Warning! Somewhat self-indulgent non-sewing post ahead. You have been cautioned. :)
I read this article today, and thought I'd share it, since it seems to be something that crops up in the blogging community a lot, and especially on the heels of Heidi's post about fighting perfectionism. The internet is so great in that it connects us with people we'd never meet otherwise and gives us more inspiration than we know what to do with. I love the internet, I really do!
Yes, I love technology. But not as much as you, you see. But I still love technology. Always and Forever.
While I love knowing what people are up to and the inherent nosiness I have is easily satisfied by Facebook, I don't think it makes me very happy. So why do I use it? How can I use it better and remove that totally unnecessary stress from my life?
This article, "Instagram's Envy Effect" by Shauna Niequist really made me confront these questions:
I’m not anti-technology or anti-Internet, certainly, but I do think it’s important for us to remind ourselves from time to time that watching other peoples’ post-worthy moments on Facebook is always going to yield a prettier version of life than the one you’re living right now. That’s how it works...
Our envy buttons also get pushed because we rarely check Facebook when we’re having our own peak experiences. We check it when we’re bored and when we’re lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness... It makes sense, then, that anyone else’s fun or beauty or sparkle gets under our skin. It magnifies our own dissatisfaction with that moment. When you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, the majority of your friends probably aren’t doing anything any more special.
But it only takes one friend at the Eiffel Tower to make you feel like a loser.
Preach it, sister.
I took this detour today because I think it's something that probably a lot of us can relate to (I mean, we all follow Camille Roskelley's blog, right? How do you not feel crappy about your living room or your hair after that?) Comparison can get one really, really down. And speaking for myself, I have a great deal of things to be thankful for: a good family, the support and love of an incredible group of friends, good health, the opportunity to spend a few years doing funded study at a great school (even if it makes me want to tear my hair out), a warm and safe place to live, plenty (too much? :) ) to eat, and to do it all in a country with many problems, but also many privileges. The problem is, it's so easy to let myself forget ALL of that, and focus on what I lack, and others have. It's petty, and also not so awesome psychologically.
And I don't think that it's bad to post photos of your adorable kid/trip to Switzerland/expertly cultivated and thriving all-organic garden/6-carat engagement ring. If you feel guilty about doing it, maybe it's worth reflecting on your motivation for posting them. But in general, I think this is less about what people choose to share, and more about how I choose to consume it.
While I don't have an action plan in place quite yet, it's been good for me to think about why I let selected images from someone else's life have so much power. I'll probably consider using Chrome Nanny (this is an awesome tool if you find yourself spending too much time on one site--and it's a free plug in!) to limit how much social media I'm ingesting. I can close browser tabs instead of leaving all 25 open at once for easy access (yes, I'm one of those people), forcing me to be more mindful of what I am choosing to open and look at. If these things are affecting my happiness and well-being, there is no reason to let them. I'd like to look at my life not through the lens of an Instagrammed Eiffel Tower, but through other, more meaningful lenses.
So there is my little foray into non-sewing psychology. :) I hope you'll forgive me, but from what I read, it seems like an article that might be thought-provoking for a lot of others, and I wanted to share it.