Self, Heartbreak

3 Ways To Deal With Jealousy On Facebook

I have this thing with my clients that I refer to as "Facebook Fury." This occurs when my clients use Facebook to abuse themselves rather than amuse themselves. Have you ever done that?

Have you ever looked at Facebook and the posts that people make about their new car, new house, new boyfriend, new girlfriend, engagement, wedding announcement, pregnancy announcement, winning lottery ticket, etcetera, etcetera and then sat down to realize that their life is "Just. So. Much. Better. Than. Mine. Everyone's life is better than mine!"

Do you then begin to just sit there and think that your life is not good enough or that you are not good enough? Do you ever wish you had someone else's life or someone else's possessions or someone else's circumstances? Have these wishes ever caused you to feel rage and depression?

If so, you've experienced Facebook Fury. That uncomfortable lurking feeling, that we call jealousy that causes us to hate ourselves and other people for no other reason than the fact that we don't have what someone else does.

Facebook jealousy is an interesting one because you are comparing your back-end to someone else's front-end. You are comparing the way you are feeling inside to what this person is choosing to share with the world.  Most people won't choose to update their status with, "Just woke up and wondered how we're going to pay the mortgage this month. My hair is falling out from all the stress and my husband and I haven't spoken for  three days..."  

No, they'll take a photo of their backyard and write, "Beautiful view of the snow from my back window.." So you're not actually comparing your life to someone else's, you are just comparing the pain that you are feeling to whatever fantasy you have constructed about their life based on their status updates.

But what if this person really does have everything that you want? What if your jealousy is warranted.  I say try not to fall into the downward trap, that vortex where you get stuck inside of the jealousy and cannot see past it. The big problem with jealousy is that when you compare yourself to other people in an extreme way, you rip yourself to shreds, and then cease living your own life.

You begin to look at what other people have and sometimes even obsess on it or on or what they are doing and believe that that is the life you are supposed to have, and because you don't, your life is not good enough. You might even begin to take yourself down or demolish the other person.

Some examples of this behavior are thinking, "She's very pretty, whenever we go out together, men pay attention only to her; therefore, I must be ugly, I hate myself," or  "Yeah, lots of men find her attractive, but she's not very smart and men really only like her because she's a slut."

These kinds of thoughts are a jealous response to someone's attributes that you would like to have for yourself. But you have to remember that just because someone is smart doesn't mean you're not smart.

Just because someone is beautiful doesn't mean you're not. Just because someone is successful doesn't mean that you can't be. Just because someone is happily married does not mean that your life is meaningless because you are not.

Jealousy, broken down into its core components is anger at someone for having something that you don't because on some very primal level, you believe that they are stealing something from you. Your unconscious belief is that, "If they have it, I can't have it." Some people use comparison to figure out how they're doing in life. 

Perhaps if we can see who has the most money, the most thriving business, the most well-behaved children, the most expensive clothes, the fiercest body, the biggest house, the hottest wife, we can know where we stand and let other people know where we stand.

But none of that is real. The only thing that really matters is how you feel about who you are without thinking too much about what other people are seeing or what you are seeing in other people. When you find yourself embroiled with jealousy, here is how to handle it:

  1. First, notice if you are trying to destroy someone in your head. Are you saying that there is something wrong with them? That they are not good enough? That they don't deserve what they have. Stop doing that immediately. Cutting someone down won't help you get to the place that you want to get. It will just make you feel bad. Putting someone down to elevate yourself won't actually elevate you, it's just an illusion. It causes you to believe that you are leveling the playing field, but you are not doing anything for yourself, you are not making yourself a better person and you are not bettering your circumstances by putting someone else down.
  2. Then ponder, what is it that you're jealous of. Is this something that you can have? If so, how can you get this thing. If not, think about how your life differs, and what makes you and your life unique and how you can continue on your own life.
  3. Empower yourself by thinking about what in your life you can control and making moves to go there. Jealousy can either be disempowering or it can be a catalyst in helping you get to where you want to be. When you get trapped it in and let it eat you alive, it's obviously harmful. But when it gives you information about something you want, it can be useful.

When you make a solid choice not to obsess on what other people have you are able to take a realistic look at what you do have, what you want more of, what you want less of and why you are making that choice. You then have autonomy and a life of your own. 

When you've made that distinction, try to move forward on your own path in life without using other's lives to make you feel good or bad about your own. Make your own life meaningful to you.

You only get this one shot at living your life with meaning, you get to choose what is important to you rather than choosing what is important to others due to jealousy or envy. You get to create your life the way you want it despite what anyone else does or thinks or has. It's all you in this lifetime. Make it wonderful and make it yours. 

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