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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Social media and life satisfaction

Sometimes I think I need to take a break from social media. Aside from all the negativity floating around about the upcoming election, everyone presents the most perfect, blissful version of their lives on there and I'm left feeling like my own life is very small. Small and dull.

I know I should be grateful for all that I have. And I am. Usually. But every time I open Facebook or Instagram it's a constant stream of fabulous trips, engagement photos, new baby announcements, great new job announcements (that one really hurts), "we bought a house!" pictures and assorted "isn't life grand?!" types of posts. I hate the fleeting feelings of jealousy they inspire in me, and I'm ashamed of them.

I know that my life is good in a lot of ways. Quietly good, but still. I have a husband that I adore, and vice versa. Even after 10 years of marriage and 18 years total as a couple, we still look at each other in disbelief sometimes and wonder how we got lucky enough to find each other. We don't have a lot of money, but we make enough to not worry about how the bills will get paid this month, and we have a comfortable little nest egg stashed away in savings. And speaking of savings, when we finally decide to buy a house we have enough for a down payment, and we'll still have some cash in the bank for emergencies. We've put off buying a house because Gregg wanted to wait until he hit his five year mark without a cancer recurrence--which will be this December--and what a blessing it is that he's even still here with me. (I'm really ashamed to complain about anything considering the miracle that he's alive and well five years later). I may not like my job, but it provides an adequate salary and health insurance benefits for us while I look for something else. And we have our two dogs and our parrot, and they're a constant source of joy to us. I love those crazy pets of mine fiercely. I have a lot of friends. I'm healthy. I live in a place that's peaceful and safe, and how many people in the world will never know what that's like? I was lucky just by the sheer accident of birth.

So I know that I shouldn't mope or complain. I'm also aware that people put a highly edited version of their lives on social media and don't often mention their struggles, or disappointments, or the bad things that happen to them. And despite any twinges of jealousy I may feel, I'm always quick to congratulate others on their good fortune. To encourage them and to muster as many sincere good wishes for them as I can. I hope that counts for something. I want to be a good person. I want to remember my blessings each day, and not think about the things I feel like I lack in life. These feelings of being "less than" are a somewhat new phenomenon for me and are probably related to the issues I've had just lately with depression. (Which is getting much better, by the way. Likewise the anxiety is starting to dissipate, too. Thank goodness.) I think that, in addition to not complaining about work, I need to spend less time on Facebook and Instagram for a while.

How do you feel about social media? Does it add anything positive to your life, or does it increase feelings of dissatisfaction with it? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.




27 comments:

  1. My Facebook friends share joy and plenty of sorrow too, as they go through terrible struggles. So I see joy and sorrow expressed there, in a form of balance. I sure support stepping back from FB if it stresses you. One friend dropped her account there.

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    1. Over the years, I've acquired too many casual friends and people I've just know briefly. I think I should probably whittle my friends list down some to just the people who are important to me.

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  2. I can find facebook isolating and irritating for the same reasons you do but I keep using it because it's some of the very little interaction i get.
    I am in a couple of mum groups and often offer advice in these groups. sometimes somebody thanks me for what i have said or say that my thoughts are enlightening. When i get comments like that I am happy to have offered something to someone

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    1. I understand about feeling isolated and craving the interaction FB offers. If you're part of some groups that make you happy, there's no reason to feel bad about that!

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  3. Social media pretty much bites the big one. Sometimes I suspend my Facebook account. Then I open it up again so I can see photos of my family. I've stopped reading posts from other people unless it's someone I really like who has adopted a dog or a cat. I don't "do" (I don't know the correct word) Instagram. In fact, I don't know what it is. I'm better off that way. Maybe it will help if you take a little time off from social media. Then go back in a small way.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Pet photos and stories are some of the best parts of FB.

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  4. Facebook occasionally drives me mad. Certain female friends do nothing but post ridiculously flattering photos of themselves which invariably prompt comments such as 'How gorgeous you look' or 'You're so beautiful', etc. I signed up to Facebook to keep in contact with my children, and to exchange photos, but all this back-slapping (and potted philosophy) gets on my nerves; I've even had to un-friend certain people.

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    1. I know what you mean about people fishing for compliments. Ugh.

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  5. I'm not on Facebook, so my only Social Media activity is blogging - reading, writing, commenting - for leisure and pleasure, and XING for work.
    I keep them in good balance so that my online activities do not dominate my offline life; there is enough room for both as long as I don't start anything else (which I do not intend to).
    It is funny how you dislike the negativity of social media but don't want to see people's highly edited versions of their "great" lives :-) So, what would you like to see on social media? Why do you personally use it?
    For me, blogging means communication - both with myself and with others. With myself: When I first started my blog, I had just emerged from a very difficult period of my life and was encouraged by a friend to use writing as a creative outlet. Whoever looks at the first half year or so of my blog posts can see the difference to what it was then and what it is now.
    With others: I have "met" so many nice, interesting, funny, great, inspiring - and at the same time very "ordinary" - people through blogging, such as you, Jennifer!
    Some of them have become friends, and I constantly learn something from all their blogs (including yours). Don't want to miss that anymore!

