I have had a few instances recently when the ugly green eyed monster has reared its head in the context of Instagram and other people that I follow. I wasn't really doing a great job at thinking about it in a good and healthy way - so I decided to take a minute to write a list of things I could do so I'm ready to nip it in the bud next time it happens. I thought I would share it here as I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with this some times.
Take a break from the app
Sometimes just removing yourself from the situation that is making you jealous helps. Just stop scrolling and feeding the green eyed monster - take a break, go and read a book or cook some yummy food - make something with your hands or play with your kids. Just get away and do something that doesn't involve looking at your phone. Scrolling Instagram can seriously be addictive, and although on the whole I love the app - time away is important for my happiness and well-being.
Make a list of all the good things in your life that you are grateful for
Sometimes when I watch other people’s stories and look at their pictures and see all the fun things they are up to (bringing on feelings jealous or FOMO), I forget that some people might look at my stories and pictures and feel the same. People get jealous about different things and maybe there are aspects of my life that other people wish they had. So what I try and do is mentally or physically make a list of all the really good things in my life that I am grateful for. When I take the time to do this I can actually come up with lots of things. I don’t do this, or share my life hoping to make others jealous, but making a list and reminding myself makes me feel so grateful for what I do have, and not take any of it for granted.
Remind yourself that you are not seeing the full picture
I am so so quick to look at others people’s lives and just assume that they are perfect. No problems, no money worries, no arguments, no heath issues. Every person that I have thought that about and then got to know, has had plenty of things that they are struggling with and working through, that you would never know from the outside looking in. I keep trying to remind myself about this when looking at Instagram. Not at all in a ‘wishing bad things on people’ sort of way, but just in a real life way. My life isn’t perfect - I argue with my husband, get frustrated with my kid, worry about all sorts of things, have health problems, struggle with some of my relationships - seriously why do I forget that everyone else is the same. Their struggles might not be the same as mine, but they will definitely have them. Sometimes people do share them online, and it's a bit of a wake up call for me. Anyway, I am going to try and remember this, but also use it to spur me on to be kind and loving to everyone online and offline, because you never know what really difficult thing they might be tackling that day.
Do something positive and productive that moves you closer to your goal
When I start to compare and get jealous of other people’s businesses or how much further ahead they are than me, I find having a think about something that I can do that takes me a step closer to my goal helps me feel inspired and motivated for my journey, instead of fixating on theirs. It could be sending an email I am scared to send about collaborating with someone, or designing a new product for my shop, maybe sharing something I have been working on for Instagram - Or even just going back to basics and designing something new. There are so many small positive steps you can be taking to move forward even if you can’t always move as fast as you would like.
Remember you have something to offer
Sometimes it can feel like there is just too much going on online and it feels like you have nothing to offer. I actually feel like this a lot of the time. So many people are already doing what I want to do and doing it so much better - why should I bother. BUT there is a place for me. There is space for everyone and it is just about finding your group of people, who enjoy what you do and want to know more about you. You always have some insight to offer that no one else can - well not quite in the same way anyway. It could be your personal experience, how you live your life, what you believe in, the work you create, how you create it. There are always people who are going to be interested in other people's lives. I think that is why Instagram is so popular. Instead of soap operas we now like to follow along with other peoples lives and journeys. I love it when people share stories about things that are personal to them, that they have learnt or experienced. I generally find people really interesting though and love learning about people who are totally different from me.
Send someone you know who is having a tough time an encouraging note
Sometimes when you are feeling dissatisfied and wishing your life was different and maybe more like someone else's it can be pretty easy to spiral. One way of getting yourself out of that is to try and be outward looking. Think of someone you know who is going through a bit of a tough time, or is struggling - or if you can’t think of anyone just one of your friends online or offline who you can support and encourage in what they are doing. A random note from someone out of the blue telling you they are thinking of you and they think you are doing a great job and keep going can totally change someone's day, maybe even their week or month! I really think there is so much strength and power in supporting and encouraging each other. It is way better to be working together than competing with each other.
If it continues unfollow
Sometimes none of these things will help and the jealousy is just really getting you down. At this point I would say it's time to seriously consider unfollowing that person. Not because you don’t like them or want to be mean - but sometimes you just have to do it to protect yourself, for your own well-being and mental health. Another thing is that if it's someone’s Instagram stories that are bothering you, you can mute those without unfollowing the person. Even something as simple as that might make all the difference.