Feeling Jealous on the Internet… and 12 Ways to Make it Stop
A few weeks ago, I had this experience:
I woke up in what is for sure the world’s most comfortable bed -> MY bed. I was well-rested. I was snuggled up next to Sage. I was feeling excited about the work I was going to do that day, because I happen to have one of the best jobs EVER, with tasks including but not limited to writing online to my friends (dats you!), trying new recipes, and then creating THINGS, all kinds of things, like videos, photos, blog posts, and social media updates, that communicate the recipes to the internet world. I GET TO CALL THIS MY JOB.
It’s never ever a good idea, but I grabbed my phone and opened Facebook. While still laying in bed.
You see where this is going, right?
I found that familiar little blue icon, starting thumbing through the morning posts, enjoying the pictures of my friends, and WHOA. Hold the phone – literally. Right in front of my eyes, this cooking video started playing. TBH, I don’t remember if it was Tasty or Tip Hero or BuzzFeed or whatever other massive food video machine it could have been from, but I do remember two things:
- It was a viral video for a Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup recipe with tons of comments, likes, and shares, and
- It made me insanely jealous.
It feels really un-cool to write that out, but I just have to be honest here. The jealousy was creepin.
Here’s the deal – literally I had the video footage for the almost identical recipe already shot and ready to be edited, just waiting on my computer desktop because I WAS GOING TO MAKE THAT VIDEO. Ugh. Didn’t they know that?! And how could my friends and family members be SHARING this video? Come on, guys! THAT VIDEO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MINE.*
*toddler brain takeover
I walked into the kitchen where Bjork was making coffee (another positive!) and instead of enjoying the morning for the beautiful and virtually perfect moment that it was, instead I just had all these ugly mad feelings. Or was it mad? I don’t know. I was just generally a terrible human to be around.
I was feeling insecure, less than, comparative, and jealous all before the day even started.
All this because of a seriously ridiculous auto-play 30-second Chicken Wild Rice Soup video on Facebook. It’s embarrassing and it’s real.
Maybe it’s more real for me than it is for you, kind reader who I imagine being the nicest person ever, because I’m naturally competitive and anxious and fill in the blank of other difficult feelings. I might look okay online, but you’ve gotta know that sometimes there are some THINGS going on over here behind the curtain. That being said, I have a feeling that online jealousy, on some level, is actually kind of a universal thing – a bad, sticky feeling – that just sort of sits with all of us from time to time and yet we don’t really know what to do to change it or make it go away.
And in particular, since the Internet and its connectedness is creating a lot of our stress, comparison, and jealousy, what’s A PERSON WHO MAKES A LIVING ON THE INTERNET supposed to do about this? Oiy.
Breaking Down How To Overcome Online Jealousy
So for today’s post, I put together a list of 12 things that have helped me break through those icky-bad feelings of online jealousy many times over the last five years as a blogger. Or, maybe I should say – ARE CURRENTLY helping me break through those icky-bad feelings, because this is not a one-and-done type situation – this is more of a lifelong quest to just know that we’re enough and to BE OKAY.
To just be, and to be okay. Wholehearted. Enough. Okay.
Today’s post is written with an emphasis on jealousy for bloggers, but I am confident that a lot of these things could apply to anyone who uses the internet.
Jealousy Takedown in three, two…
#1: Unfollow People.
Okay, here we go. We’re starting boldly.
Get your phone out.
Now – please start unfollowing anyone and/or leaving the places that really makes you feel gross feelings. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, the whole nine yards, kids.
And I don’t mean gross like actually gross things – I mean gross in that they post such beautiful things all the time that you cannot look at their photos and updates and not feel like your life / job / body / house / clothes / kids / parenting is probably the worst ever.
At least three people came to mind just now, right? Probably more. You follow them because they inspire you, and yes – truly, they are seriously super-awesome people. We can still have respect for their pretty Instagram feeds and Pinterest pages out there without necessarily needing to follow along for the day-to-day ride. If this is trigger for you like it is for me (hello, Pinterest), it’s probably for the best to tune some of those voices out for a while.
I know the unfollow sounds a tiny bit harsh, especially to my Minnesota Nice ears, but this is the opposite of mean. It is you being kind and gentle to yourself by not putting your comparison triggers right in front of your own face 24/7. You can control the messages that you are receiving on a daily basis, and the best messages are ones that tell you (and your house and your body and your life and your kids and the state of your blog) are valued and loved.
You are now excused to spend 10 minutes unfollowing people. k bye.
#2: Follow Inspiring People In Other Niches.
On the flip side of the unfollow is the new follow. Get some new, fresh, non-competition inducing inspiration by following people who are working in an area outside of your niche.
For example, I’m a food blogger and one of my favorite places for inspiration is Instagram. For whatever reason, I find that I’m able to draw more pure inspiration (inspiration minus comparison) when I follow people outside of the U.S. I don’t even know why that works, but it does. I feel far enough away from them that I don’t feel the need to compare as much.
The same is true for me with writers and celebrities. I LOVE to study these people – non-food-bloggers, mind you – on social media and really try to learn from them. Why is that one thing working for them? What is it about this type of content that makes people respond? And I get exactly zero bad feelings from this because they’re in such a different place than I am that there really is nothing to compare.
