Though I’ve already written about comparing ourselves to other people and how dangerous it can be, I’ve gotten a lot of emails/Facebook messages about this topic recently, so I believe it’s worth revisiting.
A few months ago, a very dear friend of mine was “banned” (for lack of a better word) from Facebook by her husband. He changed her password so that she could only respond to messages, wall posts, and notifications through her Facebook app on her phone and not access the full-blown website. Why did he do this? Was it because he’s a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad husband who wanted to control his wife’s Internet usage? Did he find out that she was cheating on him with a dude she met on Facebook? Did she have some sort of an addiction to social media?
No. Not even close. He did it to protect her from insecurities born out of unrealistic comparisons.
In this day and age, I feel it’s safe to say that we are at a disadvantage when it comes to comparisons because of the Internet, most notably social media. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace (lol), and even blogs really set us up to fail.
This week, I stumbled across a quote by a young pastor, Pastor Steven Furtick, who leads a church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He said,
One reason we struggle with insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.
This quote fully encompasses the problem we face as both users of social media and self-love warriors. Let me dissect my own Facebook profile, for instance.
HOT PROFILE PICTURE
My current profile picture is one of me, all dolled up, and my husband from my friend’s wedding. To some, this picture is just a picture. But to others, suffering from the comparison disease, it could say a whole boat load of non-true things:
- I always look that hot and so I’m clearly hotter than you. (False. That picture was the product of me getting ready for WELL OVER AN HOUR. I was wearing lots of make up, red lipstick, and a black-and-therefore-naturally-slimming-and-flattering dress that, for those of you who know me can attest, I never, EVER wear. I never wear make up and I am forever rocking the tomboy usual of a super old t-shirt, jeans, and flip flops.)
- I have the happiest marriage on the face of the planet, and your marriage will never be as happy as mine. (False. As a matter of fact, right after this perfect picture was taken, Dan got cranky about all the things we had going on that day which catapulted us into an argument. Irony at its finest.)
My religious views are lyrics from a David Crowder Band song and my political views are a bible verse. All you Christians reading my Facebook, probably assume that I’m a better Christian than you. (False. FALSE FALSE FALSE. So much false here. I can’t even begin to explain to you how crappy of a Christian I am.)
Do I even need to explain this one? Bible verses. Oscar Wilde. Important guy X. Influential girl Y. I quote important people because I’m so smart and forward thinking. (False. I just really like what other people have to say because I’m fully aware that the people I quote on my Facebook are smarter than me in almost every way.)
Let’s just rename the “About You” section of Facebook profiles to, “Here’s where you describe yourself in the best possible light, toeing the line of narcissism.” Need I say more?
My friend was banned from Facebook because she was perusing the profiles of her friends and feeling depressed because everyone else seemed to have a better, more perfect life than her. She’s a mom, so her mom friends made her feel like she wasn’t as good at mothering as them. She’s a wife, so her married friends made her feel like she wasn’t as good a wife as them. And so on…
But! The thing to keep in mind is that Facebook profiles (as well as tweets, LinkedIn profiles, MySpace (lol) profiles, and other social networking sites) are only displaying the “Highlight Reels” of your friends. You cannot compare your behind the scenes footage with their Oscar-nominated lives. It won’t lead you anywhere good.
Could you imagine if our Facebook profiles displayed the things we are ashamed of?
PROFILE PIC: PLEASE UPLOAD A PHOTO IN WHICH YOU APPEAR TO HAVE THREE CHINS AND ONE EYE SLIGHTLY MORE CLOSED THAN THE OTHER.
FAVORITE QUOTATIONS: PLEASE LIST ANY AND ALL THINGS YOU’VE EVER SAID AND REGRETTED.
ABOUT YOU: PLEASE LIST ANY AND EVERY THING YOU’VE EVER FAILED AT.
I’m sure we’d all feel just a little differently about ourselves and how we compare to our peers.
And, as an aside, I really hope that none of you reading my blog assume that because each week I publish writings about self-love and empowerment that I have it all together and have the perfect life. Remember: this blog was created because I very much need but can’t afford therapy.
And oh! Look! A really unflattering picture of me! (And my friend Chelsea. Sorry girl.)