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A sound heart is life to the body,

But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Proverbs 14:30

The tabloids at the grocery store love to see falling stars. They are adorned with pictures of celebrities with supposed drug addictions, weight problems, unfaithful relationships. In our media-obsessed culture, even bad publicity is considered good publicity. Reality TV shows teach us that even regular people can develop a fan base, and our Facebook profiles are mini-shrines to our daily accomplishments. We love attention.

I’m no exception to this rule. At times, I have to unplug from media because of its toxic nature. Being privy to people’s lives can be fun, but our social networking obsession also has a negative impact on our mental well-being. Not only can we share our experiences with others more easily than ever, we can also compare those experiences to others just as easily. What this means is that we aren’t just seeing our lives—we are seeing the lives of dozens, maybe hundreds, of people that we are “friends” with online. We see their weddings, their baby showers, their new haircuts. All the moments of their lives are put online. At least, that’s how it appears. The truth is that there are plenty of moments that aren’t being documented on the Internet, but like those supposed “reality” TV shows, the moments that are displayed are carefully chosen and edited to reflect a certain aesthetic.

Studies have shown that people who spend too much time on Facebook are actually sadder than those who spend less time online. When we look at a person’s online life, we are seeing only a small sliver of the true story. That woman from your graduating high school class who had a fairy tale wedding last year struggles with money, too. That guy from your college biology class who is now making more in a year than you’ll make in five has problems in his relationships, too.

As we are taught in proverbs, “envy is rottenness to the bones.” Have you ever let social media get into your bones? When you are feeling sad and lost because of comparing your life to the lives of others, take a step back. Deactivate your account for a few days if you have to. Unplug and go live the life that God has given you instead of worrying about what others were given.

This post was written by Emily Haymans. 

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