The Social Media “Should-Be” Syndrome

By Abigail Gibbons

As if navigating your twenties wasn’t hard enough already, social media has created an environment that has us questioning our every decision. As you scroll through your feed, do you ever find yourself asking questions like these:

  • Should I be traveling the world?
  • Should I have a better job?
  • Is my relationship good enough?
  • Why hasn’t my boyfriend posted a picture of us?
  • Should I look like that influencer
  • Should I be doing what I am doing now?


The answer to these questions is… well, maybe yes, but maybe no. I have created some “best practices” that keep you from falling down the rabbit hole of social media doubt, and help you stay confident in your choices and direction.


First, as a best practice I stop myself as soon as I hear my self-talk turn negative. When I scroll across a certain post on Instagram that sparks these questions of doubt, I pause and I remind myself that the life on social media is more often than not just a filtered reality. Other peoples’ lives and decisions do not mean I (or you!) should be making the same decisions or living the life you see online.


I challenge you to take the same steps I do and incorporate the following when you find yourself having the “Should-Be Syndrome” as you are scrolling through social media.


First: Recognize it. Allow yourself to be more thoughtful and aware when you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of scrolling on social media. As soon as you begin to have these thoughts of “I should be…” or self doubt, acknowledge it and most importantly, stop yourself right there.


Second: Challenge it. Then, ask yourself some of the following questions.

  • Am I happy in my current position?
  • What about this photo is making me feel I should be doing something different?
  • What is their reality and what is MY reality?
  • Do I like my job?
  • Am I working towards my long-term goals?
  • Do I need a change? Am I ready for a change?


It could be that these questions and doubt are bringing up something deeper. Maybe you need to make  a personal or professional change. On the other hand, if you ask yourself these questions and feel a sense of ease, like you are on track for your long-term goals and have freedom in your career…it may be something as simple as you just needing a vacation. So, start saving for those tickets to Thailand!


Third: Remember that just because it looks perfect on social media, does not mean it is in reality.  Also remember, just because you see others living a different life than you that looks great on social media, does not mean you need to be doing the same. Remember to seek your own personal desires and fulfillment. Are you on a track towards reaching your personal and professional goals?


Your twenties are arguably some of the most challenging and rewarding years of your life. It is a fact that the decisions we make in this decade set us up for the rest of our life. From my own personal experience, social media did inspire me to make a change.  I realized I was unhappy and had to challenge myself to seek my own goal and dream lifestyle that I had always wanted., but never felt I could accomplish. My goal was to start my own business and have the opportunity to travel when I want… and I am doing that today.


I believe having a coach to support, mentor and guide you during this process of change, goal-setting and achievement is a key factor in designing the life you desire. With these tips and steps the should-be syndrome will begin to lessen and you will become more empowered and confident in owning your own life and decisions.

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