• Angel Montfort

Social Media vs. Reality

Things aren't always what they seem. This is particularly true on social media, where we are able to present ourselves in the way of our choosing. Inevitably we begin to compare ourselves to others which can negatively impact self-esteem and relationship satisfaction.

“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” -Edgar Allen Poe

It is not effective to compare your relationship to other relationships because you can never accurately know what is going on behind closed doors. It is easy to become envious when scrolling through perfectly orchestrated photos on social media and even when listening to what others have decided to share in conversation.


Additionally, even if you were privy to the true details of someone else’s relationship, you would likely fixate on the aspects that lead to negative feelings/evaluations of yourself. Our minds have a tendency to zero in on the parts of a story that evoke sadness, fear, and self-doubt. If we are presented with several pieces of information, we are likely to remember the bad with much more clarity than the good. Similarly, if you learn of four problem areas within someone’s relationship (which may result in neutral emotional response) and you learn of one area that is thriving (which leads you to feel jealousy or envy), your mind is likely to continue coming back to that one area.

Finally, comparison to others can lead to unrealistic expectations of your partner, and of your relationship, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can cause problems that weren’t there by leading to changes in your behavior which may prompt changes in your partner’s behavior and can ultimately lead to relationship dissatisfaction.


A few questions to ask yourself when you begin comparing yourself to others on social media:


1. What is the evidence for <insert distressing thought here>? Ask yourself about the accuracy of your thought/perception and try challenging it.


2. Does what I see motivate me to action? Does it motivate me to move toward my values?


3. What is this post/picture/hashtag triggering within me? a.k.a What is this really about?


If you need additional support, confide in a trusted friend or therapist for deeper exploration.

 

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