Due to yesterday’s inclement weather, I spent much of the day home-bound, alternating between reading books, magazines and sitting on my computer, browsing social media and other favorite sites. That said, it started innocently enough as it typically does. It then transpired into sentiments leaving me in a contemplative and rather melancholy state. In saying this, you might be wondering what exactly happened.
While trolling Facebook, I started to notice a recurrent theme: engagements, photos of people I attended high school with moving in with their significant others, babies being born, first houses being purchased and furnished, new jobs being celebrated and enjoyed, and whole host of other celebratory events. Taking this all in, the comparisons ensued, as did the negative, judgmental self-talk, transpiring into a monologue of, “That will never be me, or I’ll always be stagnant, in the same, old place.” Then, as if it weren’t already bad enough, I had to throw fire into the flame, by typing in a former (I’m not even quite sure as to what to call him, because it wasn’t ever really a boyfriend, but rather someone I “saw” for a very brief time, yet for some reason, seemed to capture a part of me I’m still not sure I completely understand) male friend’s name in. Within minutes, I was informed he was no longer living in the city of Philadelphia, but rather had relocated back to where he is originally from – Florida, working now at a different university, supporting the football team. I was speechless and taken for a spin. For so long, I’ve tried to distract myself from thinking of him and going down that path again. I try to remind myself of all the hurtful words spewed at me, the judgments, the criticisms, and how he ignored me for weeks on end. Sometimes, I’m ashamed of my behavior when I think back, of how I let him treat me that way, and still allow my mind to wander to him. At the same time, I try to remind myself that we, as humans, all have weak moments or times when we feel more vulnerable than others.
Yesterday, I let myself fall into the comparison trap, blindsided by the “images,” I see on Facebook, not knowing what truth and reality is behind them. The people who posted the aforementioned events and occurrences are people I have not spoken to nor seen in many years. A lot of them I was never really “friends,” to begin with. They are all at different points in their lives and though I might be chronologically the same age as a lot of them, we all have encountered and experienced different situations and life events and we all do and accomplish things at different times. I try to remind myself of this when I start to feel down, self-conscious and self-critical. Just because I haven’t found the career I aspire to yet, does not mean I never will and the same goes for finding a man to fall in love with. I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter WHEN I find or experience these things, but rather, that I experience them at all. To experience love, a fulfilling career, purchasing a home to call my own, etc, is a beautiful accomplishment to be celebrated and cherished at ANY point in one’s life, no matter if they are 22, 25, 45, 65, or even 85 and beyond. There is no timeline, or “set age” anyone has to do anything. My goal is solely for my life to be one filled with meaning and true sentiment. It is not a race and certainly not a contest by any means.
So perhaps the next time I check Facebook, I’ll look with a discerning eye, because though it might only take one click for the self-defeating internal monologue to begin, it also takes only one click to distance myself from it. I can click away and turn a new page. This my life and no one else’s.
QUESTION: Can you relate to this “comparison trap?” Have you ever felt this way after checking your Facebook? If so, what do you do to combat these feelings?