My name is Emma-Louise Trotter and I have OCD – Obsessive Comparison Disorder.
It seems I am not the only one; in fact it would appear that actually there are a huge number of people suffering as well, and we have instagram, twitter, vine and Facebook to thank for that.
I work in social media; that means that the above platforms are not just something I glance at fleetingly on my lunch break, instead they are open on my work screen all day, along with hundreds of blogs.
I feel I should preface this by letting you know that I not a hermit who sits alone, simply wishing I was someone else, I am happy with the person I am, I love my job, live in a beautiful place and have wonderful friends, but why is it then that I have this overwhelming feeling that everyone else is having more fun than me, going cooler places than me, and most of all is more popular than me?
I guess it stems from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The principals are the same, however unlike FOMO, rather than just thinking that people might be doing more exciting things, going more thrilling places and generally being better at life that I am, I actually have proof. The instagram images of people at Wireless Festivals, the weekend jaunts to the quaint country pub, the beautiful outfits, nights out, best friends, gorgeous houses. It all gets a little exhausting.
The fact that Vaguebooking has become a thing saddens me, no longer are people sharing their lives on Facebook, now they are leaving vague statements online, in the hope that others will be so intrigued by it they will comment and like. Since when did humans need to give their friends a Call To Action at the end of a social posting?
I have been aware of this for a while but in the last few months it has really come to a head, which lead me to seek out someone who could explain the feelings better than I could, in searching I came across Daniel Freeman who is a professor of clinical psychology at Oxford University.
Genuinely I believe that this never-ending self-comparison is not only down to the comparer but to the comparee – I seem to forget that just in the same way that I filter the parts of my offline life that I share online, as do others. I would never want someone to think that the ‘me’ that is online is a full account of me as a person; as my instagram alone would set me out to be a vacuous materialistic maniac (which is not always the case).
So why is it that I cannot appreciate that the images that are shared online by others are just the same, snippets of life, taken with military precision, filters added to them in the vain hope they have appeared to catch a candid life moment?
It concerns me that I am starting to do things in my life to appear more cool, more fun and well in essence ‘more’ to other people. This cannot end well, it cannot be healthy for my soul and I am going to now make a concerted effort to not be a part of the generation of glossing over life to make it seem perfect.
The plan is simple. Less photos, less filters, less getting involved. On the flip side, I am also going to remind myself that if someone is having such an incredibly awesome time, the chances of them taking a minute out of that insane fun to take a picture, filter it and add a witty caption to it are slim.
Next time you are having an epic amount of fun, just enjoy it, don’t social-media it until after!
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