In the past few months I’ve noticed that I use Facebook as a way to compare my life to those of my Facebook friends. And while I love the life I’ve created, watching other peoples’ lives fly by in my feed leaves me with a distinct feeling of discontent. Of being less than somehow. Of wanting some unnamed thing that I can’t put my finger on.
More often than not, I close the Facebook app on my phone with a feeling of discontent in my body. Sadness at the disarray and violence of the world at large. Sadness at the things that normally kind-hearted people say to each other behind the security of their device’s screen. Just sadness.
It isn’t healthy.
A couple of weeks ago, I started a new online painting class that I’ve wanted to take for a long time. It covers a completely different portrait painting style that focuses on rawness and more realistic styling. I eagerly dove in. I loved it!
Then I started paying attention to the images being posted in the Facebook classroom. I was simply awestruck by the paintings being shared there. The other students are incredibly gifted. Their paintings looked like fine art. Stuff you’d pay a lot of money for in some swanky gallery.
I started to feel pretty self-conscious about my attempts. While their paintings looked like works from a master painter, mine looked like a junior high art project.
I felt very small.
I stopped posting my art.
Then I stopped painting my assignments altogether.
And I felt sad.
Because I wanted to paint and my comparing was getting in the way.
It was in this sadness that I realized that it’s true–comparison IS the thief of joy. Why was I comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle? Most of those painters have taken the class before–and I knew that and I still felt small.
Why was I doing this to myself?
I realized then that I don’t want to compare myself to others anymore. I simply want to paint. Likewise, with Facebook. I’m over comparing my life to the highlight reels I see in my Facebook feed. I want to live my awesome life that I love because it’s awesome. Truly.
With that in mind, I’m actively going to stay away from Facebook through the end of the year as an experiment of sorts. To see if I can spend more time living–and painting–my joy during that time. It won’t be easy because is Facebook is addicting, but I’m going to try to focus more on what matters to me. Spend more time with my wife and canine kid and painting and doing yoga. If you want to reach out via phone or email or chat–cool! I welcome it!
Heres one of my favorite YouTube videos as a reminder that it’s time for me to worry only about myself and focus less on what others are doing.
I hope you turn toward the things that give you joy this holiday season and away from things that dull your shine.