Opinion

4 Ways Social Media Makes You Feel Like a Pauper

social media poor beggar

Joanne Poh

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The common Singaporean complaint about not having enough money is, to a certain extent, a matter of perspective. Many of us make ourselves miserable not because we’re really poor, but because everyone else looks so rich in comparison—cue Ferraris roaring past. In fact, wealth has been shown to have less of an effective on people’s happiness levels than relative wealth—that means  being poorer than the people around you will make you miserable even if you’re pretty well off yourself.

If you ask me, I don’t slave away all those hours in front of a computer just to feel crappy that someone else has got more. It’s in your best interests to gain as much happiness as possible out of the money you do have. And one of the things that’s holding you back is social media. Here are four ways social media makes you feel poor and unhappy.

 

It looks like everyone is having the time of their lives

Many people make social media posts to boost their self-image in some way. Sure, everyone bends down to remove hairs from the shower drain and picks remnants from that last chai png meal from their teeth. But nobody posts these moment on Instagram because they do nothing to make them look like they’re having the time of their lives.

The posts that people do make revolve around them having a fun and/or meaningful time, whatever that means to them. Whether that means partying till they’re blue in the face, dressing their kids up like Pixar’s latest character or travelling to exotic places with unpronounceable names, you can be sure that they’re posting only about the high points in their lives.

The trouble is that life is really made up of lots of ordinary moments. Just because a couple of people on your Facebook or Instagram feed are taking first class flights to private islands doesn’t mean you should feel bitter about the fact that you can’t afford to.

 

Everyone looks great all the time

The average female’s Facebook display pic is professional-grade glamorous. Nobody wants to look like crap on social media, so you’re tricked into thinking your friends look fantastic all day, every day. If you start believing that everyone you know looks like they stepped out of GQ or Vogue, your own clothes are going to start to feel like rags.

If you’re the sort of person who cares a lot about fashion and doesn’t like being seen in the same outfit twice, checking out too many OOTDs on Instagram can make you feel like a pauper or, worse, send you into a shopping frenzy.

 

Everyone else seems to score bigger wins than you

Facebook’s milestones function enables people to celebrate important events in their lives. Unfortunately, when you’re being bombarded with promotion after promotion, lavish wedding after lavish wedding and awesome investment after awesome investment, it’s easy to start feeling like good things never happen to you.

Your own life and career can start seeming pretty damn mediocre in front of everyone else’s humble bragging. If you’re starting to feel hopeless, it might be time to unplug and realise that everyone has their own path in life. Just because it seems like everyone but you is enjoying big wins doesn’t mean you need to panic or despair. It takes hard work and effort to achieve what you want in life. People might be documenting their wins, but they’re also conveniently leaving out the late nights at at the office.

 

Everyone else seems to lead more sophisticated lives

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a ton of people on my Facebook feed who always seem to be staying in glamorous hotels on ski trips, love polishing their cars and take incessant pictures of food at restaurants that would make me balk at the price. When I imagine some of my friends’ lives, they might as well be from another galaxy. Suddenly you look around and you’re the only one who still drinks Tiger beer and takes the bus.

If you start believing you’re the most underprivileged person on the face of the earth, you need a wake up call. There are all kinds of people in this country and on this earth, some better off and some worse off financially speaking. Don’t let Facebook or Instagram tell you otherwise. And let’s face it, many of the people whose lives look fabulous on social media are a lot less fabulous than they make themselves seem anyway.

Has social media ever had any of the above effects on you? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.