison trap.
- Post More Real Life Photos: No one wants to be the negative Nancy online and always be the one who complains on social media. Yet at the same time we need to change the culture and stop trying to make our lives look perfect. No one is perfect! Community and friendships are so important because we need people to share our struggles with. On my social media accounts, I try to find a balance between showing happy and perfectly cropped photos and sharing our real life battles. I don’t want to always be complaining, but I don’t want people to feel bad about themselves when they view my posts. How do you find the balance in this?
- Find Your Purpose in Christ: It’s easier said than done, but when we find our identity in Christ we don’t need the world’s approval. God loves you so much and no matter what you do His love for you will never change. That’s hard to fathom! I don’t want to find my identity in worldly possessions or the size pants I wear. I know who I am in Him. A daughter of the most high God. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He knit me together perfectly in my mother’s womb and He even knows the number of hairs on my head. The same is true for you! Speak these truths out loud every day and see how your perspective changes.