Last time, I talked about how easy it is to feel bad about yourself when you’re browsing Facebook and reading about all the wonderful things happening to your friends (and family and distant relatives and acquaintances and people you once ran into at a company party but don’t quite remember).
The best way to combat those negative feelings toward yourself (or others) is to feel good about yourself before you even log on. Be warned: that is no easy feat. Building your self-esteem is a life-long battle, I think. It happens. That’s life.
So reading this article won’t magically make you love yourself, and it won’t make your friends stop posting about their awesome lives, but it will, hopefully, give you some tips for how to appreciate yourself and be less likely to fall into the Facebook hate spiral.
1. Keep a list of your accomplishments. I am highly aware of how silly this sounds. But bear with me. When you’re doubting your accomplishments or feeling ferociously jealous of someone else, a list of the things you’ve already done that you’re proud of can build you back up. It’d probably be easiest to make this type of list when you’re already feeling good, and it should be tailored to things that you actually feel proud of, and not things you think others would envy. So, for example, if you think people might be jealous of your prestigious job title, but you actually aren’t all that proud of it, this won’t work as well. Instead, the list should include things that you really do feel good about, like volunteering at an animal shelter or always baking the best brownies.
2. Be proud of the things you’ve done. Own your choices. They’re yours, and no one else’s, even if they weren’t “perfect.” If you opted to go to school for art, but you’re feeling bad because it seems like everyone else majored in business, stop. Breathe. You didn’t major in business for a reason. Your choices are your own and they make you, and your life, unique.
3. Channel your envy. If you’re unable to be proud of your choices, then maybe it’s time to change them. Figure out what it is that you’re feeling jealous of, first and foremost. Is it someone’s laid back job? Is it their apartment? Is it their busy life, their friends, their skills? Once you know what it is that’s triggering the Facebook hate spirals, then you can channel that into a skill. If you find that you’re constantly feeling bad because someone can speak three languages, do what you can to make that a reality for yourself. It’s never too late to try something new.
4. Think happy thoughts. You know how Peter Pan told Wendy she needed to think happy thoughts in order to fly? This is sort of like that, minus the really awesome ability to fly, and the danger that comes along with following some weird shadow-boy out your window in the middle of the night. If you love lists as much as I do, you can keep one of the things that make you happy, like chocolate chip cookies or that time your co-worker told you you’re hilarious. How can you be sad when you’re daydreaming about things that make you smile?
5. Do things! Sometimes, no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to will away your negative feelings, it doesn’t happen. So step away from Facebook – and the computer – and do some of those happy things you were thinking about! It can be anything that makes you feel good. Exercise, meditate, play a sport, bake a cake, snuggle your dog, dance, build a blanket fort. If there’s something that makes you feel good, do it. It’s the quickest way to turn a Facebook hate spiral around.
This is the second part in a series. For Part One about preventing Facebook hate spirals, go here. Part Three will deal with Facebook etiquette.