It just has become too easy to swipe your fingers along the screen of your phone, to click on a photo or video, and people’s everyday life flashes right in front of your eyes; all happy and glamorous. They seemingly have done everything right in life, whereas you might feel like your life is rushing past you with you barely catching up, and the lingering feeling remains that you missed the train to the life you always wished for.
There’s no right speed through life. But the constant encounter of people on social media who seemingly have their life together leaves a bitter aftertaste on our tongues. Before you realize your brain starts comparing your life to theirs until all you see is what you don’t have. The sudden urge arises to run through life with your mind high on alert, screaming to be seen as a person worth knowing - wanting to be more and wanting to be someone different. But everyone has a different path in life, and would living their life really make you happier?
Truth is what is shared on all these online platforms is only a brief moment of people’s life captured in a short video or picture and what you are seeing is a filtered version of their life with only the best moments. People easily forget that a day has 24 hours, and one cannot phantom what is really going on in people’s lives, within only the seconds and minutes they share on their social media. And yet everyone is more than aware of their own problems and struggles. But would anyone openly share their worst days with the world to see?
Seeing the success of other people’s lives can become a source of motivation for anyone to work on their lives, but most of the time it doesn’t. Instead, people find themselves in this losing game called comparison, and to stop comparing yourself to others is easier said than done.
A reasonable solution lies in a more conscious social media behavior. Instead of engaging with accounts that make you question yourself, you should interact with pages you find to positively impact your mental health and bring you joy. Limiting the time you expose yourself to social media can help too; using the time normally spent on social media to do something that makes you feel content about yourself and forget about the pressure of being on social media can get you out of the habit of endless scrolling. These cautious decisions still might not protect you from being exposed to content that trigger your negative thoughts.
But what exactly does it mean to have a happy life, and what is seemingly missing in your life to be happier? Will having a new job, dozens of friends and owning more things really make you happier? The answer to this question will be different for everyone. Happiness is an abstract concept that everyone has a unique understanding of. Oftentimes people tend to get lost in today’s expectations of what it means to lead a fulfilling life, but it is important to find out what happiness exactly means to you and live your life according to your own definition. “The things that make other people happy do not have to bring happiness to us.” Recognizing your genuine needs and wants in life can bring you one step closer to living a joyful life.
Ultimately, the key is to focus on yourself and find happiness within yourself. You can consciously choose to focus on the good; to be grateful for your life. Truth is there is always going to be someone who has more money, is more successful, has nicer hair, or seems to be so much more than we are. But someone else out there wishes part of your life would be theirs, and they had what you have.
And instead of comparing yourself with others, you should compare yourself with your past self; appreciate who you have become and your growth as a person. Even the smallest achievements matter in life - doing something you have been dreading doing for weeks, finishing something earlier than you expected, or simply making it through a bad day. Life is not all about the big moments.
Breaking away from the habit of comparison will take some time. It takes patience and self-control, but at the end of the day, it will make you appreciate your life more and bring you serenity.