So an interesting piece in the December Marie Claire titled “Do you Measure Up” got me contemplating what it is we’re all measuring up to.
The story starts out when the reporter is at a prestigious party complete with a star chef in the kitchen and a mini red carpet. You know, like a Real Housewives of Anywhere party when the champagne is flowing and the guests are an A-list roster of Who’s Who in that city. The woman thinks her own life is pretty terrific and then she meets her. The silky-haired, better dressed, prettier version of herself with a hot husband, an on-fire career and a few doting tots back in their trophy home being lovingly cared for by the live-in nanny.
This ‘wish I were you’ doppelganger suddenly made the writer seem like her bubbly flute was only half filled. It wasn’t envy so much, she says, as inadequacy. And worse, this trend, dubbed ‘yard sticking,’ is the impulse for women to pit themselves against other women in order to determine self-worth and social standing.
Problem is, unlike even five years ago when all we had to pit ourselves against was the other moms in the preschool class, the women on our street, or our co-workers, today we have hundreds of Facebook, Twitter and Google + competition. Seems these “look what I got” status updates are kicking our proverbial self-esteem.
Rarely are posts about a fight with our mother, our temper tantrum prone toddler or our work demotion, so the smiling personal and professional posts of social media are making women envious and insecure.
Psychologists warn that yard sticking is OK if we use it for self-improvement. For example, that woman on our Facebook opened a business, got a new car, landed a book deal, how can I get that, too? It only becomes problematic when we let it override our good judgment or wear away our sense of life accomplishment.
So what is it about all the other women in our social media that have us wanting what they’re having? Psychologists say to try to find the answer for yourself. Is it really the BMW in the driveway or the vacation home in Vail, or is it a more simply defined core happiness? They look happier so therefore they are. Perhaps all you need to stop measuring yourself against every social media acquaintance is to actually ask yourself what it is that would make you happier today– and then pursue that.