You don’t know how many times I have heard from my patients the words “I look at how wonderful and amazing my friends’ lives are on Facebook and mine starts to seem so pathetic”. We look, and we look, and we can’t stop looking… down the Facebook rabbit hole we go. It’s true that often times when we are feeling depressed, sad, lonely, or rejected we find ourselves looking at other peoples lives and comparing. This experience of comparing ourselves to others on Facebook when mixed with feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression can be a deadly combo much like drinking and climbing behind the wheel of a car. It is problematic for obvious reasons: the first is that if we are feeling like we are a sad, pathetic loser, then our brains will either be searching for information which will confirm this feeling, or for information that will refute this feeling. In other words, are we really comparing…?
Typically, and unfortunately for us, there is plenty of ammo on Facebook which can be used to pierce holes in an already wounded self-esteem. Go right ahead, load up the ol’ Facebook profiles of others flaunting themselves in the clubs, or hanging with their gazillion friends, or posing at red carpet events… and while you’re at it, pass the pint of ice-cream. But is this really fair to compare someone else’s outsides (i.e., what they might look like, material possessions, or job), to our insides (how we feel about ourselves in the moment), or are we are comparing two things that are mutually exclusive? In other words, we are comparing what someone has or looks like they have to how we are feeling about ourselves on the inside.
There are millions of reasons why Facebook can be so addictive: It’s a place where we can catch-up with friends, find new ones, share our lives with others, and perhaps most importantly indulge our curiosities. But have you ever wondered if we are really seeing everything? Maybe we are only seeing what the person would like us to see? Or what our brains want us to see…
During these moments of comparison the original intention of social media technology can be obscured and instead of finding yourself relating, sharing, and connecting, you may find yourself feeling excluded, separated, and different. So it is important the next time you catch yourself looking at Facebook profiles during times of darkness and desperation to ask yourself, what is it that I’m really looking for? Perhaps it is something to confirm your feelings of sadness and loneliness. Or really are you just searching for something which is lacking from your life at that moment- a meaningful connection with others, and feelings of acceptance.Posted on April 27, 2017 By admin
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