Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beware of the Compare

Have you gone through the new phenom of Facebook Depression? As in, you awake one morning in a fairly good mood, turn on the computer (or whatever your current device may be) and read through your News Feed to discover that half of your FB friends are living lives of extraordinary leisure; "jet-setting" with famous people on other continents; winning awards for their work; going to parties where several seriously major celebs were part of the small, elite crowd; just won a ton of money in Vegas; their spouse bought them a pair of extremely expensive earrings or shoes or something with pix attached? Or, at least part of the above?

Well, I have and I am certain that I'm not alone when I admit that after reading a scrolling series of these updates I feel the urge to write in my "Status Update" that I Hate My Life! Someone Put Me Out Of My Misery! You know, the kind of updates that no one wants to read.

The Internet "commenting" crowd can be ruthless and judgmental. When people like me admit to such feelings we are often considered to be a "Loser" and are mocked or shunned. Honesty isn't valued in some circles if the admission isn't "positive." In fact, telling the truth is considered a "weakness" - even if the "truth" you are telling lasts for only a few days or minutes.

The first suggestion to someone who feels like sheet after reading the lively, happy news of friends on social networking sites on days when you aren't at the top of your game, would be to step back, take some time away from the medium, and get on with your own life and make it special in your own way. That is a mentally healthy route to take.

This morning I debated with myself regarding whether or not I should write this post. What will "others" think of me if I confess to feeling a certain distress that I'm not jaunting about wearing expensive clothing and going to high-end dinners and parties and having my picture taken in a group of successful people that is splashed all over gossip sites?

And then I reflected on the other side of the truth coin: our perception of those who are rich or famous or both is often skewed by the overall image that is sold by others. I reminded myself that even a few of my own FB postings could be cause for someone else's envy or depression because they haven't lived some parts of the life I have been fortunate to enjoy from time-to-time. It's all relative, isn't it?

I also remembered that for many former "stars" it's tough to have been very well-known at one time only to be flung to the curb and to live on one's laurels as one actress I recently ran into (literally) in a bathroom has experienced. No one talks about her anymore. She is older, has gained weight, and must feel very bitter about her loss of the best seats at any spot in town because one would think I had spat on her shoes when I went to the sink to wash my hands at the same moment as she. The look she gave me was so entitled I nearly wanted to dry my hands on her dress. I was IN HER WAY, by Gawd! And, YOU MUST KNOW WHO I AM - huff-huff!

I bet she avoids FB and tabloids at all costs because if I feel like crap at times when I forget to stop comparing myself to others who are at least 10-20 years younger than me and have worked quite hard to gain the recognition and awards they are receiving, then this actress must want to die every day if she sees what her former (still A+) boyfriend is doing these days, as well at what her peers of the same age who still look glam and are working are up to.

It's also the glaring, sad truth that many people we think have "it all" don't feel that way - at all. Despite homes on the beach, bank accounts beyond belief, self-doubt, depression, emotional regression, are alive and unwell in the withering heights of fame and wealth.

Happiness, as we are always "told" by one source or another, is a "state of mind." And that is the truth. Sure, having money, as I always say, ensures that bills are paid and the basics of life don't cause strife. However, some of the happiest, most sincere souls I have ever known, have adopted attitudes that allow them to find tranquility in the sound of an orange dropping from a tree in their yard.

And so, as I share how the splashy lives or the well-deserved rewards of those in my real and virtual life can sometimes bring me down because at this point in my life I am twixt and tween my next move in life toward career and personal satisfaction, thus feeling a bit of an empty space where once there had been a happy place, I now admit that I'm beginning to feel much better than I did when I began writing this post.

Yes, I could keep all of this to myself, as so many do, and put on yet another mask and don yet another persona to pretend that my smile is real and life is a brand new bowl of berries (I don't like cherries). But that isn't how I roll, as "they" say/write. I know from experience that someone out there might also feel better after reading this post, knowing that Facebook Depression isn't theirs alone.

Remember: Comparing our lives to others is perhaps one of the worst things we can do to ourselves.

My Status Update (here) has now changed to I'm Going To Take Back My Life And Enjoy The Parade Of Ants Marching All Over My Balcony Instead Of Killing Them.

Image via:


  1. u r brave to show vulnerability when too many want to ignore reality in their lives.

    u'r humor's not gone, dearie.

    carry on n keep it real.

  2. Fabebook envy + wobbling self esteem is a growing problem that takes some time to work through in the best of us. You can add Facebook update envy to who has had a nicer looking backyard holiday BBQ to the list. I have someone who brags every day on how they LOVE THEIR LIFE when some of us want to slap her in the face!

    I love my life too, my children & husband, some close friends. I don't need to announce every damn day how full of life I am feeling. I like the news of wisdom of loving life with inspiration instead of braggarts.

    Looks to me like you have high-powered friends who are having fun. Don't let it bring you down... Neil Young, okay? It's only castles burning.---at the whick in some cases don't forget.

    PEACE! You still make me laugh even when your sad.

  3. Hey you sweet Anon's! Thanks a million or more. Wanna play the next big Lotto?

    It's a good feeling to be revealing.