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    1. Jennifer isn't "ordinary", she's "extraordinary"!

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    2. I don't consider blogging in the same category as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. I love blogging and the friends I've made here.

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    3. And thank you, YP. That was a sweet thing to say. :)

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    4. I wanted to say so too Jennifer, but YP beat me to it x

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    5. Thank you, Rachel. I'm amazed at some of the friendships I've found here in this weird land of blogging. The support I get here means a whole lot to me.

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    6. When I was writing my comment and noticed it was getting longer and longer, I cut it short towards the end. Otherwise, I would have explained that I put the word "ordinary" in " " for a reason - because I can very well see the extraordinary in the so-called ordinary people and their ordinary lives.

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  6. Many parts of your post i could write myself Jennifer,though i am older than you:) i also find sometimes that other's people life is almost perfect while mine is so dull, and also my English is not so well so i might look like a very shellow person because i can not say a lot here in blogland, but somehow i come back because i like the small world of blogland .

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    1. Yael, I think your English is great. I've been casually studying Spanish for a while now and if I could speak it half so well as you speak English I would be thrilled. And I have never once thought you sound like a shallow person! You are wonderful and I'm proud to call you my friend!

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  7. I don't "do" social media. I have never subscribed to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It helps that I have never owned a mobile phone (cell phone). People spend far too much time self-obsessing on those stupid things. Does blogging count as social media? Within blogging you do come across people who present glossy versions of their lives. I wonder what they might be hiding.

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    1. I only signed up for Facebook because I have friends and family that have moved away and I wanted to keep in touch. Other than that, it's lost its appeal. I thank you for the comment.

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  8. I also signed up for Facebook to see family pictures. My family is all over the country and I would miss a lot if I didn't have FB. However, my current strategy to avoid all the crap and bragging that is also posted is to "like" many pages belonging to groups or organizations posting ideas that are of interest to me. The more of these group/organizations I like, the more good posts I get to see on my FB feed. And it often means I don't see the bragging or memes from individuals because I have a short attention span and there is a limit to how long I will scroll down.

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    1. That sounds like a good strategy! Thank you!

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  9. I used to be on Facebook and Tumblr, but I just can't anymore. It was a major timesuck and an even greater source of stress. Twitter and Instagram have zero appeal to me, and I don't have a smartphone. I like YouTube, but I'm deathly afraid of commenting on anything.

    At times I feel like I'm missing out on being 'social' but there's just so much anger and hate out there, and my opinions aren't going to change anyone's mind anyhow. On the other end of the spectrum, I ended up crushing on a much younger girl and wanting so badly to connect with her that I ended up doing and saying stupid things..so that's something else that keeps me away from all that social media noise.

    It's great to hear that you and your husband are blessed with happiness and good health - and you can always share the good and not so good experiences with us here on Blogger. I've found it to be the friendliest community anywhere on "social" media. (Plus, you can use more than 140 characters!)

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    1. I agree that blogging is a wonderful way to meet people and have that social interaction without the nonsense of other platforms.

      Thank you for your honesty--I appreciate the comment!

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  10. I agree with you Jennifer. I dislike the constant likes as when someone is just in a pizza restaurant with friends or something, and pictures and reports of basically what amounts to nothing. And no jokes are in the rules except ones that are shared 1000s of times via a button and the other stuff is the "hate" shares of political things that go viral which are just nasty and mostly shared by those who know or understand nothing or little about what they are sharing, it is just so easy to press share and get on the bandwagon. I regularly get out of Facebook but have to admit that so far I have always gone back, but I am getting very close to coming out and not going back. I use Instagram for art only and I do not use any words in it, but I agree that it is slowly becoming like Facebook. I like blogging best of all because we are all more life like and it is like meeting real friends, and inter-acting, not just scrolling through Facebook, looking or pressing like. Some people have said they wish there was a "like" button on blogs. I think that would be the worst thing in the world.

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    1. A "like" button on blogs would be ridiculous. What would even be the point? And like you, I thought Instagram was great at first, some of my friends have a wonderful eye for photographs and I enjoyed seeing the pictures they would post, but lately it just seems like another version of Facebook. I like the interaction of blogs. So many people never get beyond scrolling and pressing "like" on Facebook that it just seems shallow, not satisfying at all.

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  11. I signed up to Facebook to keep in touch with my daughters. It is comforting when they live so far away to see photos of them enjoying their lives. Unfortunately they rarely post these days. And yes, I hate all the narcissistic (I had trouble spelling that!) posts.

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