There’s a pang of something inside every one of us. It’s an annoying little thing that cries out whenever we hear about the successes our friends have had. The new job, the pretty girl, the recently purchased house. Facebook is the perpetual perpetrator of these successes and the resulting pangs we feel because of them.
We see that these exciting things are happening to our friends and then we look at our own lives and don’t see the same things and then we start to wonder. We think maybe if I had just worked a little harder, maybe if I would’ve spent my time on something else instead of Netflix and ice cream in bed at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, I’d be where they are.
Simply put, the grass seems greener on their side of the fence.
A sick little facet of this is that people get a kick out of the idea that their grass is greener too. That’s the thing that punches you in the gut. When people see their their lives coming together they’re more than happy to tell everyone about it via facebook or otherwise and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t get a kick out of seeing the likes pile up when their huge announcement is made. I do it, you do it, your friends do it.
Whether they realize it or not, people get high on bragging. Even though they’re contributing to a slew of mini existential crises in the hearts and minds of their friends.
When you see this stuff. Sure, you’re proud of your friend but there’s that part that eats at you saying, “They’re no better than me, how come they’re living the dream while I’m stuck here, broke and perpetually reaching for the things which continually seem to evade me?”
It happens to every one of us and it contributes to the ever increasing well of guilt and insecurity that resides in every one of our stomachs.
In times like those though, it’s easy to forget our own successes. It’s easy to forget the wealth of family and friends around you, the love you’ve had, and the career you’ve made for yourself even if it’s not quite paying off yet.
Some people have success in love, some people have career success, some people have experiential success in traveling the world and seeing places others can only dream about. Each facet of success though, comes with trade-offs.
The success people show publically doesn’t come close to the lack of success they keep to themselves.
For every new exciting job they post on Facebook, there’s a relationship so bad it would horrify even the most seasoned relationship advice columnists. For every amazing marriage, there’s a business idea that will never get off the ground because of time constraints or lack of money because every last ounce of time, energy and money went into paying debts.
We all have something we regret, we can’t control or we never got around to. It’s an inherent facet of life and when we only hear about successes, we start losing our cool.
The thing about Facebook is that it’s a perpetual success announcing machine that lacks the struggles of life. Eventually all these successes compound on each other and we’re lost in the delusion that every single one of our friends is living an amazing life while we’re stuck here, sitting in our underwear in a dimly lit basement apartment with no money in the bank, no friends, and only three packs of ramen to last us until the end of the month.
You’re good though, your work is slowly starting to sell, your family loves you and you’re not bad on the eyes either. You have the option of doing what you want with your days instead of being tied to endless work to maintain a fancy job or a family, you have your health and you could get a date pretty easily. The only thing that matters is that you’re slowly climbing your way out.
The point I’m trying to make is that no one’s grass is greener than yours. It may seem greener but it always will, and that’s something to accept. It never hurts to keep striving though. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you want to be or to a point where you can rationalize that it’s not a big deal. Everybody’s definition of success is different and no matter what you do or don’t achieve with your life you’ll have made an impact on someone.
That sounds like success enough to me.