Ever scrolled through Instagram on New Year’s while you’re sitting at home watching Netflix in your pajamas?
Ever been overcome with jealousy at what an amazing time everyone else you know (and don’t know) is having? They’re all at some kind of awesome party, in some amazing outfit, smiling next to some attractive person and having the time of their lives.
And you’re at home. No one invited you to any amazing parties. Or maybe you went to one, but it wasn’t amazing and you felt like an outsider and didn’t have much fun, and you left. But now you start thinking along the lines of “Everyone else is happier than me.” Or you think, “It’s a good thing I didn’t get invited to any parties because I don’t have cute enough clothes or the right body and would never look as amazing as them.”
And then you fall asleep at 11:30, feeling restless, unhappy, and very alone.
I hope I’m the only one who has experienced this because I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But, I would guess that I’m not alone in the cycle of Instagram bingeing-feeling dissatisfied-wondering when my life will get happier-logging out feeling sad-logging in again to get rid of those feelings-and then voila, starting the cycle back over again.
Quick public service announcement: this is not a good way to start 2019. Let’s end this cycle! Having been there myself, here are my suggestions:
First, remember that Instagram is lying to you. Just because people look like they’re having the time of their lives, that does not mean they are. You know this. You know this because the times when you’re having a lot of fun are not the times when you have the wherewithal to take any pictures. You also know that to post a good pic requires MANY rejected pictures that didn’t make you look as good.
Second, even if every picture on Instagram is truthful and realistically portraying the fact that everyone in your life is more attractive than you and has more fun than you, focusing on that and comparing yourself to others is a horribleway to ring in a New Year. I don’t know who coined this phrase but I say it all the time: comparison is the thief of joy.
Third, focus on what you have in your life (I know this is cliche, but bear with me). If you have pajamas, internet, a couch, and a Netflix subscription, you are doing okay. You truly are. And if you’re lonely and want to change that in the coming year, you need to do some work. Reach out to people in real life. Take walks with people. Invite people over to eat with you. If you’re lonely, chances are good that other people are lonely, too. Even the ones who post the best stuff on Instagram. So, for a New Year’s resolution, message some people and hang out with them in person. In real life. Without proving it to anyone via picture or story that you hung out together.
And next New Year’s Eve? Throw your own party. Even if it’s a “come ring in 2020 with pretzels, Parcheesi, pjs, and PBR” party. Yeah, that might not look great on Instagram. But it won’t break the bank; only one person has to show up in order for you to play Parcheesi; it might actually be pretty fun, and it you’ll have a good memory to start off the year.
I don’t want to spend my life sad that it is not like all those pictures of other people’s lives. I want to spend my life happily being a part of other people’s real lives. And that means I need to start giving my time to people and not just my likes. Want to join me?
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