On My Mild, “Normal” Envy and Social Media Exacerbating It

I’ve been reading about how social media fosters a culture of envy and over-emphasis on external validation. I’m reflecting more on how this has personally affected me and how I’ve witnessed others being affected by such a culture we’re all living in. Apparently, some degree of envy of others these days is “normal,” so long as it’s not constant and at the forefront of one’s thinking and feeling. I have admittedly not been completely immune to feeling envious of a few people I know, such as of someone’s nice big home in a prime location, their history of family stability, and someone else’s success at being a published author and also having a history of family stability I didn’t know growing up. (And, indeed, both of these people have more money than I.) These preoccupations flit in and out of my psyche from time to time like pesty mosquitoes, nothing more, with Facebook and Instagram certainly, primarily exacerbating them. Fascinating. I am learning more deeply, however, that material possessions, fame, and long done past history don’t determine inherent value/worth of or happiness for me or anyone else. This flies in the face of what a materialistic, fame-obsessed, and “always think only positive” culture pushes for. Steadily, superficiality has less and less of a hold on me the older I get. It both saddens and outrages me to witness how it has such a strong hold on so many people, though. A true way to fulfillment is cultivating an inner life, of which there are many paths into that possibility.

One thought on “On My Mild, “Normal” Envy and Social Media Exacerbating It

  1. I fall prey to the social media envy trap too, despite myself. It’s a strange phenomenon to be invited into look at people’s “curated” lives…what they choose to share with us publicly on social media. A recent post by someone heading off to do the Camino de Santiago hit me, as did another from a college friend whose newest novel is coming out, and one who just adopted two puppies.

    I often wonder what complexities lie beneath the surfaces of the exclamatory galleries of photos of homes and gardens and vacations and families and accomplishments. I guess of my hundreds of social media “friends” I have enough I know well to know what doesn’t get posted. And I remind myself of that. And then my envy sort of just evaporates because I think of the person instead of the thing that I was focused on.

    And of course that’s the problem with so much of social media—it’s about things instead of people…image and glitter and facile chatter instead of genuine heartfelt connecting—one soul to another—which is, at the core, all that’s ever going to make any of us feel a sense of fulfillment when engaging with each other whether it’s on the sidewalk or on social media.

    Liked by 2 people

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