In this age of social media it is no secret that we are constantly bombarded with news and information about our friends’ lives. Which can be a wonderful gift; I absolutely love being able to see what everybody is up to, and all the adorable pictures of their kids and fur babies. It makes me feel connected, but I also really struggle with the jealousy that I feel. It starts innocently enough: one person posts a picture of their new vehicle and as I scroll down a little further, I see that another friend has posted pictures from their trip to an exotic location that I’ve been dying to visit forever. I sit at home with a crappy car that we desperately need to upgrade, and not enough money in our savings account to book a trip. I can feel a tightness in my chest and tears in the back of my eyes. That familiar, ugly jealous feeling starts to consume my thoughts. I default to diminishing my friends’ happiness by softly saying to myself that I think their new vehicle is ugly, or that it must be nice to not have to worry about money and to be able to travel the world on a whim while the rest of us adults have financial responsibilities.
I’m slightly embarrassed to even admit these feelings, as I too am guilty of flaunting my happiness on social media. Every trip that I’ve taken has its own Facebook album of beautiful, happy pictures; when we bought current condo, I promptly told everybody about it in an excited status update. I fully understand that I’m contributing to this vicious cycle of flaunting our accomplishments while remaining silent on our struggles. I get it, nobody wants to post a picture of their credit card bill or announce their marriage struggles to their friends list.
But how do I stop these horrible feelings of jealousy?
I count my blessings every day. I have a loving, healthy family. I have a nice home, and a warm bed. I have food in my belly and clothes on my back. I have a car and a wonderful job. I truly do know how blessed I am. I also know that I have friends who are likely jealous of me from time to time.
I think this is the first step; accepting my feelings and not letting them have power over me.
One day at a time.