Breaking Free

Breaking Free from Social Comparisons

Somebody has rightly said “We’re living an era where capturing moments using our phones is more important than actually living these moments with whoever is beside us”

Striving for creating a well-appointed life, showcasing it on social media even if something like it does not exist, has become a trend. Is there something like a perfect life or is it a perception people have? Look at all the facebook post and all you would see happy smiling faces, beautiful travel destinations and people trying desperately to improve their image. It makes those that are less privileged feel envious when they start doing social comparisons.

Kusum’s story

Something similar was the case with my young friend Kusum. A brilliant individual, loving, caring and hard working. Kusum was passionate about her job. A graphic designer by profession, Kusum was enjoying every bit of her work. She grew up in an environment where having one square meal a day was always a challenge. She had seen those tough days and was thankful to her parents and the almighty for all that she had gained today.

But life never remains constant, it always evolves. Kusum started spending a considerable part of her time connecting with her friends, on facebook. This had started taking a toll on her performance. She was getting into a state of despair as envy changed to an intense desire to gain more in life. She was painting a picture of a perfect life. Looking at all those facebook posts, her perception of life & happiness had changed. Without her knowledge, she was becoming more materialistic. She knew she could not afford all the fancy stuff her friends had posted on facebook.

Facebook Effect

Kusum’s new ambition slowly started impacting her work. This led to depression and her job was at risk. Her parents were worried. Her boss was concerned about her performance at work. It was difficult to convince Kusum, that most people post highlights of their lives on facebook. Rarely people would talk about their trials and tribulations in life.

I had known Kusum from her college days. I was her mentor during her college days and her initial years at her job. She was brilliant in academics and completed her education on scholarship.  Kusum continued to stay in touch with me, but of late had not heard from her. It was, thus, surprising when her manager called up requesting help for Kusum

To get her out of this phase, it was important I engage her into something which was more productive. She was constantly comparing herself with others and losing a sense of reality. In the first few conversations with her, it was clear that she was completely taken over by the facebook craze. Each time she wanted a break from her work, her fingers would click the facebook login. Kusum was reluctant to delete her facebook account. For her, that was the only way she could stay in touch with her friends and know what was happening in their lives.

Breaking free

Kusum was good at arts and crafts. I engaged her in activities that allowed her to leverage her love for crafts. I got her to think of becoming an entrepreneur. She had started researching on how to be an entrepreneur. During our evening walks, she would discuss some of her fears with me.

The time spent on facebook reduced. She was busy now with her new found passion of starting her design studio. .I introduced her to some of the NGO’s that worked in the creative field. Kusum started contributing and helping them. I helped her connect with entrepreneurs from whom she could get some useful guidance on how to start her entrepreneurial journey

It took some time to divert Kusum’s energy and focus on something that was useful. Had it not been for her boss and her parent’s timely intervention in getting her support, Kusum would have been a victim of depression.

Social Media distractions.

The key to remaining focused and staying away from social media distractions is to focus on your work and daily activities. It also calls for a lot of self-discipline.

Life is not always as beautiful as seen on facebook. Comparing and envying someone for posting beautiful pictures, makes life more stressful than beautiful. There is nothing called a perfect life. Don’t let the pressure from facebook post sway your thoughts and direction.

While it may not be possible to completely switch off from social media as it may have some professional usage, the amount of time spent on the sites can be within limits.

Be more “mindful” and in the moment. Do not allow digital distractions to sabotage your life and cause anxiety.

Walking away from facebook login, allowed Kusum to see a whole new view and look at opportunities that she had never explored before. She did connect with some of her facebook friends, but in person, over a cup of coffee. It allowed her to look at relationships in a new light.

“Be happy about your own life and you’ll be amazed at just how much more beautiful you’ll find it to be.”
― TemitOpe Ibrahim