Social Media Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

What the hell are we doing?


To use Teddy Roosevelt’s wonderful quote: Comparison is the thief of joy.

If you want to know the best way to kill your self-esteem and levels of confidence, continue to compare yourself to others on social media. After a few minutes of scrolling through social media, you’re certain to feel as if you do not do enough, look good enough, work hard enough, or live in a home that is beautiful enough (among others).

The uncanny ability to think that what we see on social media is real life is hurting us and our kids. Typically, life is not as we see it portrayed on social media. What we are seeing is a really good “example” of a part of the goodness of life, but not the whole of it.

Happy couples have fights. Beautiful homes look messy sometimes. Books are not perfectly aligned on every shelf. Travel locations devoid of people with perfect lighting are sometimes full of crowds, noisy, and rainy.

Occasionally, an unwanted leaf blows into a photo just as the subject’s hair is disturbed by the wind.

The photo is retaken, and that’s the one that is posted.

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 11.07.31 AM.pngI had a conversation with someone the other day who said it’s difficult not to compare yourself to others–to what you see–on social media.

But, I told her, you have to remember, what we see is not always what it is. What we see is what they want you to see. As writer Erin Morgenstern said, “People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see.”

There’s a real danger going on here with social media. I have finally gotten to the point where Instagram is my favorite social media because it’s where the least amount of drama occurs. People either like your picture or they don’t. Some people see what you’ve posted, but choose not to like it. That’s their prerogative. We must move on from counting “likes.” However, some folks obsess about the amount of “likes” they get, and therein lies the danger. If it’s all about the “likes” and less about sharing a great shot or message, we can go down a dark rabbit hole.

I’ve gotten to the point with my social media that I operate this way: I post and walk away. Call me blasé about it, but that’s how I’ve become to an extent. Have fun with it, but don’t obsess over it. I have bigger fish to fry and larger problems to attend to than to compare my social media to others. If you enjoy social media as I do, but don’t want to get too bogged down in it, just throw your post out there, and to quote something we said when our kids were little, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

Your “likes” do not define you.

But some people cannot adopt this attitude.

And it becomes the true thief of joy.

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