Wow that is a really cute outfit; I really like the boot and scarf combo.
Dang he is super ripped; I can tell he works out (especially since he is always posting selfie mirror pictures in the gym).
Man, my friends all look so happy at that restaurant, where was I?
He has such a nice car, she has such a cute boyfriend, they go on such cool vacations, that food looks great, I want to go there, they all look so happy.
Why is my life so boring, why don’t I do cool things like everyone else?
In the brief moments of scrolling through a few pages of your Instagram feed, these, and many other thoughts, may be crossing your mind. As you look at all the great pictures, #nofilter, you can’t help but think that it seems like everyone is always having such a good time. You may also be wondering where you were, or why you were not invited.
This may lead to what I would like to call Insta-jealousy. This diagnosis includes (but is not limited to) jealousy of possessions, jealousy of relationships, poor self-image, self-doubt, loneliness, discontent, sadness, extreme longing, self-pity, and the occasional runny nose.
Another common side effect is that of Insta-eyes, which can cause you to walk through your life seeing every moment as an opportunity to post a picture to Instagram. This is not only harmful to your social life and grasp on reality, but has also proven to be a dangerous tripping hazard.
Instagram in itself is not a bad app (so long as you use it appropriately), in fact it is a great way to share the beauty and fun of life in a very creative ways. Instagram helps us to stay connected to different people and feel a part of their lives and adventures. So I’m not telling you to get rid of your app, rather I am telling you to pay very close attention to the little voice that runs through your head as you scroll through your friends pictures.
What is your reaction when you see pictures of your friends together without you? What is your first thought when you see pictures of really pretty, super fit, or extremely happy people? What do you feel when you see pictures of people in places you would much rather be than at home doing homework? Is your first thought outward looking? Do you think about how great they are, how thankful you are to know them, how happy you are that they are doing fun things?
Or are your first thoughts inward looking and self-degrading? Do you think why was I not invited, I am not that pretty, I am not that skinny, I am not that happy, my life sucks I have to do homework and they are at Disneyland?
There’s a big distinction between using Instagram as a way to stay connected to your friends and share pictures, and letting your daily scroll through Instagram turn into today’s episode of self-pity hour.
If you are someone who struggles with Insta-Jealousy, don’t worry there are a few pro-active steps you can take to battle this!
1. Be Realistic.
Remember that people only post pictures of their best, their life is probably not always gumdrops and roses, even thought it may look like that via Instagram (unless you follow the Sugarplum Fairy, then maybe). Also remember that people don’t always post things right away. The picture your friend posted of everyone together without you could have been taken last weekend when you were out of town.
2. Know Your Worth.
Your worth as a human being is not defined by how many amazing pictures you put on Instagram or how many people “heart” your photo. You have inherent dignity and worth that far extends the external and Christ has created you perfectly, so don’t you ever forget that!
If you really struggle with constantly comparing yourself to others, on Instagram or in life in general, pray. Pray that Christ gives you the eyes to view yourself and others the way that he does. Pray the Prayer of Saint Michael to protect you from the lies of Satan who is always looking for ways to make you feel lesser than you are. Also consider fasting from Instagram for a while, or only going on it once a day.
Like I said, Instagram is a great app and can be used in many wonderful ways. Don’t let it be an avenue of lies about your dignity and worth, but rather use it to bless your friends and your own life. Keep it positive in your thoughts and your own posts and always remember to glorify God in all things, even Instagram. #youreawesome