How You Can Like Facebook Again
A few months ago, theonion.com, a satirical news website, released an article called Number of Users Who Actually Enjoy Facebook Down to 4. The article was funny because, though it was exaggerated, I could relate to many things it could said (as I’m sure many of my friends could too).
The article kidded that lots of people can’t stop logging onto Facebook, even though it doesn’t make them happy. Now, I certainly don’t think Facebook should fulfill all your wildest dreams, but does Facebook really have to be a continual source of dissatisfaction?
Here are some things your friends might post on Facebook:
A friend posts beautiful engagement photos of her and her fiance, and they look so happy together.
A friend announces her excitement about getting accepted into such and such grad-school program.
A friend posts that her eight-week-old baby slept for 11 hours straight last night.
A friend from work posts her finish time from her first half marathon, and it’s really fast.
These are pretty normal scenarios. So why might some of these prompt you to log off Facebook in an angry huff?
A friend posts beautiful engagement photos of her and her fiance, and they look so happy together. YOU don’t even have a boyfriend.
A friend announces her excitement about getting accepted into such and such grad-school program. YOU applied to the same program, and were rejected.
A friend posts that her eight-week-old baby slept for 11 hours straight last night. YOUR baby is eight months old and still wakes up in the middle of the night consistently.
A friend from work posts her finish time from her first half marathon, and it’s really fast. YOU can’t even run down the block because of your ankle injury, not to mention run a stellar half marathon time.
So how are you feeling toward these four friends right about now? Not very friendly. First of all, who do they think they are, bragging this stuff all over Facebook! Bragging is wrong, right? Why do these girls think they’re better than everyone else? If these people are supposed to be our friends, then why are their posts making us feel so dissatisfied? (Notice, I switched to “us,” because this has been me many times before!)
The answer is simple: comparison and envy. Comparison: she has something, I don’t. Envy: I want what she has, and that makes me unhappy.
Sometimes I feel like I can’t stop from comparing myself to others. But you know what? We can. And we can keep from envying them too.
First of all, we can find our worth in God, the source of all worth. It is not engagement, acceptance to a program, your baby’s behavior, your athleticism, or anything else that measures your worth. You are precious in the eyes of God, who created you in His image and has a desire to know you as His child. A relationship with God, and richly experiencing Christ, are more satisfying than the things that we don’t have that we think we want or need.
Second of all, we can love our friends and celebrate with them. This is easier when we are finding our worth in God, instead of measuring it in other ways. But it’s still a choice we have to make.
When a friend got into the school that you wanted to get into, you can choose to be bitter and angry, or you can choose to set that aside and rejoice with her! Congratulate her and be happy for her. Lots of people will say you have a right to feel bitter and angry. I think they are wrong. The right thing to do is to be happy for her. And, while this may seem totally counter-intuitive, it will make you happier.
There’s another side to this coin as well. Since I have seen people post happy things, but have felt unhappy about them, I am sometimes tempted to not post happy things of my own, for fear of other people being angry at me for it. What if they think I’m bragging? I have decided that (assuming the intention of my heart is good, and I’m actually not bragging) I will not deny my friends the chance to rejoice with me. Because that’s what friends do! Here goes:
Hopefully by loving our friends and rejoicing with them when they post something happy, logging onto Facebook can be a fun way to further friendships, and not a source of dissatisfaction fueled by the ugly monsters of comparison and envy. That’s what I’m seeking for myself, and I hope you will join me!
You might also enjoy reading How to Survive Election Season Without “Unfriending” Anyone.