Struggling with Instagram Envy

Struggling with Instagram Envy

It’s easy to become convinced that many of your friends and acquaintances live more exciting lives when we see filtered and carefully selected shots from their life on social media.

There is a growing trend with heavy users of social media that shows Instagram comparison causing and rooting envy in the hearts of users. Suddenly it becomes more difficult not to compare your life with others. We can be doing our regular routine of school, work, or housework and it only takes one picture of a friend’s vacation at an exotic beach to spark the flame of emotions. Whether it’s something good like meeting the Pope or something as normal as getting a beautifully foamed coffee, our restless hearts try to compare.

comparisonRisks and Opportunity

Real life doesn’t have Instagram filters, and not everything we do is Pinterest-worthy One of the most challenging aspects of social media is the way it filters content from the lives of our friends and acquaintances. In reality, no one’s life is as polished and put together as it looks through social media.

I’ve shared about how Instagram is a great place for sharing about your faith, but it requires the awareness of its temptations. We can all agree that social media makes it easy waste a lot of time, but we can also easily downplay envy as normal and expected. Although, we can’t overlook it because envy is a capital sin and can hurt us.

“This means that in this community there was no room for gossip, envy, calumnies, defamation. Peace. Forgiveness: ‘Love covered everything’. To qualify a Christian community on this, we have to ask about the attitude of the Christians. Are they meek, humble? Do they vie for power between each other in that community? Are there envious quarrels? Is there gossip? They are not on the path of Jesus Christ. This feature is so important, so important, because the devil always tries to divide us. He is the father of division”

Pope Francis – May 2014

Reasons for Sharing

Sometimes it’s tempting to share every thought that comes to mind or anything we see that is even remotely interesting, but the best things in life happen off the internet. Other times we want to share just for the sake of showing off, proving our life is going well, or defending that we’re not boring people.

At the same time, the fun of Instagram is that we can share our experiences with our loved ones that didn’t get to experience it with us. That’s the beauty of community. We celebrate the good times and support each other in the rough times that aren’t attractive enough for social sharing.

Communal Experiences and Emotions

Every time we share on social media, we can actually affect the way our community feels. There is an ability spread a spirit of unity or animosity through our social community. Digital communication offers a limited experience, but research has shown that it amplifies the way that our community reacts.

In addition to the “contagion” effect, the team also noticed a withdrawal effect, where people exposed to fewer emotional posts tended to post less expressive updates.

“This observation, and the fact that people were more emotionally positive in response to positive emotion updates from their friends, stands in contrast to theories that suggest viewing positive posts by friends on Facebook may somehow affect us negatively,” Hancock said in a statement. “In fact, this is the result when people are exposed to less positive content, rather than more.”

Read more at Mashable

We’re not in this alone, and we’re blessed that God chose for us to live in this exciting time in creation. Neither of which happened by accident. We can choose to build up our community and share in the moments of life together in our personal journeys. When our hearts feel unsatisfied by the good things of this world, we have to remind ourselves that they simply weren’t created for this world.

May the Lord give us all a spirit of gratitude and charity.

  • DanC

    Is the president of Austin Catholic New Media casting doubt on one of the foremost social media channels?

    I think Instagram is just another technology that brings people closer, with all the good and bad that that closeness brings. I don’t use Instagram, but I do find much of the Internet to be a downer (most news websites are unbelievably depressing) and hence try to limit what I look at on line. Too much time surfing the net makes me depressed.

    • Trenton Henrichson

      I agree that technology brings good and bad but I’m not sure it always brings people “closer”. Social media is a communication tool and communication is the bedrock of any good relationship. Of course if you use that tool to elevate yourself and put others down. Or explain why one group is “right” and another group is “wrong” this communication will probably drive people screaming away from you. I agree that news websites our depressing. I understand they sometimes concentrate on negative stories “…if it bleeds…” that was always the case. What is new is because there is so many new “journalists” people now have to compete for attention and they spend less time doing real news and more time doing opinion (which is easier). So this makes all the news sites a little more slanted and a little more combative and more willing to use exaggeration to keep your interest. This makes for more depressing news. As a blogger I continually struggle with showing a clear point of view and being antagonistic towards people who have other points of views. Then I read other professional bloggers and I realize they got that way by BEING ANTAGONISTIC. Even Christian bloggers seem to get famous these days by appealing to mans least Christian inclinations. IE the inclination to be RIGHT and to judge everyone else who is WRONG. Sigh and now I’m depressed.