Do you ever look at the Facebook posts of what your “friends” are doing with a tiny bit of envy? They are all successful, fulfilled and live the most exciting lives. They take glamorous trips, enjoy extremely loving relationships, their art garners all kinds of awards, and their dinners look so fabulous. The list just goes on, or so it might seem to you.
Of course, it is likely a bit of embellishment if you really ask, but it still can throw you off. It can make your life look boring and leave you with feelings of lack and loneliness, feelings of not enoughness, and feelings of sadness.
One of my clients made this observation recently and compared her results to those of someone she followed on Facebook. My client felt she had not done enough with the online art class she was offering. She did not have as many signups as someone else. She felt that she had somehow missed the boat and “failed.” In reality, she got more than 50 students in her first online course and the participants loved the program.
Interestingly, the University of Michigan conducted a study a couple years ago and found that the more college-age students used Facebook, the worse they felt. The study has since been repeated with somewhat similar results, noting feelings of envy. What can you do about it? Here are some thoughts for handling times when you feel overwhelmed by what others are sharing on Facebook.
1. Think realistically about what is posted. Most people post the positive happenings in their lives — the good, not the good, the bad and the ugly. They curate what they share — the happy picture without the back story. Remember not to compare your whole life with what we could really call their highlight reel. I have always said that none of us knows what is going on behind the closed doors of the other houses on our street. That could not be more true with Facebook.
2. When you are touched by something someone had posted, like it or comment about it. Leave it at that and move on. Do not dwell on it or look to compare yourself, your business, your stuff to theirs.
3. Limit your time on Facebook or other social media. Instead make some real-time connections, either on the phone or in person. It has a more positive effect on how you feel.
4. Talk about gratitude on Facebook. Lately I have seen posts where people ask others what they are grateful for today. It is great. It sets you up with a positive feeling. It is hard, perhaps impossible, to feel negative when you are being grateful. I think it stops the “comparisons.” Wouldn’t it be weird to be “one-upping” someone’s gratitude?
Do you ever feel Facebook envy and what do you do to combat it? I would love to hear your thoughts on social media below. Maybe you have had some good experiences. You are also welcome to go to leave a comment on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.
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Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.
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