Don’t let jealousy or fear-of-missing-out sabotage your season.
Saint Augustine, the early Christian theologian, wrote, “He who is jealous is not in love.” Rather than referring to romantic love, I believe this quote means that a person consumed by envy cannot see the world through loving eyes.
This idea comes to my mind each summer, especially when my social media accounts light up with fabulous, exciting posts from my friends and family. I’m not generally a jealous person—and I am supremely aware of and grateful for the joys and privileges that I get to enjoy on a daily basis.
But there’s something about summer that tempts the green-eyed monster to look askance at the exotic travel, luscious foods and fun gatherings that populate our social media feeds.
These three tips are useful year-round, not just in summertime. But especially at this time of year, it’s important to cultivate healthy social media habits that can free us to love the lives we are all lucky enough to live.
1) Disable Notifications
If you’re having a quiet afternoon in the back yard, but your phone is buzzing every 10 seconds to report on your friends’ mountain hike or sunset cruise, you’re literally being pulled out of the present moment and into someone else’s experience. Use your phone’s settings to turn off the function where new posts pop up as alerts. In an instant, you’ve just reclaimed control over how often you are checking in with your social media feeds.
2) Log On with a Purpose
Mindless scrolling isn’t a great habit, for two main reasons. For one thing, it’s a time-sucking distraction from myriad other things you could be doing. But it is also a fishing expedition for posts that might make you feel jealous or left out. Try making a schedule for when you will check social media—and when you do log on, have an intention for how you will spend your time there. You might decide you want to share something special that happened to you. Or you might think, “I wonder how Susan’s beach vacation is going?” Whatever your purpose, stick to your schedule, and remember that more scrolling doesn’t translate to more meaning.
3) Make Summer Happen “In Real Life”
The acronym “IRL,” which stands for “in real life,” is a helpful summer watchword. There’s no better antidote for feeling envious of a friend’s biking group or movie club than starting one yourself. Use your social media accounts to reach out to friends you’d like to get together with, and make summer memories that you can share—or not—from a place of happiness and, of course, love.