Today’s Monday Chat is definitely a personal one. It’s something I’ve been working through and meditating on and haggling ever since I started blogging. I’ve slowly found a couple things that work for me when it comes to dealing with instagram jealousy, and I’m going to share them all with you in detail!
This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for 2021.
I recently took a maternity leave from instagram and signed off of the app for 6 weeks. When I came back, I felt bombarded by all the noise. I realized I was out of practice in handling the instagram jealousy, and the chaos sucked me in. I would often be sitting in the nursery recliner, feeding my newborn, and scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling) through instagram without being mindful of what I was consuming. I got hit with wave after wave of jealousy, binging on content about influencer’s giant mansions or a big celebrity 7-figure wedding or a capsule wardrobe how-to full of designer boutique clothing. It was all screaming the same message at me: YOU NEED THESE THINGS!
It didn’t feel good, so I hit reset.
I took a day completely away to remind myself how to handle these emotions. I re-read this blog post that you’re reading (I wrote it back in 2019 and it’s full of some gems!) and journaled and started practicing how to handle instagram jealousy in a healthy way. I don’t want to ever quit the app – it’s too fun! I want to be able to see beautiful homes and inspiring images and dream vacations and feel happy, excited, and inspired by them.
There are 3 tips below that are worth a read, but here’s the main way that I handle instagram jealousy: I remember that everything that I see and want is really just a feeling. Custom new-build home with an infinity pool looking out over a lake? Perfectly organized closet full of designer items? 10-day luxury European cruise? I look at these things and ask myself: “how would you be feeling if you were experiencing that right now?” And then I work to create that feeling in my life (without the stuff.) It turns out that you can create any feeling in your life that you want, and you don’t need the Chanel bag or the Mercedes convertible to create the feeling for you.
I will say that I’m not perfect at the process. I know how to deal with jealousy, but that doesn’t mean I always do a great job with it. But I’m working on it (progress never perfection, right?!) and getting a little better every day.
I assumed Instagram jealousy is something that would just go away. I’m in my 30s, and my life is rich and happy. I thought that the happier I became, the less I’d play the comparison game on instagram.
I remember this one particular day, about a year ago, when I was visiting my parents in Dallas. My mom made a comment about how she’s been staying off Instagram for the past few months because she didn’t like how it made her compare her life to others. I was shocked, haha! I thought, “my mom, this fiercely strong woman who is in her 60s and lives a rich and full life, deals with Instagram jealousy, too?”
That’s when I realized it might not just go away on its own. 😉
Here’s the deal: my life is freaking amazing. I met the man of my dreams, bought a house with him, and I have two perfect baby boys. I’m living in my dream city. I get to take vacations every year and I get to buy the clothes and jewelry that make me happy. I run a thriving business and I get to do what I love and work hard and be my own boss. Things are pretty great, and I am so, so very happy in my life.
But for some reason, when I’ve been in instagram world for too many hours, I start to lose perspective and I get really jealous of the girls who run the accounts I follow.
Specifically, I get jealous of these things:
- Body image. I feel insecure and unhappy about my own body when I see all of the flat stomachs, tiny waists, toned legs, lifted booties, and perfect skin on instagram. I start to feel like my body isn’t good enough to be a social media influencer.
- Likes/follows. When bloggers who are in my sub-niche (Austin, food, lifestyle) post something that performs really well, I feel jealous. I worry that my little blog will account to nothing, and everyone else is going to grow and be successful and have a meaningful life, and I’ll just be stuck here doing nothing.
- Processions. Perfectly decorated houses. Backyard pools. Designer handbags. The list goes on and on, but when I see someone post a picture of something I don’t have, I get jealous.
I mean, these are all pretty predictable things. I bet you’ve experience jealousy in a similar way. And while I’m sitting here on my couch writing about this, I’m not currently feeling any jealousy. (In fact, all of this seems pretty silly to me right now!) But I know that when I’m sucked into social media world, I can start to feel pretty unhappy.
Here’s how I deal with instagram jealousy:
1. I remember that the thing that I ultimately want is a feeling. We want so many things (a partner, a career, a house, a handbag, 100k followers, #instafame, etc.), but why do we want them? Because of how we think they’ll make us feel. When I can quiet my racing mind and tap into this simple idea, I can question what I’m actually feeling jealous of.
For instance: let’s say that someone I follow posts a beautiful Louis Vuitton bag that her boyfriend gave her for Valentines Day. I start feel jealous and unhappy in my life.
a. I stop and think, what is the feeling you think you would get if you got a Louis Vuitton for Valentines Day? Is it that I want to feel special, loved, and valued? If so, I think about how I can generate that feeling in my life. Hint: it all starts with self love!
b. But is the real reason I’m feeling jealous of her because I think that if I had that bag, I could flaunt it and people would see it and assume I’m successful and rich and popular and trendy? Umm…. nine times out of ten that’s the reason for my jealousy. In my subconscious, that’s probably the idea I’m going after.
c. So then I go into the deep work of trying to discern why I care so much that others think I’m successful and popular. After all, the feeling of being successful comes from inside me, not from what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t matter if the whole world assumes I’m successful if I don’t feel that way about myself.
I know, I know….this is a very long process to deal with one little spark of jealousy! It works so well for me, but I have to be committed to the process. (That’s why I said I’m still not so great at dealing with instagram jealousy and still working on it!)
I always try to remind myself that there is infinite happiness available in this world. There’s no shortage of supply! Just because someone else is experiencing something that I ultimately want to have doesn’t mean that she’s taking away any of my happiness. She can be happy….and I can be happy, too. #enoughjoytogoaround.
2. I think back to all the photos I’ve taken and the work that goes into them. Instagram is work, y’all! The photos I post take so much time to prepare, and I know from years of doing this that it’s very easy to edit away the ugly stuff on instagram.
Example: let’s say someone posts an AMAZING photo on a vacation in Hawaii, and her hair is long and perfect and she’s super skinny and laughing and the view is unbelievable. Well, I know from my own picture taking experience that she probably had to wake up at the crack of dawn to fix her hair/makeup in order to take the photo with good lighting before tourist crowds show up, and then she had to work during her vacation while she edited/captioned the photo, and during all of that time she wasn’t able to really live in the moment and enjoy that beautiful sunrise on vacation.
Nothing is as effortless as it looks on Instagram.
(Not saying every photo experience is like this, but often times the photos we see on instagram that make us feel jealous weren’t really able to be enjoyed by the influencer because they were concerned about getting the perfect shot. I’ve been there many times.)
3. Likes/follows don’t determine worth. Again, this is so simple to be writing right here, but when I’m in a deep pit of jealousy, it’s harder to understand.
Likes and follows are digital. They aren’t real. (And I’m not even talking about bots and fake followers right now…) That number that’s making you feel jealous? It’s not good or bad; it’s merely a neutral number that sits on a screen, and it has exactly zero to do with your worth. The jealousy you’re feeling has nothing to do with that number, and everything to do with the story you’re telling yourself about that number.
Get out there and live your real life, because that’s where true worth is created.
So that’s how I’ve been dealing with Instagram jealousy lately. I hope there was something in there that helps you, friend.
If you have any thoughts to share, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you experience Instagram jealousy, and how you deal with it.