A few months back, José sent me the link to an article in Time Magazine : ‘ Why Facebook Makes You Feel Bad About Yourself‘. While I would urge you to read the article, I’d like to share two excerpts from it.
The most common cause of Facebook frustration came from users comparing themselves socially to their peers, while the second most common source of dissatisfaction was “lack of attention” from having fewer comments, likes and general feedback compared to friends.
Overall, however, shared content does not have to be “explicitly boastful” for envy feelings to emerge. In fact, a lonely user might envy numerous birthday wishes his more sociable peer receives on his FB Wall. Equally, a friend’s change in the relationship status from “single” to “in a relationship” might cause emotional havoc for someone undergoing a painful breakup. (based on on-going studies at two German universities)
Perhaps you, like me, will laugh at this. And I did. Until, I began to watch my responses closely and own my feelings. There’s no doubt that there was a bit of envy on my part when I saw friends sharing pictures of their exotic holidays or someone’s article making it to a top website or magazine. Enough to make me feel that I was not achieving enough. Or that my life was not as exciting as some of theirs seemed. And enough to make me feel that I was ‘ordinary’.
I had to give myself a good talking to. What was wrong about being ‘ordinary’? Haven’t I made conscious choices to lead a simple life? Why did I fear being ordinary? Am I worried that no one will talk about me long after I’ve gone? Would’nt I rather be myself, enjoy my ‘ordinariness’ and celebrate the ‘ordinary miracles‘ of daily life?
“I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”–Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
Sharing one of my favourite songs again :
The fear of being ordinary – that’s one fear I’m ridding myself of today. What about you?
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Also joining the #MidlifeLuv Linkup hosted by Kimberly Montgomery of Fifty Jewels and Elena of Living With Batman.
It’s also linked to a syndrome called FOMO (Fear of Missing out). Facebook can be quite unnerving and disturbing, if we allow it. But learning to treat it as a tool, much like a phone book to keep in touch with people, instead of a way to compare ourselves to others, will help immensely. It is for this reason that I periodically deactivate my Facebook account- to de-link myself from the negative outcomes. I come back refreshed and with a better perspective. Helps that I get a social media detox also 🙂
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I am on the other end of the spectrum. I would give anything to be ordinary rather than, well, odd. I am not odd in the best of ways. The word weird comes to mind! Another great post. You are officially and hero of mine.
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Of course we always compare…I think it’s human nature. But I think I’d rather be ordinary and blend in (somewhat)!! jodie
We all lead different lives and while some may seem more exciting than others, you never know what goes on behind the scenes. It’s only human nature to share our best moments publically (and much preferable to personal drama, which is all over Facebook too :P). Jealousy and envy can eat at a person. Fortunately, this has never been part of my makeup and I’m always happy when one of my friends shares an achievement or a wonderful holiday. That said, everyone is unique and in my opinion, “ordinary” is a matter of perspective. Definitely, be yourself and enjoy your life! 🙂 There will always be those who do more and have more, but there are also countless others with much, much less.
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It’s far too easy yo compare ourselves to others instead of looking at the uniqueness that we can bring to the world of others
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It’s interesting, isn’t it how we compare? I have a phrase where we aren’t comparing things that are the same, it’s like comparing bananas to socks! We have no idea what others are going through or have gone through yet create stories around how their lives are less ordinary. Great post 🙂
Oh I suffer with this…when is totally ok to be ordinary lol ( to a point)
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I resisted setting up a Facebook account for years. I still can’t believe the things some people share on Facebook. Sometimes I do find myself feeling like I’m missing out when I see posts of friends traveling and doing things I never get the chance to do. But then I realize, I don’t really like to do those things, and that’s OK. I can be “boring”. LOL!
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What a beautiful song and clip, made me want to cry, and also made me really grateful to be alive! Thank you for sharing that. We are all ordinary miracles aren’t we! Yes with Facebook it is easy to compare yourself, but I don’t worry about it. People usually share their holidays but you don’t see that they have daily struggles too. #Fridayreflections
Glad you liked it, Mac. And I agree about FB!
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Corinne, Facebook has little to do with human emotions of feeling inadequate. Facebook or not, it has always been so. Up to each one of us to come to terms with ourselves, no? Just like you did. This is a valuable post though, which will help others examine their own reactions:)
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Oh I absolutely agree, Lata. Social media only acts as a mirror!
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You know what scares me most about “society” these days: people are becoming more and more enslaved of their so-called freedom.
