As we welcome 2021 and what the first couple weeks have brought, I wanted to share a meme circulating around social media. It goes like this, “I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021, I’ve experienced the 7 day trial and I’m not interested.” That about sums it up! 

Last month, I wrote about cultivating a healthy mind, body and spirit. Managing our time on social media is key to obtaining that. Have you ever felt like you have had enough of social media; I mean, enough to deactivate your accounts? Sometimes we need to take a break or detox from the negativity, anxiety, and the overload of opinions. Currently, the boastful political posts overload news feeds causing stress and divide. It amazes me how people become so empowered, hateful and outright mean hiding behind a screen when it comes to certain topics.  We protect our children and teach them about bullying but then some adults have become online bullies or know it alls to a point of total disregard for others feelings. This behavior initiates either debate or choosing to say nothing to keep the peace, knowing with some on the other end of the screen there will be no compromise or understanding. Ultimately choosing to distance ourselves from this platform, person or argument. It’s ok to be passionate about something but we want to be able to conversate with one another even if our viewpoints are drastically different.

Social media apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik-Tok, etc., can trigger our fears of wanting to be liked, accepted or FOMO (fear of missing out).They send us on a roller coaster of emotions. I have personally experienced this on different levels far more times than I’d like to admit. For example, the fear of missing out can occur when we see pictures of gorgeous beaches while someone is on vacation in Hawaii.  You might think to yourself, “I have always wanted to go there; I hate the snow and cold;  I wish I was on the beach or poolside with a drink in my hand and the sun shining down on me.” Another FOMO trigger could be seeing other people in relationships and how happy they are in them. You may feel lacking in a relationship or just suffered a loss in a very meaningful relationship with a significant other, family, friends or at work. We most certainly want to be excited for others and their experiences or the good things that are happening for them, but there are times our thoughts get in the way. Point being, staring at social media will only heighten those feelings.

Social media can also bring out the desire to be liked, accepted or good enough. Something about these platforms, be it the perfectly edited selfies or the photos depicting seemingly perfect lives, can bring out insecurities in even the most confident people. This is most obvious and troublesome when seeing the dangers younger kids/teens face on a daily basis during crucial stages of being self conscious, hormonal and insecure. Many look at numbers of friends, followers, and likes to feel validated. It can be easy to compare ourselves to our friends or those we follow, like when you see a friend post about their killer workout when you haven’t worked out or had the motivation to. In an instant, seeing a post about something you’ve wanted to accomplish can make you feel badly about yourself. Just like Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

 I recently had an interesting conversation with an old friend via text. He is in the music industry and I have always thought so highly of him and all he has accomplished. So, I was surprised as we talked about social media by one of his responses. He said, “I’ve spent my entire adult life and career comparing myself to others in my industry instead of just enjoying my accomplishments and being proud of them. A lot of that was due to how social media makes us feel like we are missing out on something exciting and meaningful. It’s really a shame what this technology can do to our confidence and sense of self.”  I was shocked to hear that even someone with major success in life felt this way but it just validates the fact that we all have insecurities and we allow them to be heightened by social media when we compare ourselves to others perceived success.

We don’t share our horrible day, lost deals, broken heart or ALL the bad photos as openly on social media. Well, we all have that one friend, you know the one- Debbie Downer, the Karen’s but we don’t let them bring us down. Isn’t it ironic that we roll our eyes at that and keep scrolling but seeing someone share success or a gorgeous selfie stops us in our tracks. It may have taken 50 shots to get a selfie that friend liked but then they continue to alter, edit and filter that photo until we barely recognize them. In our mind we think, surely everyone else that liked the picture knows that isn’t what they truly look like!  Again we have to stop in our tracks and realize that what we see isn’t always reality and if some of it is, then admire the drive that person has or how hard they work to accomplish what they have and love that photo because you know they have a lot of time and thought into it.  

 The grass in fact isn’t always greener and quite possibly isn’t even green!  If you are able to see this, knowing it isn’t healthy for anyone, manage your time wisely, stay focused on positive, find ways to use these platforms for marketing and doing or spreading GOOD then “we can be the change we want to see in the social media world!”  Having a more mindful approach and leaving the madness behind because we shouldn’t compare ourselves and our lives to the filtered, hand-picked and edited versions of what’s out there! Be You- unfiltered!