I feel a small pang of jealousy pierce through my gut as I watch my friend Neghar execute who-even-knows-how-many* perfect chin-ups on a video that she posted on Facebook.
*Okay fine. I do know how many. 15. Who does 15 chin-ups?!
As happy and excited I am for Neghar, I'm now equally annoyed at myself and can't help but wonder why the eff my chin-ups suck. I work on those suckers all the time, and I nearly blow a gasket to eke out 5! Ugh!
It's a way to stay up on what our friends (and complete strangers) are doing, entertain ourselves, find new clients, pass the time, brag and boast, share pictures and videos, whine about gas prices, complain about traffic, celebrate accomplishments, and to compare ourselves to others...
A brief skim through my newsfeed this morning showed much of the usual. There were countless posts about dieting and training, a few self-taken pics either flaunting progress or bitching due to lack thereof, videos of squat PRs, and a few inspirational posters. Intertwined with all of that were plenty of the mundane lifestyle updates of the "I just brushed my teeth" varietal and, of course, political rants.
All of these things undoubtedly offer varying degrees of entertainment for us, but is it possible that some of this stuff is affecting us on a deeper level?
According to the Forbes article "The True Costs of Facebook addiction: Low self-esteem and poor body image", our time spent on Facebook is time spent making unhealthy comparisons to others, especially us ladies. In this study, over half of the women polled said that looking at pics and status updates on FB made them more self-conscious about their body and their weight. That same study also showed that "the most avid female Facebook users were also more likely to be unhappier and less content with their lives than others."
It's hard to deny the addictive qualities of social media. If you can't stay off of Facebook and what you see is making you feel bad about yourself, I think we can agree that can be a pretty dangerous combo for your self-esteem.
It seems like nowadays, having a positive body image isn't something that comes naturally for most of us. We have to work at it and personally, I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I look damn good everyday. So is it hard for us to see pictures that people post of their smokin' hot bodies even though we've been trying to shed some L.B.s? What about a lift that they dominated that we've been working on forever? Yeah. Probably. We are only human. However, we can handle this one of two ways. We can either let it get us down or we can use it to fuel our fire...
While some people get discouraged and upset reading about other people's successes, others derive plenty of inspiration from it and aspire to work even harder to get to their goals using the, "If they can, then why not me?" mentality.
Next time you are on Facebook or your favorite social media site, I'd like to encourage you to be aware of your feelings as you scroll through the timeline. If it's causing you grief and feelings of disappointment in yourself, then it could be time for a break from it. Along those same lines, maybe there are just certain people you need to take a break from?
There are a few Braggy Braggarts on my Facebook that seem to go out of their way to post about how awesome they are, all for the sake of desperately needed validation. Maybe you can't delete them because you have mutual friends, or maybe they are tolerable in real life, but for now I have one word for those kind of people:
HIDDEN.I "hide" their updates from my feed and I'm not sorry about it. If somebody is sucking your energy or happiness, put a stop to it and hide their updates! Your happiness and self-esteem is more important than reading their friggin' status updates.
Something else to keep in mind while reading people's stuff is The Highlight Reel.
Most people (myself included) typically only post from our "highlight reel". That means it's our best pictures, greatest news, big accomplishments, beasty lifting videos, and snaps from our killer vacations. Most people refrain from posting about the 10 pounds they gained on that gorge vacation, the fact that their dog pooped in the house, or the squat attempt that shouldn't have folded them like a lawnchair but did.
It's important to keep things in perspective on social media and remind yourself that everybody is human - nobody is perfect, no matter how they portray themselves online.
My bottom line is this: Social media causes most of us to pay far too much attention to what everybody else is doing, which means wasting precious time and emotion that could be put to better use working towards our own happiness and goals.
Does seeing people with amazing lives or physiques on social media encourage or discourage you?
Do you get a bit jealous or frustrated when you read about people reaching a goal that you've been working towards, or does it push you to work harder?
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