Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Social Media Validation Trap

"All we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. 
What we think we become." –Gautama Buddha 

I've been a creature of comparison for as long as I can remember. I've written about my struggles with imagined self-worth based on my job, my relationship status, my degree. And while I'm no longer living in that den of thieves, I still vacation there every once in a while, and have fallen into the trap of pivoting my happiness on how people look like they're doing on Facebook.

I deliberately say "look like" here, because I cannot believe people's lives are all sepia-toned pancakes and soft-focus chuppahs (honestly, you got married over a year ago, it's time to change your profile picture, and not to yet another wedding photo). Below is a great Portlandia sketch to illustrate my point.

I am all for sharing celebrations, successes, beautiful images, and important news on social media. That's what it should be for—spreading a little joy. The problem is not in what people post, it's how I choose to react to it. Shifting my perspective from, "Fuck, look at what all these beautiful people are doing 24/7 without me!" to, "Look at what these beautiful people are doing!" anchors what I'm seeing in a little reality. Because we can never, ever tell what people's motivations are for anything, unless we ask and we choose to believe their answer. And likely, they're not posting updates to make me jealous. Likely, they're not thinking about me. Likely, they have their own insecurities and doubts and fears and think getting 27 likes on their photo may buoy their self esteem for a bit.

There is also something to be said for when I check Facebook. I work at a desk and have gotten into the horrible habit of auto-typing "command-T-F" whenever I want a distraction. So I'm in one of my more vulnerable arenas doing the comparison dance upwards of 11 times a day. Am I a masochist? This wasn't providing the distraction I wanted, and despite feeling fulfilled, challenged, and happy with my job, I kept thinking, "Why aren't I manning the first all women astronaut team to the moon? I'm such a failure!"

 So with a little self discipline, I've stopped doing this dance at work. Instead, I have the Positive Affirmations tumblr always open on my browser. When I feel the need for a distraction, I pop that up and soak in some goodness. I truly believe we become what we think. Why not think I'm beautiful, grateful, capable and worthy of loving myself and others? Below are a few of my favorites.


  1. holy moly

    straight outta my heart, little sister of the same tribe.

    read a lot of your blog, love your voice.

    and the journey to hear and honor the true self.
    last year i ripped in two and painfully went through some crazy psychic shedding/rebirth.

    i have never lived so toothily since.

    consciousness, self-care, meditation, positive affirmations and manifestations.

    beat on! soak up!

    xoxo, new internet friend.

    1. love it love it, dolly anna. we're all on a wild journey, happy to trudge along with you.

  2. Yeah girl! I'm so glad you're back. Because, you've got the insight. And I can't wait to meet you.

    1. I'm glad to be back! More love and energy into this blog is one of my intentions. Thank you so much for supporting and reading. I am very lucky!

  3. I hear ya. Comparison can wreak havoc on our sensitive selves. A favorite quote from a friend is "don't compare your insides to other people's outsides." But my overall favorite affirmation that works even when I'm at my lowest low is simply, "YOU ARE ENOUGH."