The Social Media Self-Comparison trap. (CBT therapist advice)

For many, comparing oneself to others can be a motivation and mood sapping experience. It is a topic I have more and more often heard within online therapy sessions, and therefore an important topic to reflect on with you. I hope it gives you a few helpful reflections and strategies in managing or preventing social media scrolling having a negative impact on your mood or motivation.

Self comparison and social media how to cope

If you notice that scrolling through social media results in a downward spiral of mood and feelings of self-worth, try to pause to identify the thought behind those feelings.

Ask yourself:

  • What are you seeing that is changing your emotions?

  • Challenge the assumption you are making about the people behind the posts.

  • What is your concrete evidence that their life is perfect or wonderful?

  • Why should their life have a sap or bloom impact on yours?

The small and controlled snapshot you see on social media is not the whole story. We don’t see their struggles, the mundane, the ordinary everyday activities. We don’t see the pile of washing out of shot, the weed covered overgrown flower bed or the quick beans on toast supper they ate when they were feeling tired and uninspired. Because they are not sharing those beige moments doesn’t mean they are presenting an inauthentic version of themselves, they are editing the highlights of their life and choosing the moments they want to share.

You can’t control what others post, but you CAN decide how much of it you view and how you respond to it.

  • Could seeing someones extremely healthy looking meal motivate you to try a new recipe?

  • Could a post of friends out for dinner, prompt you to get in touch with a friend and make a plan to meet up.

  • Could someones sporting achievement get you outside pumping up the wheels of your neglected bicycle and going for a ride?

By looking at your own goals and comparing yourself on your own journey you can identify your own achievements, successes, small victories and identify new goals. 

good day cycle pic. Online Therapy advice

You can choose to use the social media images as a springboard for re-connecting, and engaging with things, people and places that bring you a sense of enjoyment and achievement.

If you struggle with self comparison and doubt, and want to learn ways of managing unhelpful thoughts and feelings, do get in touch. We have many super skilled therapists who are ready to offer online video therapy.

Lisa Johnston

Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

Specialist in online delivery of therapy.

Director of My Therapist Online

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