Of all the ways social media can be bad for you, one of the worst, according to science, is the ability of Facebook and the like to induce envy. You see your friends posting smiling selfies at exotic destinations and humblebragging about their professional and personal accomplishments. You look at your own life and feel like it doesn’t measure up.
In reality, we can all acknowledge that our online personas are slightly different than our real life selves. But it’s still easy to fall prey to other people’s perfect social-media profiles. Letting them convince you that you’re somehow falling short. An emotional and revealing new Twitter thread should explode that worry for good.
The grass really, really isn’t greener.
The deeply revealing discussion was kicked off by this tweet from Tracy Clayton, host of the BuzzFeed podcast.
With the way the responses poured and it was clear she hit a nerve. People shared a wide variety of posts about the reality behind posts one would look say an envy. From seemingly cheerful vacation snaps, glamorous selfies, smiling family portraits, and even sports triumphs. Happy-looking couples confessed to fighting moments before the photo, while others bravely told of the mental health issues they were hiding in their smiling posts. Here’s a sampling:
Clearly it takes a lot of courage to post something like this. It testifies to the courage of those who shared them. But it also highlights what lengths we will go to for a true connection. But on a less personal level, the sheer scale of the response to Clayton’s tweet is a useful reminder that what you see on social media bears basically no resemblance to people’s actual lives.
So the next time you find yourself comparing your life to one you see on social media remember this article. Better yet, let this truth motivate you to consider scaling back your social media for good. Science suggests you’ll be happier for ditching a habit proven to induce envy, disconnection, and loneliness.
Have you ever posted a happy pic online to mask your real-life suffering?