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How I made my online diet healthier in July: coping with internet jealousy
Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but July was also a pretty expensive month in terms of my attention – in that the lion's share of it went to my nephew (and before that, the book). Still, I did pay a little attention here and there to the quality of my online information diet. And here's what I noticed most: jealousy.
Here's what I mean by that: I get jealous of people who, from their online personas, appear to be happier and more successful than I am. I get these bouts of jealousy regularly, and I always beat myself up for having them.
But in July, I began to notice that quite a few of you seem to have them, too.
Susan sent me a link to this brilliant meditation on internet jealousy by Helen Jane. The words go right to the core of my being. I think she's spot-on in saying that:
"See, over the last five years, the scale and velocity of story sharing, image sharing, and sharing sharing has increased in a way our brains and emotions have not. We humans need to step back and see how fundamentally different human interaction has become since the internet's adaptation by billions. This onslaught of pictures and stories and potential and the fact make visual that we are all connected to every body. It's affecting our brains. We have no choice but to evolve."
AMEN. We are so constantly exposed to incomplete and curated pictures of the lives of other human beings, it's no wonder we get consumed with jealousy sometimes. It's no wonder we assume that everybody's doing better than we are.
I found Helen Jane's post so healing, I've been sending the link to every online friend who publicly expresses that they're feeling jealous or left out or less-than. And interestingly, each time I've done this, a bunch of other people have popped into the conversation to say, "I feel that way sometimes, too."
The one lesson I'm taking away from July is this: we all need to remember that we're in choppy, unprecedented waters here and it's okay to get emotionally overwhelmed. It's okay to feel jealous, too, as long as we remember to be kind to ourselves, and know that (on the internet at least) jealousy usually has lots of company.