I’ve been pretty jealous lately. And I know I shouldn’t be. But I have been. It could just be that I’m tired (that tends to do screwy stuff to my thoughts) or that I’m a female with emotions. I try my hardest to let things go that cause these feelings, but it’s not easy.
Plus, with the invention of Facebook and other social media, I think avoiding jealousy has become even more difficult. I can’t go a day checking my newsfeed (about 100 times) without seeing new pictures of proposals, engagement rings, weddings, baby bumps, and baby pictures. Then there are all the statuses to accompany new jobs, new homeowners, and mushy couples declaring their love for each other…just all around happy people enjoying happy things taking place in their happy lives. And I get jealous.
Well, now that I sound like a complete crank, let me just say that I am in no way complaining about my life. I understand that this is most definitely a first world problem and I have no reason to be jealous when there are starving people in China.
But let us, just for a second, put that aside and talk a little about FOMO. A couple months back, I wrote a post about FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. Basically, in this day and age, we have so many issues involving commitment and “doing stuff” because we always feel like there might be something better going on. We don’t want to lose out on the possible experiences we could have; but if we’re already committed to going to that lunch date or that party on Saturday, what could we be missing out on? If I take that full-time job, what if something great comes along but I want both?
Take it from me, I should be in FOMOA (FOMO Anonymous) because I constantly crave doing things. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a night here and there to just relax and watch 10 episodes of Pretty Little Liars or Revenge. But after that night, I’m over it. I need to be doing something. I feel useless and lazy without a task that needs to be completed. When I went home 2 weeks ago, I had almost every minute booked before I even bought my bus tickets.
Even before I came to New York City and was working multiple jobs at a time, I still felt as though I should be doing more. I wanted more time with friends. I wanted more hours at work. Now this may be due mostly to the fact that I was living in my house alone, so I was constantly going stir-crazy, but I digress.
And now I’m in NYC and feel as though I have not done nearly as much as I should have done in the first 5 months. Now granted, I have gone to a hockey game and a concert and a lot of my time has been devoted to school. I’ve eaten at a few restaurants and have found some good places to run. However, I have only gone to one museum, and it was for a class project. I avoid finding awesome places to eat because I don’t have money to blow on wonderful food, so instead I buy a loaf of bread and make PB and Nutella sandwiches all day, er’ryday.
Touristy stuff is expensive and shopping costs money. On top of that, I am already taking out huge loans for my Brand-name education. I do not have a consistent income and I feel completely lost as to what on earth my future holds – what do I want to do with my life? Will I even make it in teaching? Do I have what it takes?
And then I get on Facebook and see all of these posts and photos of friends and family who seem to have their lives together. They are happy and life is just working out for them. They are buying cars and houses and getting married and progressing in life.
I understand they too have encountered roadblocks, potholes, dead ends, and whatever other traffic paraphernalia that can be applied to life’s trials. But you don’t see that on Facebook. And why would you? Other than those annoying people who post their every negative emotion (sometimes accompanied by pictures of teary eyes in an aerial MySpace-esque picture…*unsubscribe*), pictures are generally happy.
We want to show off the awesome time we had at a bonfire with friends. We want people to envy our newly toned bodies, or the fact that we attended that off-the-wall party this past weekend, or that we got to travel to an exotic place. So, then, is the point of Facebook and other social media outlets to make each other jealous? Other than the grandparents and other relatives who just want to keep up with their growing and dispersed families, isn’t it all just a game to show how important and awesome we are?
We hesitate to unfriend people because then we will lower our “coolness stats”, and therefore seem less awesome. So then we wonder who would want to be our friend in real life? The fight between J.Biebs and Lady Gaga for most Twitter followers continues (btw, J.B. boasts 40,250,153, while Gaga only has 38,115,718). The list goes on and on with any social media site you are on.
So how do we overcome this pressure to look awesome, like our life is completely solid and we know what we’re doing? I guess one option is to disengage from all social media sites until you feel restored of your self-confidence. And I’m serious about this one. If it is honestly hurting your self-worth that much, take a break. Stop obsessing over everyone else’s life and go make your life awesome…and then come back and post that stuff on Facebook to make everyone super jealous!
I’ve recently been told the secret is to “fake it til you make it”. Everyone has heard this old adage and I guess you could make that work for you. But don’t you think that’s pretty much lying to everyone, including yourself? I mean, listen, if you have the confidence to just B.S. your way through things, great. Good for you. If it gets you where you want, cool. But I think it could create sticky situations because you’re basically creating a false-self. Maybe it’s a better self, and maybe that’s the boost you need. But not all of us are built for that.
I’m not a good liar. I suck at lying and deceiving people because I hate being lied to and deceived by people myself. It makes me uncomfortable. And since I blush pretty easily, being uncomfortable is super obvious with my pale skin. Instead, I do my best, I try to be as true to myself as possible, and hope it works out. I hope and pray that people might just like me for me, even for just a tiny reason.
But I think what people need (or maybe just what I need) are better ways to improve self-confidence without having to resort to shutting out the world or lying our way through. I want to be the best person I can possibly be (and believe it!) without constantly feeling the need to compare myself to all of those happy people I see on my computer screen. As jealous as I am of them, I am totally happy and it gives me hope that maybe I will be like that one day. But it bugs me that I can’t simply be happy for them, and that there has to be that dichotomy between joy and envy.
So anyways, what sorts of strategies do you use to pump yourself up? How do you control your jealousy and self-consciousness in order to be yourself? Friends? Family? Music? Talking yourself up in a mirror? In the mean time, get it girl (or guy).