Every time you look at your ex's social media accounts, there's a pretty good chance your mind will misinterpret what you see. This is probably because you have some unresolved feelings after your breakup.
I'd like to offer you a bit of advice. I want you to either stop checking your ex's recent Instagram pictures or change the way you interpret what you see (if you can't stop yourself from looking). Either way, you will need a proper social media healing strategy to minimize the power your ex still has over you.
Mastering the "grand social media illusion" is a fantastic way to jump-start your healing process.
Welcome to the grand social media illusion.
This is the assumption that your ex has been thriving since the relationship ended, simply based on your misinterpretation of the pictures your ex has posted on social media. This illusion preys on people who feel hurt, betrayed, replaced, mislead, used, abandoned or ignored by their ex following a breakup.
The painful part of the illusion occurs when your ex appears to be thriving in some way. It can be even worse if your ex appears to have met someone new.
Despite unfollowing, unfriending and blocking your ex all over the social media universe, it's human nature to let your curiosity get the better of you. It's normal to stalk your ex on social media, despite knowing how crappy it makes you feel.
In truth, a messy social media breakup is more common than a clean profile separation. Despite its masochistic elements, people have their reasons for staying digitally connected to their former romantic partners. It's usually a system of justification, and it's riddled with ambivalence and pain.
Your ignorant, but well-intentioned friend or relative will tell you, "I don't understand. Why don't you just stop checking your ex's profile?"
Unfortunately, breakups are not that simple. Social media breakups are even more complicated.
Just when you thought you'd built up enough inner strength to stop spying on your former love, the urge to check got the better of you. I'm going to teach you how to spot the grand social media illusion and see right through it, so you can heal properly from your breakup and move on with your life.
Why You're Fooled by Your Ex's Social Media Photos
First, let's take a quick look at the factors making you prone to being tortured by your ex's social media pics and posts. Here are five factors that influence you:
1. A Sense Of Control Over the Breakup
The perception of control will reduce your concerns that your ex is thriving without you in his or her life.
2. Your Level Of Bitterness
If you feel hurt or betrayed by your ex — or if the relationship included abusive behavior or unhealthy elements of emotional dependency — you're prone to suffer.
3. An Envious Nature
People who practice and share their gratitude both on and off social media are less likely to ruminate about the hurt and pain post-breakup.
4. Willingness To Take Responsibility
Owning your part in a failed relationship helps you blame others less. You are more likely to engage in behaviors that promote healing.
5. Being Passive
If you have the habit of questioning the motivation or reality behind outward appearances, you'll have another line of defense. This will prevent you from misinterpreting pictures in a way that hurts you.
Your Strategy For Conquering The Grand Social Media Illusion
OK, now that we've identified some possible reasons why you're suffering at the hands of your ex's post-break-up posts, let's look at what you can do to smash the illusion. The theme of this self-help intervention centers around coping statements. These words can have a powerful impact on how you talk yourself through a weak moment of peeking at your ex.
Repeat the following statements to yourself whenever you feel the need to check your ex's social media profiles (or even after you've checked them):
1. My ex isn't going to post pictures of his (or her) worst angles, so why should I believe what I see?
2. Social media profiles are marketing campaigns. It's just a matter of whether or not I choose to buy into that campaign.
3. My ex has an investment in proving to the world that he or she has been thriving since the breakup.
4. I also show my best photos on social media, so why can't my ex? Everyone is allowed to look good on social media.
5. I choose to believe that what I see in my ex's social media photos is not the whole truth.
6. My healing process will speed up when I can accept my ex's current situation, no matter what it is. My happiness is not tied to my ex's situation.
7. I don't have to view social media to know that my ex has his or her own process of doing whatever he or she must do in order to move forward in his or her life.
8. Even if my ex moves on soon, I know I have a lot to offer in a relationship. I know my ex will no longer receive the benefits of my love.
9. It's human nature to distort what I see on my ex's social media profiles. I will see through this distortion.
10. I know what the grand social media illusion is, and I refuse to fall for it.
Copy these coping statements in a note on your phone, or save this page so you can access it when you need a dose of the truth. Just know that weaning yourself off your ex's social media profiles is a process. It doesn't happen overnight, so be reasonable with yourself.