Self

5 Little Tricks That Stop Social Media-Induced Jealousy In Its Tracks

Photo: Jacob Lund, Tais Bernabe, Olga Murasheva | Canva
Social media FOMO

If you're using social media, you may feel like we are all living in separate fishbowl, isolated but living a way-too-public life. 

There have been studies and data that say we are more unhappy when we spend lots of time on social media versus out in real life.

Why? Because when people post their fantastic times online, it gives you glimpses into a world that you're not a part of.

Hence the term “fear of missing out,” a.k.a. FOMO. 

I did not want to believe that FOMO was a real phenomenon. But then it started to rear its head — first in therapy sessions with my clients who worried that everyone else has a better life than they do, and then when it happened to me.

RELATED: How Comparison Culture Is Inadvertently Harming Our Lives

Feeling FOMO was more painful than I could have imagined. I felt blindsided and bewildered comparing myself to others.

These were supposed friends that I had been in the company of for many years, and now, they were seemingly carrying out their social lives in front of social media for all to see!

Naturally, it made me wonder in a society where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, whether on social media or in person, how can we process that our lives are acceptable just the way they are?

FOMO is also a concept that exists thanks to what Andrea Miller CEO and Founder of YourTango coins as Comparison Culture. A drastically devastating practice our society has convinced ourselves we have to participate in.

But guess what? We don't have to participate.

To better accept your life and stop worrying about what other people are doing that might be more fun, here are five ways to help fight off your FOMO.

Five ways to stop comparing our lives to how others look on social media 

1. Understand that people are often fighting a battle you know nothing about

Most people will readily admit that they post their best selves online (obviously, for validation reasons). After all, has anyone paused and thought about actually answering the question random people ask all the time?

When we are greeted with, “Hi, how are you?” Did you really want to know the answer to that question?

It is a protective mechanism for people to not display their baggage for all to see (and I’m not suggesting that happens all the time either). Be mindful of what you do not see.

2. Use logic

Were you out of town when the event occurred? Did your phone die recently, or did you move?

Did the event occur far away from where you live? Did you recently go through something major and find yourself needing time away from others right now?

Perhaps your friends are trying to give you space (but should still probably check in with you to make sure that’s what you want and need).

RELATED: 8 Ways To Avoid The Trap Of Comparing Your Life To Everyone Else's

3. Inventory your relationships

Do you and the people you feel disconnected from have a falling out or uncomfortable silence the last time you spent time together?

Is there something you need to talk about that perhaps might have precluded you from being involved in the situation?

Be honest with yourself and them. People, even the ones you are close to, can’t always read your mind.

4. Ask yourself if you're truly that close to one another

Relationships are often similar to a roller coaster. It is normal to feel close to people at different points in your life.

If you are single and now you are coupled up, this often changes the dynamics within the relationship. Reach out to some friends you haven’t seen or talked to in a while.

Sometimes you have to make the effort or the first move.

However, if you feel like you are the one making all the plans and no one bothers to include you, then perhaps that is a sign that something deeper is going on that deserves exploration.

5. Plan your own fun

Include who you want, and don’t invite who you don’t want to. Decide if the occurrence should be put on social media, or if you want to keep it private.

Besides, if people feel they already know everything you do in your life, what’s the point of having a conversation?

You know the people in your life who post everything they eat, drink, and in between. Leave some events to the imagination.

More importantly, plan your life and be flexible enough to see who shows up. After all, your life is the one that is most important to be living to the fullest; not chasing after an imaginary higher standard.

RELATED: You Were Born To Live A Life You Love, Not To Be Perfect

Maxine Langdon Starr, Ph.D., LMFT is a marriage and family therapist specializing in adolescents and young adults, partner/owner of Sunflower Therapies, professor of psychology at Brandman University, and motivational speaker on self-esteem.