Instead of enjoying freedom by being oneself, you have to “act” like this, “wear” certain brands… It is more about becoming a machine than expressing one feelings. And when you do speak up your mind, it feels almost like a crime.
I wonder where it will stop…
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Can totally relate to what you say about Facebook. I think our feelings about FB just reflect our feelings in social situations in real life though. I resisted FB for years because I knew in my heart I would feel the same way on there that I did in the playground at school – those feelings are inside us not ‘out there’. We create our world whether ‘out there’ or on FB. With age comes strength and emotional maturity though and I now realise mostly everyone walks into a crowded room with the same fears and emotional insecurities. Thanks for this post – enjoyed reading it – found you on Mid-life Luv Linky.
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Ordinary gets bad press I think. Sounds like all the same with nothing different & of course, we are all different!
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I have never let FB take over how I feel. But it is true that my timeline is flooded with people who can give you those fears. I am ordinary and the only thing that I tell myself is I am my own bench mark. I need to be and do better than what I did in the past and that is to me have lived a life worth a mention 🙂 A very thought provoking post.
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Although it is good to look up to mentors and successful friends as a pattern to follow, comparing yourself constantly to others is counter productive. I used to do that a lot, but fortunately I have grown a lot since then and by the time Facebook came along it was no longer an issue. I see this a lot in my adolescent friends online, however, which is why it is important for parents to be aware of their activity online. My children make it a rule that they can’t have a social media account unless the parents are friended in it. This allows the parents to keep an eye on warning signs. It also helps a lot to have a support group of people who love and care about you.
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Wow Corinne – this has really challenged me! I can think of nothing worse than being thought of as ordinary, and yet I too choose a simple, distraction free, life…..
Over the coming weeks I think I will be spending a lot of time questioning what ‘ordinary’ means to me
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I’ve recently been contemplating a small tattoo of the word ‘enough’. It’s a trend for women to say “I am enough”. Your post speaks directly to that message. We are all enough. XOXO!
What a beautiful song Corrine…
I too feel envious sometimes when I see others achieving something, a mention in a reputed website or getting selected for projects…I think it’s basic human tendency but yes we need to keep it at check, or atleast remind ourselves that we are hear to lead our live not emulate someone else’s …We are unique in our own way, extraordinary in the ordinary… (Now all I need to do is remember this 🙂 )
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Corrine, like you, I read those things and my initial reaction is “why do people let FB get them down??” But then, like you, I do think about some of my initial reactions when I’m on FB and I can kind of get it. Human nature is to compare and wish our life was as perfect as our neighbor’s. I think staying in that place is what is dangerous. I told a friend last summer that I wasn’t going to have anything to post on FB when my daughter went to school because all my posts had something to do with her. She told me I would find new stuff to post about. She was right, but the fact that none of my “new” posts got as much interaction as the old ones, just reinforced my thinking that I would “have no life.” SO WRONG! As for “ordinary,” I prefer to think that we are all extraordinary living out our ordinary days! 🙂
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Wendy–“We are all extraordinary living out our ordinary days!” Love that!
Also, Corinne, love this post. I think too many people do compare themselves with others in Facebook, and when I started blogging, and saw that others who had just started too, had far more views than I did, I questioned myself for a moment. But in the end, I’m having so much fun sharing my stories, that even if only one other person read my post, at least I was having a conversation!!!
Congratulations on ridding yourself of the fear of being ordinary!
Welcome back to Friday Reflections! In answer to your question, yes I think I do. It’s something I battle with all of the time, whilst trying hard to embrace the whole ‘I am enough’ concept.
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Corinne. You are extraordinary, in every way, and one of my most treasured online friends. I’ll bet many would say the same. xo
There was a time… when yes I did have this fear or being ordinary… It does sometime eat into your thinking… i wasnt fully aware of this “insecurity”…… But probably as days passed by and I started doing things I liked my way…. it has reduced considerably
Comparing our lives with others is to embark on a most slippery slope. We must remember, especially on social media, that people tend to put their best foot forward when posting; we never see the reality which is their lives, and they’re more than likely just as messy as ours! I know for me, being a child of God, I know I am loved by the King and that makes me anything but ordinary!
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This was an amazing article and said it just right! I just disconnected from social media recently. I wasn’t that connected but even the little bit I was could have been depressing! I’m like you, I’m not going to allow FB to dictate whether I’m ordinary or not! I like me just fine.
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