Imagine mindlessly scrolling through social media when you find a post that strikes a chord. The question posed is, “How do you cope with poverty and watching everyone around you travel and live their best lives?” We’ve combed the depths of the internet to gather a collection of statements where people from all walks of life share their secrets to staying rational while their bank accounts remain less than ideal. Grab your favorite cheap drink, settle into that slightly lumpy sofa, and prepare to tackle a journey through the digital domain, where budget-conscious connection meets witty, everyday wisdom.
“Comparison is the thief of joy. Unfollowing these people on social media is a good start.”
“Hard agree. I’ve lived the pauper lifestyle for the last six years and the absolute best thing I did for myself was getting away from social media that’s not anonymous.”
“Much of that life is highly curated and filtered and not what reality looks like for them. A vast majority of these folks are in debt too. Get off social media and start living your own best life. Only compare yourself to you.”
“I’ve read something that when you look at someone’s social media, you are looking at their highlight reel… and you’re comparing it to your blooper clips. Maybe you don’t have extra money to travel but think about the joys you have in your life. Your friends, family, pets. Taking walks in the morning and having delicious food. I’d even wager to say that you can spark more joy from the simple things in life than from things that look fun ‘on paper.’ Focus on the joys in your life.”
“Reading. Lots and lots of reading. If I just keep my head down and in a book, there’s nothing to be envious of.”
“Even though I can afford to take maybe a trip a year, society and social media make you feel like that’s still not enough and you’re missing out on everything all the time. I started to think about how enriching and fulfilling watching some shows/movies and reading books can be. It’s so immersive and exciting. Is it the real thing? No, but it’s still an experience.”
I also think about how, 100 years ago, most people never went more than 50 miles from their homes. Not trying to play the “be grateful” thing, but it’s more of a reframing of the perspective when I feel beaten down by the world. Everyone deserves the chance to go places and explore and I hope you get to soon.”
Work and Travel
“I got a job in aviation and travel first class for free all over the world. Back ‘at home,’ I share an apartment with 10+ people.”
“May I ask what you think about this or how you cope with your life outside of work after seeing what money can buy?”
“It’s wild to me that I found this job that lets me travel in style for free when others pay $10,000 for the same ticket. I don’t mind my life outside of work. I live with others who work in aviation and we just share stories, go to brunch on a random Wednesday morning, and enjoy life as best as we can. I used to work in tech before and money didn’t make me happy.”
“I have moments where I feel bad about not being able to do what others can, but I always tell myself, ‘My time will come.’ I refrain from making comparisons. I do not keep tabs on what others do. I unfollowed/muted friends’ profiles and instead engage with random interest pages on Facebook and Instagram.
If ever I had the urge to look at someone’s profile, I objectively observe the posts and come to the conclusion that they are presenting a curated image of themselves on the internet. You only see the ‘aesthetic’ posts, travels, eating out, going to parties, and the like, but rare would you see posts of what they are or what they do on a typical day. From there, I know I am not seeing the ‘real’ them. They only let me see what is visually appealing, what is impressive, and what is pleasing.
Be happy for them, but don’t take it at face value that they have perfect and always happy lives.”
Enjoying the Journey
“For me, I remind myself every day to not make my life about some distant goal, like being rich. While that would be great, we have to enjoy the journey and the path just as much as, if not more, than whatever distant goal we’re working towards. Am I where I thought I would be? No, not at all. Am I broke as all hell, drowning in debt, watching friends buy mansions? Yep. Do I manage to have fun every day? Absolutely, yes.”
“I cope by honestly spending less time with those people, which isn’t always an option. I have to suck up my pride and flat-out say I can’t afford things sometimes. It always feels uncomfortable. I also have made a decision to get closer to people that are more on my income level. The compassion and reality just make it easier.”
“Jealousy is a horrible emotion and those people are putting on a show. You have no idea what is going on behind closed doors of their ‘best lives’ – you are comparing yourself to something that is not genuine or real. There are so many other joys in the world aside from traveling and spending money. I think it really helps to sit back and be thankful for what you do have – somebody out there would be happy with half of that.”
“Knowing that being poor in a 1st world country is 100 times better than being poor in a 3rd world country. Watch some videos on children that have to start working at like 5 years old, keeps you real humble and grateful.”
“I’d rather do potlucks with my friends at our houses than do luxury trips without them. So my advice is to invite people to do things with you that you have the resources to do right now. Tea parties, potlucks, hikes, movie nights, and even just sitting together and having drinks. Yeah, luxurious trips are cool, but if your friends and family care about you, they’ll meet you where you are.”
No Social Media
“I deleted Instagram and Facebook from my life a year ago. One the best decisions I’ve made to date.”
“I don’t have any life-changing advice for you. More of ‘I see you and understand what you’re feeling.’ I try to save what I can here and there for one trip a year. Granted that one trip is a city within driving distance for a 2-3 day stay. I have to romanticize what I can do instead of constantly feeling bad about what I can’t.”
“Some people have it better and some have it worse. Try to focus on what you do have and remember that most people on this planet are making do with less.”
“I live where a lot of foreign tourists come, so I try to look at it through their eyes. People pay thousands of dollars to come here, I get to live here every day!”
Dealing With It
“I make myself believe all of those people have a crippling amount of debt.”
OK, Not To Be OK
“A lot of people value different things, and we only show what we want on social media… everyone has different struggles in life, and it’s also ok to be happy with the life we built, and it’s ok not to be there yet.”
Grateful For It
“You have what you have really, I make sure my family can eat and survive and I’m incredibly grateful for that, I don’t really look at others’ success, honestly.”
“I’m far from rich. I travel – I’ve been lucky to find cheap (though uncomfortable) flights. Always staying at hostels/airbnb – whichever is cheapest. However, I do not ever share anything on social media about my travels. It’s not anyone else’s business what I choose to do.”
“It also helps to realize that pictures/videos are just small snippets of people’s lives, not the whole behind-the-scenes. And just because people have nice things doesn’t mean they can afford them. They are likely in huge amounts of debt.”
“Remember that life is not supposed to be anything. Life is a sandbox and we are built from where we are, don’t compare yourself with anyone, your time will come :)”
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