There was a time when it all started, we hailed the numerous social media platforms for letting us stay in touch. It was nice to get connected with your school buddies on Facebook, keep in touch with the cousin staying abroad or just feel connected looking at what everyone is doing out there.
Until, the time came and all of us started getting entangled in the bandwagon of social media frenzy. Social media started looking like a who is better game and unknowingly we started participating in a race which was not even ours. We slowly started living on social media and forgot to live in the moment. Life started being a comparison game, not to forget the hours of the day spent on social media mindlessly browsing through the feeds.
For a long time, I was an active participant in this race. Day and night, I would think what should I post that will make me popular? Is this picture good enough to be my profile picture? How can I make this trip look one of a lifetime experiences on social media? Is what I wrote good enough to fetch likes? So on and so forth. It took me a long while to understand the nuances of life and get out of this maddening world of social media. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible.
Here are some ways in which social media was ruining my life and how I tried to reinstall my good old life –
Finding validation on social media
I am a writer and blog pretty frequently. When I first started sharing my work on social media, I gauged my work by number of likes or comments on my blog. It made me feel validated. But then there were times when no one reacted to my social media sharing and it made me feel unappreciated. Now remember, I had so many of my friends and family telling me during our conversations that they loved reading my work. And here I was, ignoring these beautiful people and seeking validation in the virtual world out there.
Rebecca Campbell in her book ‘Light is the New Black’ says, “It’s none of your business how many people read your books or download your songs or compliment your latest design, or buy your art or like your facebook posts or retweet you. What is your business is showing up to what lights you up, to what makes you come alive, to that which makes your light shine even brighter. Let go of your attachment to the outcome. It’s none of your business anyway.
You do You.”
So, I just show up today and do what I love – write, not worrying about the likes or comments. You do you!
Not falling for the fashion game on social media
Every time before a trip, the first thing I did was shop. Shop because all my clothes are seen on social media. What will my friends say if they see a picture of mine with the same old clothes? So embarrassing, right? Well let me tell you something which I realized a little late. No one cares what you wore or rather no one even remembers what you wore last time. And instead of spending that money on pleasing a ‘no one’ on social media, spend that money on bettering yourself. The picture above is from our last trip to West Coast. I am donning a top which is 6 years old, a denim jacket which is a year old, age old jeans, 6 year old glares and a smile which is timeless 🙂 This was also my first trip when I was off social media and it felt so good to just be in the moment and not in a frenzy to share the pictures then and there!
Just be you on social media without falling prey to the unrealistic fashion fiesta going out there.
When comparison creeps in
It’s all the glory out there. I kept on looking at the pictures shared by my friends and comparing it with my life. I saw one of my friends giving birth to second child and thought, “Wow such a perfect family. Earlier a boy and now a girl. The perfect four”. I stared at the picture of a couple romanticizing in Switzerland and a pang of jealousy stabbed me. I kept on browsing through my feed and it kept on making me feel smaller and smaller. It was until when my friend whom I thought had a perfect family of a girl and a boy confided in me that she was going through a rough patch in the marriage. It was an eye opener for me. I realized in the whole comparison game, I focused on what I didn’t have by believing what was showcased on social media forgetting what I had in my life.
Whenever I get back to that tendency of mine, I sit back and focus on my breathing. I then open my journal and list all my blessings in life. It kind of gives me a sense of gratification and makes me feel so much better.
Relationships and social media
We have started using social media as a means to communicate oddly and in an anonymous way without addressing the real person. It is good when the person isn’t very close to you and you are trying to subtly hint your feelings. But my heart cries out when I see someone changing their display pictures giving messages to their significant other. Or a friend posting pictures which are meant for me after a fight. It is hurtful. I make a point to reach out to the concerned person and ‘talk’ like a normal person. Conversations are the best tool to ‘say’ what you feel from within, instead of putting it out there on social media and hoping the respective person gets it. We have become so addicted to social media that we rely more on it than the good old talking and conversations. There is a need to reverse it. Talk, converse, pour your heart out in ‘real’.
Well yes, social media was made to connect us. However today it feels, it is actually damaging our relationships and inciting us to be someone else. But if you decide whom to give your power – social media or your true authentic self, life would get so much easier.
During the past 2 years, I have made a conscious effort in sharing my true authentic vulnerable stories on social media. Stories which are ‘real’ and not sugar coated or written to impress anyone. Sharing pictures of me without make-up. Being raw. Giving hope to lonely minds and speaking my truth. I have realized the true power of social media and I am using it the way it was meant to be utilized – for connecting with the right people with the right message by being me!
How would you like to change your relationship with social media?