We’ve got a bunch of these friends, all of us do.
You know the ones I mean. They post gorgeous selfies several times a month. Their photo tags for an evening out show only the finest restaurants and hottest bars. Every single achievement of theirs becomes a Facebook post. They humble-brag. They say they aren’t touting their latest whatever, and then they mention it anyway.
After we’ve seen enough of these, we begin to wonder about our own posts–and our own lives.
Social media seems to have created a whole new category of anxiety.
Why didn’t I write that book? Why didn’t I place that article? Why can’t I bench press 150 pounds? Why haven’t I built a house that gorgeous? Why didn’t I speak at that conference?
Why did she unfriend me? Why hasn’t he responded to my friend request? Should I unfriend her because of her political beliefs? Has she unfriended me because of mine?
Looking dumb anxiety
How about “I look dumb because someone pointed out that my post about a zombie child-snatcher is on Snopes as False. Or because I just reposted a celebrity’s death from two years ago because I can never remember who’s dead and who isn’t.”
Why have only two people “liked” the selfie I’ve posted on Facebook this month, when hers got 129 “likes?” Should I have professional photos taken?
So many of my friends go to tons of fun parties, why aren’t I invited to these awesome get-togethers? Why didn’t I go to that blog conference that all the cool kids went to? Why didn’t Big Brand Company pick me to blog about their fabulous new Widget?
Is this you? If it is, STOP already. You don’t need to add social media anxiety to your list of problems. There is no need to envy the cool lives that other lead. Chances are, it’s mostly image-management on their part. I’d bet dollars to donuts their lives aren’t “all that.”
Be confident in who you are and what you do. You are ab-so-lutely cool, just as you are.
Remember the words of the Desiderata, which I first ran across as a teen all those years ago and still stands as some of the best life advice I’ve ever seen: read it carefully, because it’s very true.
Desiderata is Latin for things desired. Ehrmann was a writer-poet-attorney who wrote this in 1927 as a reminder to himself.
I think it’s a good reminder to all of us and an effective way to keep social media anxiety at bay.