Self

The Person You're Most Jealous Of On Facebook

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woman in sweater scrolling phone

We’ve all done it: scrolling through photos on Facebook and making some comparisons between what we see online and what we see in the mirror.

There’s the ultra-thin friend who, even after three kids, is still a size 0. The friend who, in every single selfie, looks absolutely perfect. Or, the friend whose "I woke up like this" hashtag puts your head in a tailspin, because how is it even possible that someone hasn't aged in nearly a decade?

Yes, we’ve all had those thoughts and we’ve shaken our fists at the sky, angry and jealous.

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It's called Facebook envy.

But while such behavior is pretty much the norm, especially for women, a 2015 study found that when it comes to all this comparing and contrasting, we’re actually looking at ourselves now versus ourselves then more than anything.

Researchers found that, on average, women spend roughly two hours a day on Facebook, which is about 40 percent of their overall time on the Internet. It's these female Facebook users who are more likely to compare themselves to, well... themselves, as opposed to their friends and/or celebrities.

Perhaps, we’ve all given up on trying to look like Beyoncé after all?

According to the study, this is self-objectification in which these women look at themselves as if they’re an observer, and they do so with a "greater focus" on specific parts of the body, as opposed to the total package.

Your thighs at 40 are never going to be what they were at 25. It’s just basic math. But realistically, do you want to have the same thighs 15 years later? No.

Having the same anything 10 or more years later is proof of being stagnant.

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It represents a life not lived, an existence that rolled with the tides instead of trying to occasionally fight them. It’s proof that you have not changed, evolved, grown, and maybe not even laughed or loved as often as you could have.

You’re human. You aren't meant to stay eternally anything, because, for lack of a better phrase, that’s life.

If we waste time comparing ourselves to ourselves, it’s like a dog chasing its tail: You get nowhere and just end up dizzy, trying to figure out why some things are so impossible.

It’s one thing to appreciate the way we look in older photos, maybe even slightly mourn for the days before mortgages, grey hair, and backaches, but to angrily look back without that awareness is to virtually subtract the importance in your life between then and now.

Why would anyone want to do that? Deep down, you don’t want to.

As a means to avoid such behavior, researchers suggest that those prone to staring down photos from their past with some sort of contempt should post fewer photos on Facebook, because obviously.

They also suggest that these women unfollow those who are excessive in posting photos of themselves, and maybe even quit being on Facebook so much altogether. When was the last time you got off social media and went outside?

It’s unhealthy enough to compare ourselves to those around us, but when we start comparing ourselves to ourselves, things get way too messy and you just end up getting nowhere. You know, like that dog who insists upon chasing his tail. Silly pup!

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Amanda Chatel is a regular contributor to Bustle and Glamour, with bylines at Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Livingly, Mic, The Bolde, Huffington Post, and others. Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in April 2015.

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