Character & Soul, Opinions, Self-Improvement, Vanessa Tai

Social Media Envy – Vanessa Tai

17-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson was only 12 when her blog shot to prominence

17-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson was only 12 when her blog shot to prominence

Mark Zuckerberg. Jennifer Lawrence. Tavi Gevinson. It seems like the world’s movers and shakers are getting younger every season. You don’t even have to look that far to meet successful young people. In Singapore, more and more young people are eschewing the traditional career path for entrepreneurship, to be a lifestyle blogger or simply to travel overseas for work. And with everyone being increasingly connected through social media, it’s almost impossible not to compare your life with those around you. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve googled somebody whose work I admire, only to be aghast – “He/she is HOW OLD?!”

It’s hard to shrug off that nagging sense of inadequacy when you scroll through your friends’ humblebrag status updates or receive LinkedIn notifications of an ex-schoolmate’s promotion (again.) Unsurprisingly, several studies have indicated that browsing through Facebook can actually make us feel bad about ourselves or dissatisfied with our lives. According to social psychologists at the University of Michigan who conducted a recent study on the co-relation between Facebook usage and self-satisfaction, there are several reasons why we could be feeling this way. One, it could be because you’re engaging in unhealthy levels of social comparisons. Or two, cooping yourself up at home surfing social networks means you’re not engaging in other healthier activities such as exercising or face-to-face interaction.

Of course, it would be unrealistic to completely unsubscribe from all forms of social networking. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are all great tools to stay on top of current affairs and connected to your friends’ lives. You’ll just need to find a way to beat that sinking feeling of inadequacy. Here are some ways I personally find very helpful in keeping the green-eyed monster at bay.

1. Adjust Your News Feed Settings

Just an example. I would never unfollow Hugh!

Just an example. I would never unfollow Hugh!

Sounds simple, but a surprisingly large group of people don’t make use of this function. There are several people on my Facebook friend list whose achievements never fail to make me feel bad about myself. But because they didn’t really do anything to offend me, I can’t quite cull them from my friend list … so I do the next best thing. I click the “I don’t want to see this” option and voilà! Problem solved.

2. List Out Your Achievements

It may sound contrived, but I’ve found that writing a list of things that I’ve achieved can be a real confidence booster. It doesn’t even have to be major achievements either; some of the things I have on my list include things like “Spent a day alone in a foreign city” or “Volunteered at an overseas film festival.” Whenever you feel down, it helps to re-visit the list for a shot of self-assurance.

3. Constantly Seek To Improve Yourself

We may never be able to stop comparing ourselves to others, but we can always try to better ourselves. Yes, there will always be somebody smarter, richer, prettier or more successful than us, but that’s no reason to resign ourselves to our “station in life.” Nor is it worth it to get resentful either. Instead, always ask yourself, “How can I improve?” As Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

What are some ways you cope with social media envy? Tell us in the Comments section below!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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