Removing some of that closeness can help you really be inspired without letting comparison or anxiety creep in.
#3: Practice The 90/10 Rule.
This one is more specifically aimed at bloggers, but I think it has implications for anyone.
I try to live by the 90/10 rule, which just means that 90% of my time is dedicated to CREATING and 10% of my time is set aside for FOLLOWING. So if I had 10 hours, I would hope that 9 of those hours are spent working on new recipes, trying a new photography trick, and working on my writing, and then that one last hour would be spent scrolling through social media and looking at what others are doing.
It’s like putting intentional blinders on. If you’re susceptible to online jealousy, just try putting a quantified limit (for example, one hour) on the amount of time you spend checking up on other people’s internet lives.
#4: Log Out Of All Social Media Accounts.
And that works really nicely with this next one.
LOG OUT! Log out, log out, log out.
If you are trying to limit the amount of online jealousy you feel, you probably need to limit your time you spend on social media, and in order to do that, you probably need to just log out of your accounts.
Often this little hack is the only thing that stops me from opening Facebook or Instagram. I’ll even hit the app icons in a moment of boredom only to be taken to the log in page, and in that moment it feels like SO MUCH WORK to log in. This trick works especially well if you’re moderately to severely lazy. That one extra step usually all it takes for me to re-route that time and energy to something more positive.
#5: Name The Root.
This one is important. So you’re jealous, and so am I. But WHY?
Take some time to just try to name the root of your jealousy.
For me, there’s usually some kind of a fear or anxious thought running the show.
Something like this:
- Jealous Thought: I’m jealous that __ made a Chicken Wild Rice Soup video really similar to the one I was going to make and that it got tons of likes and comments and shares.
- Why do I have that thought: If ___ makes a Chicken Wild Rice Soup video for Facebook, they’re probably going to get tons of followers, and people will love them and people will stop loving me, and everyone will be sick of Chicken Wild Rice Soup videos so no one is going to like MY Chicken Wild Rice Soup video on Facebook when I finally finish it in 8 years. –> Just throwing it out there as a wild, random example.
This is a perfect example of a scarcity mindset.
For Me, and For Many Of Us, Our First Waking Thought Of The Day Is “I Didn’t Get Enough Sleep.” The Next One Is “I Don’t Have Enough Time.” Whether True Or Not, That Thought Of Not Enough Occurs To Us Automatically Before We Even Think To Question Or Examine It. We Spend Most Of The Hours and The Days Of Our Lives Hearing, Explaining, Complaining, Or Worrying About What We Don’t Have Enough Of.
…Before We Even Sit Up In Bed, Before Our Feet Touch The Floor, We’Re Already Inadequate, Already Behind, Already Losing, Already Lacking Something. And By The Time We Go To Bed At Night, Our Minds Are Racing with a Litany Of What We Didn’t Get, Or Didn’t Get Done, That Day. We Go To Sleep Burdened By Those Thoughts and Wake Up To That Reverie Of Lack. …This Internal Condition Of Scarcity, This Mind-Set Of Scarcity, Lives At The Very Heart Of Our Jealousies, Our Greed, Our Prejudice, and Our Arguments with Life.
– Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
Friends, please read this book.
Naming the root of the jealousy (maybe it’s a scarcity mindset?) can help you know how to move forward. No need for magic solutions just yet – start by just naming it for what it is and bringing it out into the open.
#6: Hang Out with Non-Bloggers.
Guess what? LOTS OF PEOPLE DON’T CARE ABOUT BLOGS. I am doing a maniacal-villain-style laugh in my head.
Is that not the most freeing thought ever?
My personal friends are my lifeline. They are literally everything. The fact that they do not know who so-and-so-blogger is and haven’t seen how many times that one recipe was pinned and really don’t care about who has such-and-such great thing happening for their business right now are things that keep me normal.
If you have friends like this, you need to spend time with them REGULARLY before you start to get socially weird from living an internet life.
If you do not have friends like this, good news! you can make friendships happen! Start by inviting people over for TV shows or drinks or dinner.
Maybe make them some Chicken Wild Rice Soup. I could make a video to show you how. I dunno, just a thought.
#7: Pep-Talk To Yourself From Another Perspective.
Imagine talking to yourself from another perspective.
For example, sometimes I try to imagine what I would say to myself if I was a child. (Just… hang with me.)
The child would say, “I’m jealous of ____.” And make a sad face.
And then the adult (this is the perspective-taking part that I’m talking about, where the adult is actually – surprise – YOU) would say, “Here’s what you should do with that feeling.” Or, “Here’s what that feeling says about you.”
I’ve also heard this described as the inner critic. How would you speak to the inner critic if you were in the leading, responsible adult shoes?
I don’t know. I am smiling because I feel like this one is going to be lost on a lot of people who don’t have to have these conversations in their head. But I think my talk-to-yourself-in-your-head people are right there with me, right?
But if you need to shake yourself out of a rut, just try looking at things from the perspective of someone OUTSIDE the situation. Usually that helps bring some reality back into the picture.
