Comparing Yourself to Others on Social Media

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : October 12, 2022

Social media is such a powerful tool, that it connects us to complete strangers in every part of the world. We spend at least 20 mins or more daily on social media sites. But the sad part is, that we end up comparing our lives with the people we see on our screens. This article discusses comparing oneself to others on social media. Social media often makes you compare yourself with others. Sometimes the comparison can have a positive effect. Many times it has a negative effect.


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Chapter 1:

Why Do You Compare Yourself to Others on Social Media?

We often see pictures of people living an ideal life on social media. They’d post happy pictures from their trip to the beach. Some post pictures of their new house. You’d see pictures of a brand new car that you’d always dreamt of. All these stories can evoke many emotions. On some occasions, we feel genuinely happy. However many of us can feel very insecure. When we see others doing better than us, we may feel our confidence dropping.

A lot of things can make us insecure or underconfident. For example, when we see someone with a body, we have been dreaming of, we can feel insecure. This is because it reminds us of something that we don’t have. Similarly when we someone else’s life on social media, it gets us second-guessing.

We compare ourselves to others because we think their lives are better than ours. When we see a picture of someone else’s trip, we desire that trip for us. In a way, many of us feel jealous because we are unable to do what others are doing. We feel that what we are doing is just not enough. That is to say, most of us compare ourselves with others because we think that the grass is greener on the other side.

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Chapter 2:

Effects of Comparing Yourself to Others on Social Media

People often compare themselves to two categories of people. The first one is when they compare themselves to someone who is doing better than them. The second category is when people compare themselves to someone who is not doing better than them. Both kinds of comparisons evoke different responses. The first one often makes you upset. You feel low watching other people doing better than you. This can also reduce your self-confidence. Sometimes people end up comparing themselves to completely unrelated persons. For instance, celebrities.

There can be different emotions when comparing yourself to others on social media, who aren’t doing good as you. This is because when you see others doing worse, you may feel grateful for your own achievements. You may even feel lucky. This can give you a motivational push to do more.

Reduction or increase in self-esteem is a common effect of comparing yourself to others on social media. If there is a negative comparison on your part, it can affect you in the following ways:

  1. You can feel low on self-confidence if you keep comparing yourself. You may try to recreate the same images or sam experiences that you see on social media. However, if you cannot meet those expectations, you can become even more upset.
  2. You may feel demotivated. This is because you are constantly thinking of how successful your friends are. This way you will end up wasting most of your time being self-critical.
  3. Some people can get depressed thinking that their life is not that happening or cool.

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Chapter 3:

How Can You Stop Comparing Yourselves to Others on Social Media?

When people post pictures of their trip, they do not post the fights or the struggles of the trip. Social media rarely shows the reality. They do not show the time and effort taken to develop content. Therefore what most of us see in the media is a finished product. The couple who posts pretty pictures rarely talks about their fights. There is always a lot of sugar-coating that takes place. This is because, most of the time, attractive content that is pleasing to watch sells the most. Real-life however can be very different. It is important to realize the difference between real and reel. Here are some ways in which you can stop comparing yourself to others on social media.

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Chapter 4:

Limit Your Time on Social Media

Social media sites provide excellent distractions. It is a lot more fun to watch 5 mins of video and refresh your mind. Social media content looks appealing and therefore we are drawn to it. It is very difficult to live without social media when the majority of people are using it. However, it is not impossible to limit social media usage. Just give 20-25 mins daily to check your messages or social media feeds and then get done with it. You can take the help of application timers or app blockers which limit your screen time.

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Chapter 5:

Reconnect with Things That Really Matter

Tune into things that add value to your life. For instance, read a book, join a hobby class or engage in sports. These are the things that are really useful. Not everything on social media is bad. It is full of creativity. However, there is also a lot of cringe content. Therefore divert your attention to things that help you feel relaxed. Moreover, stay away from blogs or people on the internet that make you feel insecure.

Make a schedule and list down things you want to devote your time to. Setting a healthy routine is an important step in reducing comparisons. This is possible because when you set a routine, you bring discipline to life. This allows little time for social media from where the comparison stems. 

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Chapter 6:

Analyze the Root of the Comparison

There are so many times when we end up comparing ourselves to completely random people. How can a person living so far away in some part of the world, make us feel insecure? When we feel under-confident or insecure after looking at random pictures, it provides us with a window to look deep within. We should analyze what we are missing in life that is making us insecure. We can use it as an opportunity for introspection and self-improvement. This introspection can help you to stop comparing yourself to others on social media. Here are some ways in which you can analyze the root of this comparison:

  1. Introspect your lifestyle. Are you living a full life? Are you eating healthy and taking efforts to remain fit. No matter how busy life gets, it’s important to watch out for your own health. It is the only asset worth investing in life.
  2. Focus on your relationships. Often we take our relationships for granted. We compare our friends and family with those we watch on social media. The context of our relationships can be very different. Spend more time with your friends and family rather than comparing them with others.
  3. Do things that you love. Doing simple things that you love such as cycling or reading increases your self-worth. Just spending some quiet moments with yourself, can bring a lot of peace to your mind. When social media makes you compare yourself with others, your self-worth is attacked. Take self-care and self-love seriously. Invest in your own happiness. Real happiness is keeping the inner you happy.

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Chapter 7:

Endnote

Often social media makes you upset. This is because you think that you don’t have what others have. However, when comparing yourself to others on social media, you forget that there is something you have that they don’t. It is important to thrive for a better life. However, it is more important to be grateful for what you have. Some people get upset because they feel that people they see on social media are having a perfect life. If you are someone who is struggling with ideas of perfectionism, you can change that. You can seek expert help for the same. At Epsychonline, there are courses that help you overcome feelings of perfectionism. For instance, a course names Perfectionism. This course addresses unrealistic ideas of perfectionism. Do check them out.


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6-Weeks Self-Paced

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  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

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25% discount