I was recently on spring break. I was so excited to be able to take some time off from my classes to see my family, pick up a few shifts at my hometown job to make a little extra money, and relax. I made a grave mistake, however: I decided to scroll through Instagram.
As I scrolled, I saw tan girls from my college in bikinis in Miami, Florida with their friends. I saw large group photos of college-aged students on the beach. I saw an individual in fancy clothing posing with her boyfriend in a different vacation spot. Suddenly, my relaxing time off from school turned from a positive experience into a negative one.
I started to overthink my life. I was anxious about why I was missing out on all of these experiences, why I don’t look like that in a bathing suit, why my friend group isn’t so large and close enough to go on a fun trip together, why I don’t have these clothes or a boyfriend to go on trips with…
If I hadn’t looked on social media, I would not have questioned myself this much. It was hard to realize the root of my anxious thoughts in the moment. Later that day, as I was talking to my dad about my thoughts, he could tell me right away what had happened.
He explained to me that social media sites such as the one I was scrolling through earlier in my day do not accurately portray others’ true lives. People can pick only the good, happy parts of their lives to post and never post about the downsides, too. So on my end, it seems as if everyone but me is fully content with themselves and their lives.
What I was experiencing is known as the grass is always greener syndrome, which is very commonly caused by how reliant my generation is on social media. It momentarily prevented me from acknowleging all of the wonderful aspects of my life and tricked my mind into thinking that there was some sort of competition. The only person that I should compare myself to is my past self. I should always strive to be a better version of myself, not try to be like someone else.
Therefore, the next time you are scrolling through social media and start to catch yourself succumbing to the grass is always greener syndrome, take a step back. Those individuals are going through the same everyday struggles as you, but they just do not post about it. The next time that I feel envious of something that I see on Instagram, I am going to instead tell myself something that I love about my life. I challenge you to do the same; replace the feeling of envy or desire with a feeling of thankfulness to ground yourself.
Remember: likes do not quantify a person’s worth.
When was an instance where you felt the effects of the grass is always greener syndrome? What are some steps that you can take to appreciate what you currently have rather than comparing yourself to others?