#8: Become a Team.
If there’s someone or a group of people in particular that is making you feel jealous, ask yourself this: is there a way that you could team up with them?
I find that jealousy gives way to compassion and admiration when you feel like you can be that person’s champion.
Figure out ways to be people’s champion. Their teammate. Their supporter.
A few ideas:
- Email them just to say hi, you’re doing a great job, I love your work, and it inspires me. It’s hard to be genuinely nice and jealous at the same time.
- If you already know them well enough, email them just to check in. How are you doing? What can I be doing for you?
- Get together with them in real life. It’s amazing what connections IRL can do to crush online comparisons.
- Meet with them at a conference.
- Start a mastermind with them. Share ideas and celebrate successes. Their wins become your wins and vice versa.
#9: Honor and Celebrate.
Even if you don’t think you will ever meet this person or have the chance to be on a team with them, REACH OUT and celebrate them.
Same idea applies – if you are genuinely kind in your heart towards YOURSELF and towards other people, it becomes more and more unnatural to always be comparing yourself.
Good news – you can start being kind in your heart with baby steps.
- Mentally practice envisioning and celebrating their successes. Like, literally, just think about them and imagine them being successful and yourself being truly happy for them.
- Pray for them. Send them good vibes. Feel positive energy towards them.
- Tweet something nice at them.
- Start liking and sharing their content on Facebook or Instagram.
- Tell people about the good things they are doing.
I know some of this sounds weird, but a) I only admitted to 50% normalcy earlier in the post, so I did warn you, and b) it actually does work.
Do you see the shift? By genuinely honoring them and celebrating their wins, your feelings change from jealousy to respect and admiration.
#10: Write A Mission Statement.
One of the reasons I think it’s so easy to feel jealous is that we simultaneously feel like we should be doing it all.
For example, when the Chicken Wild Rice video pops up in my feed, I feel so protective of that and I get jealous and comparative. But back up – why do I feel protective? I don’t even DO videos right now. It is literally NOWHERE on my job description. Yeah, it would be awesome to do more videos, and I want to do them which is why I start to feel jealous when I see someone else doing it and doing it well, but COME ON. We cannot do everything here.
For bloggers, I highly recommend just taking some time to write down your job description and continue refining it and categorizing it until you really feel like you’ve hit the core of what you do, why you do it, why it matters, and how it stands out.
Narrow your focus to only what YOU do, and suddenly jealousy for allllll the other things sort of falls off the wagon because you’ve removed yourself from those extra rings that you maybe never really needed to be in in the first place.
#11: Give Yourself A Break.
I consider myself at least 50% normal, and I feel jealous pretty regularly. I know my non-blogger friends feel jealous sometimes. Even Bjork, the most virtually perfect human being that I know, sometimes feels a tiny little twinkle of jealousy.
Some of us (hiiii!) are more prone to jealousy, for sure, but I really think jealousy is just a normal part of the human experience, especially for the time that we live in. We are very connected to the *best parts* of other people’s lives, but not connected to any of the real-life stuff. It’s a recipe for jealousy.
Don’t stress about feeling jealous. You’re normal. That’s all.
When I’m feeling particularly icky about something – I wish I had ___ // that person is so much better than me at ___ // why can’t I just get ___ – I find that gratitude almost immediately squashes those feelings.
For example -> I wish I had that many Facebook followers -> stop -> gratitude -> I am so thankful that I enjoy my job so much.
For example -> How does she always look so good -> stop -> gratitude -> I am so thankful that I have a strong and healthy body that can take me for walks with Sage. AND I LOVE SAGE. Cue: walk with Sage.
For example -> If only my house was as stylish as theirs -> stop -> gratitude -> My bed is literally the most comfortable happy place I could ever imagine and my house is filled with all my favorite living, breathing, smiling people. THANKFUL does not even begin to touch it.
As a disclaimer, let’s be honest – sometimes if someone else tells you that something sappy like “gratitude” works for having a better outlook on life, it’s nothing short of annoying. I know that snarky territory all too well. But all I’m saying is just let that idea simmer for a little bit, okay? Just let it simmer. Gratitude is a superpower.
Guys, I know this post was really long and a little weird.
The only real reason that I am taking the time to write this (and show you how things really work in my own messy brain – eek) is the hope that you walk away feeling encouraged and inspired to make small changes that help you JUST BE, and be okay. Jealousy and comparison is hard and real, but we hold the power.
We can baby step our way towards a happier heart.
Also – this is my last post from home for the next few weeks! Tomorrow we leave for the faraway magically hot place known as the Philippines to visit and work at an orphanage that we lived at for a year. I’m stressing because exactly 12 hours from now our flight will be taking off down the runway and the number of items in either of our suitcases right now is (hold on let me count) a whopping NONE. But also I’m so excited. I’d love to have you following along with our trip – I will do some posting here on the blog, but I’ll also share live updates on the Facebook Pinch of Yum VIP Group and also SNAPCHAT! I can only hope and pray that my Snapchat works abroad.
Thank you for being a beautiful soul who cares about yourself and others. Yes, YOU! I love you in that strangely sweet blog-to-reader way. Be awesome today.
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