Yesterday I wrote about how I like it when people brag and share happy things on Facebook. But what if all those boasts and posts about being #blessed make you jealous?
Sometimes we have a good reason to be envious: of people who are healthy when we’re not, for instance, or of people who are traveling around Europe when we are barely making rent. In situations like these, I have no advice, just sympathy.
However, sometimes we are doing just fine, but we still get super jealous… because someone else is doing way, way better. That’s the kind of situation I’m talking about today.
Once in a great while, this emotional reaction can be useful, making us aware of a wish or dream we never dared to admit before. Mostly, though, it teaches us nothing and feels crappy. I’m not giving advice because I think it’s wrong to be jealous, but because I don’t want any of us to feel that way. When you get a stab of jealousy, here are some things that might help. Or maybe not! See what you think.
1. Say something nice right away.
I don’t know why typing “That looks fun to drive!” or “Congratulations, you should celebrate!” helps when you’re coveting somebody’s new car or fancy award…but usually, it does. Maybe it’s just the satisfaction of feeling like a good person.
2. Post something positive yourself.
Even a cheerful status about how you’re grateful for your mom, your dog, or your latte will make you feel a little better. The happiest people are able to appreciate the small things, and not just the big ones.
3. Remember that you don’t know their whole story.
I bet you know the poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson. If you don’t, you can read it here, and oh man, it may be the truest poem I’ve ever read. And I read a lot of poetry.
There is nobody walking around on the planet with no problems, and even the person who seems like she has it made may have ones that you never would have guessed. Marital and family problems, addictions, struggles with mental and physical health, money issues–some of these things are kept so secret that not even close friends know.
When someone’s taking your dream vacation, they might have a lot to be taking a vacation from. When someone is bragging about a promotion, for all you know, it may be the only bright spot in a very tough year for them.
If you assume that most people find life difficult, you’re going to be pretty close to the truth, and you’ll be more likely to empathize and less likely to get jealous.
4. Consider that if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.
This isn’t always true, but sometimes it is. Your college roommate got a great job? That proves that getting a great job is a thing that can actually happen, which is good news! If someone gets something you want, think to yourself, “Someday soon, that’s going to be me.”
5. If you really need to, unfollow.
Many people hesitate to use the “unfollow” button, maybe because they’re afraid the other person will find out. They won’t, and sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
If you’re unable to have a baby and someone’s hourly updates on their infant son are making you want to cry, you’re under no obligation to keep them on your feed. It doesn’t mean you’re mad at this person; it just means you’re taking care of yourself. Ditto for your cousin who posts daily about how wonderful her husband is when you just got a divorce.
These are things that help me, and obviously, they aren’t just specific to Facebook. I hope they work for you too!