I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love the idea that users can connect and re-connect with all the people they may have lost touch with. I love the “instant feedback loop” around ideas, events, and tastes. I love the marketing possibilities inherent in the site, being able to get a read on what potential clients and subscribers want and need. I love the inspirational content when it’s posted, and how it can change the day for so many people. I love the easy access to resources, often so difficult to find elsewhere.
But I hate all the posturing, self promotion, and mental masturbation which is so common on that medium. I hate all the PR falsehoods, the whole idea that anyone can have 3,000 “friends”! I don’t want to know all the graphic, obsessive details of Barbie’s awful time cleaning up Fido’s poop, and how it’s ruined the grass she paid thousands to maintain. I hate all the wasted time millions of people around the world are committing by living obsessively online, and not in their lives. I hate the marital violations and boundary crossings committed on Facebook which I work so hard to repair with couples. I hate the whole “faux intimacy” it generates, making face-to-face relationships seem so flat by comparison.
What I hate most of all is the envy it creates through all these illusions. I see so much unnecessary self-devaluation getting fueled by what Martha Beck refers to as “FOMO” – Fear of Missing Out, the idea that everyone else’s life is so fabulous, and they’ve all gone to a giant daily party that is exclusive.
If you ever have this experience of envy when you read other people’s posts on Facebook, then I have some tools for you which you may find helpful. I’ll share one here:
- Think of what you are reading about other people as just the corner of the picture frame. You are often looking at the outside trimming, not the substance in the picture. It’s the part people want you to see, not the real internal deal. Would you buy a painting just because the frame looked good? Probably not. Trust that for all the ideal looking vacations, parties, connections, and fun stuff people are posting about, they too have disappointments, frustrations, hurts, and heartbreaks. Barbie may tell you about her dog poop dilemma, but probably won’t share her deepest issues. (If she does on that forum, then her boundaries are bad, or she needs attention and a good therapist.)
Hopefully, the next time you cruise the Facebook site you’ll take it all with a grain of salt, use what’s relevant, and stay with the goodness you experience in your own life.
* If you’d like some one-on-one help with envy of any kind, I have other strategies which may be useful to you. Feel free to contact me at my Portsmouth office at 603-431-7131 for a live or remote session.