It’s so easy to get caught up in the compare game. That person has the perfect house, marriage, career, or body; is the best parent or has the most friends. This is particularly evident on social media. Most people post pictures of their family and friends looking happy, at events, parties or on holidays. It’s easy to come away and think that their life is more fun than yours when that is the snapshot you see. But let me ask you this: have you ever seen a friend post a picture of her family mid-argument? Or his child having a tantrum? Or her in the shower crying? It’s important to remember that social media gives people the opportunity to portray an image, and let’s face it we all take advantage of that opportunity. We all want to be liked and that’s OK.
However, all of this comparing can lead to feelings of being less than and not as worthy as others. Envy can be very painful. Envy comes up when you are focusing on what others have rather on what you have. Take a good look at your life: your friendships, your family, your work and really see what you have created. Often it’s the non-comparable things that are the most important; like kindness, spending time with your kids, learning how to become authentically YOU; much more than your friend’s new car, skinny body, expensive house or 200 Facebook friends.
There isn’t anyone on this planet who doesn’t have issues that they are dealing with. Issues like loss, insecurity, sadness, weight, loneliness, self-worth, etc. The reality is the image of perfection or success is nothing more than just that: an image. It’s not real. It’s just that some people are better at looking successful or perfect than others. It doesn’t mean that they are; it just shows that it is important to them that they appear that way. Often it’s these people that are hiding the most stuff. One thing I’ve learnt in my counselling work is that none of us ever really know what’s going on in other people’s lives.
Let’s face it, no-one gets through life alive, and there are many challenges along the way. So next time you are checking out a friend’s Facebook page and you notice yourself feeling the twangs of envy, take some time out and turn your attention to your own life. Remember, what you place your attention on grows. Whose garden do you wish to grow: yours or everyone else’s?