You’re sitting on the couch, scrolling through your social feed, when you see it: a friend of a friend just got engaged. And even though you consider yourself a pretty level-headed person, you burst out into tears.
Sure, this person’s relationship has nothing to do with what’s happening in your life—but it’s easy (and normal) to react this way.
“It’s very common, not just with an engagement, but with seeing a baby—even if you’re not in a relationship—or seeing somebody who just landed some sort of milestone,” says Katherine Schafler, a New York City–based psychotherapist. “I call them ‘adulthood stamps.’ They trigger the desires and the wants that you have but, for whatever reason, might not have realised yet.”
What makes being in this situation even more difficult to deal with, says Schafler, is that, after having an initial emotional reaction, many women go on to judge themselves for having had said emotional reaction.
“Reactions are emotionally reflexive things that we don’t do on purpose,” says Schafler. “If someone threw something at you, you’d have a physical reflex of dodging it.” And just as you wouldn’t become upset with yourself for stepping out of the path of that object, Schafler says you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for getting upset about someone’s good news. Rather, she suggests letting yourself react however your natural inclination is to react, and then giving yourself some space before you jump to criticise yourself for that knee-jerk response.
“It’s OK to want these things,” says Schafler. “It’s a good thing. … It’s a reminder of what you want.”
And, in fact, a strong emotional reaction can be helpful because it may suggest that you want to change something about your current situation.
“It might not be that you need to break up with your partner,” says Schafler. “It might be that you haven’t had a conversation with your partner expressing that you even want this in the first place or that you want to make a plan for it.”
And—while we know you know this—it can also help to remind yourself that what you see on social media is a highly curated version of others’ lives, says Brandy Engler, author of The Women on My Couch. “Social media gives us a window into the lives of hundreds of people at a time, but it does not paint an accurate picture,” she says. “People post life milestones, achievements, and whatever else they think enhances their image to their audience… I think it helps to remember that your social feed does not show life’s disappointments, rejections, or fallow periods, where there is nothing much to display.”
Engler recommends focusing on accepting yourself, rather than what’s happening on social media. “Focus on the value of building strong relationships in your life, a strong network of friends and family.”
And, hey, at least you know you’re not the only one who’s gotten upset about someone’s engagement ring photo.
Taken from GLAMOUR US. Click here to read the original.