Is self esteem really lowered by social media use or are you caught up in your own envy?
There’s been some buzz and even studies about the effects of social media on self esteem. Many, including Martha Beck (O’s life coach), have elaborated on anxiety producing behaviors worsened by social media.
She calls it FOMO— fear of missing out. Our tendency is to make comparisons and assume that others have it easier or better than us. We compare our lives with an idealized version of someone else’s. One of her arguments is: “[T]he fabulous life you think you’re missing doesn’t in fact exist.”
Beck offers some strategies to reduce negative comparisons to save our self- esteem. She encourages us to dismantle the romantic versions of our lives promoted on social media. But something important is being left out of this conversation, our own ENVY.
I recently read a book by two Jungian analysts called Cinderella and Her Sisters by Ann & Barry Ulanov. It really helped me look at and embrace my own envy (and the ways I might be envied). Here are the insights I inspired by the book.
5 Steps to Transform Envy
1. Acknowledge envy. Am I envious of someone else’s success or happiness? Am I hating? Harboring resentment? Questioning or reducing the good in the other person? Making negative comparisons?
When I have the urge to roll my eyes at the photo of couple looking blissfully in love in the sun and sand I tune in to my own response to it. Does it make me uncomfortable because I want the same thing? Do I think I won’t get it? Am I envious wondering why they get all the good while I have none?
2. Notice the good. What does that other person have that I might want? What is fundamentally good or positive about the other person’s circumstance?
What goodness is represented here? Connection, companionship, dedication, joy, peace, sensuality, aliveness, passion…
3. Affirm the good. Send a message that the person deserves the good you perceive.
Like the photo on FB. Send the couple good vibes. Congratulate them. Affirm them. Encourage them.
4. Tell yourself you deserve that same goodness. Envision yourself enjoying something similar. Let yourself have the desire.
I see the goodness in what I perceive. I deserve goodness. I deserve blessings. I deserve happiness.
5. Affirm there’s enough goodness to go around. Someone else having it won’t prevent you from having your own goodness too. It’s true you won’t magically lose 20 lbs or grow 6 inches. But you can celebrate your physical form, the love in your life, your unique talents and blessings.
I acknowledge and affirm my desires and ask for what I really want.
Bring your awareness to how you might feel diminished in the face of someone else’s happiness and affirm your right to be happy too.