Published on July 01, 2018

Reality Check

Girls in a circle looking down at camera with their arms around each otherScrolling through your social media feeds can make it seem like everyone is happier, more successful and having more fun. Resist the urge to compete. Instead, celebrate what makes your life uniquely beautiful.

The temptation to keep up with the Joneses isn’t new. People have engaged in friendly one-upmanship since the beginning of time. Yet, social media certainly kicks the unspoken competition up a notch. Images of smiling families enjoying dream vacations, living in magazine-styled homes and tooling around in brand new cars fill your screen. Status updates about jam-packed schedules, socially-conscious kiddos and to-die-for home improvement projects can dial up the envy and dial down the self-worth.

So, what can you do?

Get some perspective.

First, feeling envious of others who seem to have something you don’t is normal. Acknowledge those feelings, and then take a step back. In the real world, very few people lead a picture-perfect life. Scrolling through social media is a bit like watching an edited movie. You’re only seeing what people want you to see.

Once you’ve regained your grip on reality, consider these stats:

  • Nearly 50% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, even though many of them earn over $120,000 a year.
  • Almost 61% of Americans say they don’t have enough money in savings to cover six months’ worth of expenses should an emergency arise.

Choose your own path.

Sure, you could max out your credit card trying to keep up with Joneses, but will going into debt make you any happier? Even if you choose that path, no matter what you do or buy, you’ll never catch up. Someone will always have the latest iPhone, a bigger house, a newer car, a cooler job. Instead, think about your values and your long-term goals. What do you truly want out of life for yourself and the people you love? Take steps to live that life.

Define friendship.

Think about the traits you value in other people. Genuine friends hold you accountable for your actions. They inspire, encourage and support you. When you’re with them, you don’t feel like you have to compare schedules, mortgage payments, car sizes or vacation plans. You just enjoy being around each other.

Be grateful.

Maybe you don’t have big bank account, a busy social life, or a perfect spouse or child. Turn your attention to what you do have. Maybe your spouse brings you coffee in bed every morning. Perhaps your child is a genuinely good person. Hopefully, you have a friend who would drop everything to help. Celebrate those people and moments.

Final thought: Having more stuff doesn’t bring health, wealth or happiness. As Sheryl Crow said, “It’s not having what you want; it’s wanting what you’ve got.