The cost of keeping up with the idealized lives of others.
They even have a name for it. The discrepancy monitor. The discrepancy monitor is described as a process that continually monitors and evaluates our self and our current situation against a gold standard – our idea of what is desired, required or expected. This is often the root cause of that rumination we find ourselves doing on automatic pilot much of the time.
If we stop and listen to our automatic internal monologue most of us will admit that it probably sounds something like this……
I shouldn’t be feeling this tired… I should have got an early night…. Now I’m going to be useless all day… Why am I feeling this way AGAIN….I should be able to manage this… What if things are always this way….I don’t feel like talking to my friends right now but I know I really should do….Oh I should have answered my phone just then… Everyone else seems to manage fine… I shouldn’t have eaten that cake last night…. and on and on and ON.
We dwell on current moods and feelings, past events and all the things that will happen if things don’t change. We find mismatches between how we are and how we feel we ‘should’ be. We try and reduce these discrepancies but can’t work out how to. Ruminating make our mood more negative. The discrepancy monitor goes into overdrive and we spiral miserably down.
Mindfulness helps us to recognise when we are trying to solve moods or feelings through thinking and change our mental gears and approaching how we feel in a different way. If the above sounds like you I’d take a look into it. BeMindful is a good place to start. But this is going on in many of our heads anyway. What happens when we bring social media into the mix?
Like much of the mindfulness movement, they tend to play fast and loose with both psychology and with the Eastern thought on which mindfulness is based. This case is no exception in that the foundational plumb line of normal to which each sane person continually compares him or her self is construed as a foundation of un-health instead of the foundation of sanity which it actually is.
But there is a solid point this article makes that is not to be ignored:
When that foundation of sanity is continually fed with other people’s best case fiction, our lives do start coming up short. If that is augmented with engrossive thought and filtered through an inverted, worst case scenario faith, we have significant damage occurring.
It’s not grounds to launch a crusade against FaceBook — but it is worth enjoying the fiction written upon such with a healthy dose of scepticism — or out-right cynicism.