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Falling Into the Trap

Thursday, August 18, 2016

This article / blog was written by Shola
The article / blog can be found here: thepositivitysolution.co

Don't you wish that your life was this good? Well, maybe it is.

Have you fallen into the trap before?

If you're not sure what I'm referring to, let me give you a recent example.

I have a friend who recently started graduate school to get her Master's Degree, and if you ever met her in person, you'd probably agree that she has everything together. She's smart, funny, down-to-earth, beautiful inside-and-out, ambitious - she's just the complete package in every way.

That's why I was so shocked to hear her admit how nervous she was to start school. More specifically, the reason why she was so nervous.

"Shola, there are so many perfect people at this school. I spent close to an hour on Facebook last night looking up a few of my new classmates, and they are all beautiful, super-smart, and basically flawless. How am I going to be able to keep up with these people? I'm screwed."

This is the trap.

The sure-fire way to know that you have fallen into it is if you are measuring your self-worth against what you see from your friends, family, or anyone else on your social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)

Sadly, my good friend fell into the trap face first. Then again, so have I on numerous occasions. I bet if you're willing to keep it real, you probably have too.

This is the challenge that we're up against.

It's very tempting to fall into this convincing trap, and if you do it often, you are in for a world of pain that could be so easily avoided.

Let's talk about how to sidestep this fate while also maintaining our sanity.

The Unreal World

This shouldn't be surprising to you, but the world that you see from your friends on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media site is not the real world. Not even close, actually.

It is a heavily-edited highlight reel.

There are two obvious problems that come with this truth:

1.) It is very easy to forget that you are looking at our friends' "highlight reels" and not their full stories.
2.) It is pretty tough for any normal person's real life to measure up against anyone's highlight reel.

You have seen all of the highlights crawling through your News Feed, I'm sure. For example:

emoticon One of your friends posted a picture with her new boyfriend having a romantic dinner, captioned, "I am sooooooo in love with this guy! Hess perfect!"
emoticon Another one of your friends just finished running a half-marathon for her 40th birthday, and posted a picture showing off her ripped abs, with the hashtag: #ageisjustanumber
emoticon Another friend took a picture of his perfect family, all smiles, as they were about to board the plane on another exotic family vacation.

And then there's you. You're at home in a less-than-perfect relationship (or no relationship), too tired from working long hours to go to the gym (much less run a half-marathon), and your family life is full of drama, bickering, and stress.

They are so lucky, and your life sucks.

Not so fast. That's exactly the trap that I'm talking about.

We often compare our complete stories (including our ups-and-downs, failures and insecurities) to the incomplete - and often perfect - stories that we see from others on Facebook. No wonder it is so easy to feel down in the dumps after spending any significant time on social media.

If you fall into the trap on comparing your life against what you see online, your vacations will never be as mind-blowing as your coworkers' vacations, your relationship will never be as romantic and loving as your friends' relationships, your kids will never be as well-behaved as your neighbor's kids, and you will never achieve the happiness and peace that everyone on your News Feed is enjoying, besides you.

This option doesn't make any sense.

Comparing yourself against others is a recipe for unhappiness, but comparing yourself against a world that isn't even real has the power to destroy your sanity.

We all have drama. Just because most people don't share it on Facebook, doesn't mean that their drama doesn't exist (side note: on the flipside, I know that some people love to overshare their drama with the world on Facebook, but that's a topic that probably deserves its own blog post.) Most people want to present their best selves to the world, so they conveniently leave the imperfect stuff on the cutting room floor.

It's worth remembering this next time you feel inadequate after scrolling through your News Feed: you're only seeing highlights, not the entire show.

Avoiding the social media trap requires three key things for us:

emoticon Refusing to compare yourself to others (remember, you don't know the full story.)
emoticon Being genuinely happy for other people's happiness and success.
emoticon Most of all, having the self-love to remember that you have your own highlights to celebrate too.

This brings out a more important question, though. Why is everyone so afraid to show the world their less-than-perfect moments?

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Just my own thoughts: Okay. I have been there and done this! How about you? It's so easy to compare ourselves to what others have. Heck I'd love to have enough money to pay my bills every month but with my hours cut at work, that's impossible right now. (although on a quick side note, starting next week they are being increased back to 40 hrs a week). I'd love to lose weight as quickly as others do, but am I willing to give up what I enjoy to get there? Who knows but we? Life is full of surprises. Some we ask for others land in our laps. How we are willing to accept these surprises will be the real challenge.

So quit comparing yourself to others and enjoy what God has provided for you. emoticon

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Just for kicks ~

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