You feel like you either have no motivation to really accomplish the things you want in life or feel like your self-image is really in the gutter. Whether those things are bringing up anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, over-sleeping, self-loathing, body image issues, eating disorders, or just a slight demotivation to TRY – it’s time to look at your social media habits, friend.
You’ve probably heard someone talk about it. Comparing yourself to others on the internet never leads anywhere good. It probably even resonated with you at the time. But did you realize when, why, and how you were doing it? Maybe you did… but did you actually take action to stop it? Here’s what we do: scroll. Scroll. Thought: “She’s really pretty.” Scroll. “I’m not as pretty.” Scroll. “This person is so good at that.” Scroll… “I’m not good at that.” Scroll… “Look where they’re going, have been, are, are planning, how happy, how successful…” and the pit that you think you sit in gets bigger. Something about being inundated with other’s successes or happy moments seems to make us believe that our successes or happy moments are less than. You probably love your friends and the people you follow on social media… and you might want the best for them… but when and why does comparison drag us down?
It’s oh-so-easy to pick up our phones and click on the little icons and let time float away into oblivion. Let me say this first – there is NOTHING wrong with catching up with your loved ones and the people you follow online. Nothing wrong with it. But when 15 minutes turns into a 2-hour-scroll you’ve lost a huge chunk of your day. You can feel connected and caught up in 15 minutes… but with 2 hours… you’re most likely feeling tired, deflated, and like your to-do list is getting shoved to tomorrow… or maybe this weekend. Eh, forget about it let’s move it to next year. Have you heard of the cost-sunk fallacy? It basically means the more you’ve sunk into something, the more likely you are to remain faithful to it. I think it works the opposite way too: the more you’ve avoided the things you want to get done, the more likely you are to believe they CAN’T be done. Or rather, aren’t likely to be done. So basically not doing anything makes you feel like you’re incapable of doing things. You use social media as a means to procrastinate and wonder why you’re not motivated. Before you think I’m sitting here calling you lazy, understand this: our brains think we’re accomplishing things! Everytime you see someone else accomplishing what you want to do, aspire to, or just being happy your brain sends a little hit of dopamine through your system. This hormone reacting to our thoughts creates reinforces that we are doing something of value. So why would you go workout if you get little happy hits from your brain from watching someone else workout on instagram?
Now, I know you’re smart… and you’re beginning to think of the converse: doing/accomplishing things reinforces motivation and confidence. You believe you can do more.
Limit the Scroll
“Limit my time on social media?! What am I 13 with parental control settings on my internet?!” I hear you but the fact is… if you think that you’re “behind” in life while everyone is out there doing great things…. stop scrolling… and do some great things. I know that is oversimplified….. or is it just that you’re overcomplicating it. There are things going on in your life but you’re too busy worrying about what you’re missing out on online to actually enjoy them.
Kick Untruths to the Curb
Begin to NOTICE when you have thoughts putting yourself down in relation to something you’ve seen online. Then you can ask yourself:
- Just because this person is experiencing this, does that REALLY mean that my experience/talents are less than?
- Is that thing really even something I should be jealous of? Or are there other things that TRULY align with my heart?
- Am I avoiding something by being on social media right now? A task? A project? A to-do? A loved one? An emotion?
Replace Negativity with Positivity
You thought that thing. Whether it was from a place of jealousy or self-loathing… you thought it. It happened, but it’s not out in the world. Go back to that post, and comment something NICE on it. The first time you do this it might be really hard. It might be difficult to come up with a genuine comment about why you’re happy for someone else… but it WILL get easier. You know deeper down within you that you are happy that other people are experiencing good things, so practice bringing that out instead of letting self-degrading thoughts be at the forefront of your mind.