Comparison vs. Perspective

By Jennifer LaVecchia, LMFT

Let’s talk about social media for a minute. Every now and then I need the reminder that social media is everyone’s “highlight reel” and nowhere close to real life. It’s so easy to get caught up scrolling through your newsfeed consciously or subconsciously creating our own opinions of ourselves and maybe even seeing how we measure up to others.

What are some steps we can take to evaluate the impact of social media on our lives?

First thought, how much time are we spending on social media and how does that time leave us feeling? It may seem odd, but pondering these questions, like what does this add to my life right now or to the big picture, may help us to utilize social media more effectively. Ever think about how this contributes to your overall well-being?

A social media fast might be worth trying out to check our reactions/feelings. Social media within itself is not bad but when it holds more power over us than we know, things can get tricky.

Second thought, is there a particular time of day that you find yourself scrolling through the feeds? Might there be particular emotions you are feeling that led you to spend more time on social media? Being curious of this may help you gain some interesting and helpful insights. Social media has quickly become just a part of life in this day and age. However, no one is forcing us to be on social media so when we take a step back and think about it, where might we end up?

For me personally, I have taken multiple social media fasts at various times and have found them to be very beneficial. I usually learn how much time I waste, how it often leaves me feeling more down, and that actually texting or calling friends is a much better option. I have also really filtered out who I follow on Facebook and Instagram to folks that I do care about and that have more positive influences on me. It is definitely a game changer to have the negativity be out of sight and out of mind.

Another thought to consider, how loud of a voice does social media have in our lives? Is social media telling us who to be or are we allowing real life friends/family to speak into our lives? What does accountability look like for you?

When I think about social media, I think about the difference of comparison versus perspective. When scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, it is easy to fall into thoughts of how we measure up, but think of the difference of how comparison leaves us feeling versus a caring friend offering a perspective to encourage us. We can play the comparison game all day long but how helpful is that really? When I’m not feeling too confident or am doubting myself, I find that more time on social media puts me in a lower slump as compared to talking it over with people that know me and love me. Letting them speak honestly to where I am at and giving me greater perspective into my particular circumstances is most helpful.