Technology and Humanity//

Demi Lovato on Taking Breaks from Social Media, Haters and Self-Worth

‘A like on Instagram is not somebody telling you that you're beautiful.’

For the latest episode of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeartRadio, Arianna Huffington sits down with Grammy-nominated, singer/songwriter and activist Demi Lovato. The two have a wide-ranging conversation on everything from life in the spotlight and social media to mental illness and religion.

With 120 million followers across her social media platforms, Lovato has learned to keep healthy social media boundaries, especially when it comes to time management and confidence.

“It doesn’t help that there are social media sites that tell you your self worth, basically, through likes,” Lovato said. “I think that it’s important for teenagers and young people to remember that that’s not what makes them beautiful. A like on Instagram is not somebody telling you that you’re beautiful. It’s somebody just liking your post.”

And when it comes to dealing with negative social comments? Lovato has learned to stick an arm out to them.

“I think when you give it power, then you start to believe what they say,” Lovato said. “And if you don’t give it power, you don’t believe what they say, and therefore, it can’t affect you.”

But it’s not always so easy. In 2016, Lovato decided to take a break from social media.

“I’ve taken several breaks throughout my career,” Lovato said. “I took a break because I feel like sometimes social media can become overwhelming, especially when you have so many followers that are saying so many things to you, and it’s hard to separate negative and positive. And when it becomes that mesh of both, it’s time to take a break and say, ‘You know what, I’m good for right now. I’m just gonna post things that are absolutely necessary to post, but I’m not gonna spend all of my time on it.’”

But of course it’s impossible to block out all of the noise in our 24/7 world, so Lovato decided to channel some of it in her music.

Her new single, Sorry Not Sorry, is an unapologetic anthem for haters. “Anybody that’s tried to bring me down, I sing this song to them,” Lovato said. “Anybody that can relate to this song who has bullies or has been bullied in the past, this is for them, too.”

Huffington asked the singer what it’s like to look out from the stage of a sold-out concert to a sea of cell phones, noting the lost power of people just watching and listening.

“I have a feeling that most people never look at the video they take,” Huffington said.

“I learned that, because I would do that at concerts, and then I realized, I never go back and watch the video,” Lovato said. “And I might post it on Instagram or post it somewhere, but it lives there for a short time, and then I’m over it, you know? So, you might as well just listen, like you said….I think that’s something a lot of people forget to do nowadays.”

Huffington suggested an experiment: what if Lovato asked her fans to set aside a portion of a concert for no photos, videos, or social media to encourage people to be 100% present and experience something together?

“I think that’s a fantastic idea,” she said. 

To hear the full conversation, click here.

You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.

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