How do you keep the green eyed monster in check? I (Lisa) visited another church’s VBS yesterday morning and felt pangs of jealousy over their space, the plethora of adult volunteers and the sheer number of children they were able to admit into VBS. My parish VBS starts in less than two weeks which makes me a little nervous about how all of our plans will be received by the participants. I’m sure it will be an amazing experience for our kids, teens and adults, just different than this other neighborhood church. It can be hard sometimes not to get caught up wishing your something could be a bit more like someone else’s thing.
“The grass is always greener…” Isn’t that the saying?
For me that phrase is most true when perusing the pages of my Facebook friends. So many of us, even unintentionally use Facebook to brag about our life. It might not be actual bragging or on purpose, but most of us tend to post the good things, things we are excited about, things we can’t wait to share with others. So when you are looking through Facebook you see lots of awesome stuff about other people’s lives. You never see the mundane or the normal. Missing are pictures of piles of laundry, pictures of moms in their yoga pants, hair in a ponytail and no makeup. No, the pictures are usually of us dressed up, going somewhere cool, of our kids being cute, the wonderful trips we take or some awesome purchase.
It took me several years on Facebook to realize Facebook was drawing out the green-eyed monster in me. I constantly compared myself and my life to the Facebook perception of my friends’ lives. Whether real or imagined, their lives all seemed shiny, perfect, and exciting compared to the day to day ordinary of my family life. Looking at my news feed made me unhappy with my own life yet I couldn’t turn away. Without even realizing it, I was drawn to something that brought out an ugly sin in me. Jealousy.
Exposing our green-eyed monster is one of the potentially negative results of interacting on social media. It brings “keeping up with the Jones” to a whole new level. (Yeah, I had to use the phrase.) For a while, I even stopped reading my news feed as often and made a conscious effort to focus on my blessings vs what other people were showing off, and it has helped me to realize how my own posts and pictures may come across to others. Even though I feel my life is good, but ordinary, my posts might bring out the green eyed monster in others. Thought I don’t mean to be “bragging”, I don’t post pictures of my piles of laundry either. I’m guilty of posting mostly the “fun” stuff too. The “normal stuff just doesn’t seem that interesting to share, but maybe that’s what I need to do.
Have you had trouble with envy while on social media? If so, how have you handled it?