Social media is the worst these days. If it isn’t political hate and slander, it’s troubling stories of those hit in the face by political hate and slander. It’s mud-slinging at its virtual worst.
Then, outside of the mud ring, we find the sappy-sweet circle of friends populating our newsfeed: the wedding photos, the engagement photos, the “Man-Crush-Mondays,” the baby photos, the graduation photos, and so on.
For those of us who refuse to engage in the mud-slinging and have no comment to offer up in the major-life-event department, we find solace in cute animal videos. But, I have to admit, even the endless puppy videos give me puppy-envy.
So why am I hooked to social media? I know I’m a Millennial (and you are too if you were born between 1980 and 2000–stop denying it already and just help us make a better name for ourselves, here), but I’m not exactly what you would call “social media savvy.” If anything, I rely on many of my friends to keep me “in the times” and updated on social media trends and innovations.
The truth? I’m a real big sucker for comparison. That’s why social media can be so addicting despite never posting a single comment, photo, or post. It’s intriguing to see into people’s personal lives and play the comparison game, especially in regards to happiness.
Here’s what I mean: It’s so easy to pick up my phone, open my Facebook app, and immediately find one person within seconds of scrolling who has something I don’t have, whether that be an opportunity, a significant other, a family, a house, etc. And, because of the nature of the post, I also know this person is happy in conjunction with having this something I lack. And so, in that moment of comparison, my brain tries to make sense of what I know: Person A has a thing. In their post, Person A is happy. Therefore, Person A is happy because of their thing.
Meanwhile, here I am without a thing. So where does this leave me if I follow my own silly logic?
Or, find say an entirely different person posting negative commentary on world events. My brain takes an entirely different approach to this person. Here, I find myself comparing my own beliefs and emotions around the subject of the post to that of the author’s. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t. And because of the nature of the post, I also know this person is angry or upset in conjunction with having their belief or opinion. And so, in that moment of comparison, my brain tries to make sense of what I know: Person B has an opinion. In their post, Person B is angry/upset. Therefore, Person B is angry/upset because of their opinion.
Meanwhile, here I am lost in my beliefs and emotions around the subject, struggling to come to terms with how I might offer hope and light from my position in the world.
Sitting in my office this morning, I got hit by a couple of comparison bombs thrown my way after a quick scroll through social media.
And I have to tell you, I wasn’t carrying a shield. I was sensitive and vulnerable.
I envied the newly engaged beauty, the incredibly successful communications guru, the couple with the adorable toddler, the girl who makes time to really do what she loves. Yet, my heart also broke for my students confused by what was being said about Christians in light of the actions of an elected official, for friends who voiced serious fear about their futures in this country.
And I cried. I cried the most honest prayer I have prayed in quite a while, mostly because I wasn’t actually praying to get a response.
“When will I get my happy ending? When will my life reach that place of happiness?”
He immediately answered me.
“I AM your happy ending, baby girl.”