Social media dominates our lives more than we think it does. There aren’t many of us who can go about our day doing anything productive or fancy without thinking about sharing it on social media first. It has become such a big part of our lives that it’s hard to stay away from it. We live in a time where social media addiction is real. While the research studies on this continue, it goes without saying that social media may tend to do more harm than good from a mental health perspective.
Let’s take Instagram for example. Instagram allows us to be creative in means that was never possible before. It’s a great place to take inspiration from because of the sheer number of accounts catering to literally everything under the sun. For those of us who may not be creatively gifted, it’s a great medium to share things about our lives with our loved ones. Yet, many of us fall into the trap of comparing ourselves and our lives with others’ and focusing on how we are falling behind. Even though everything that we see is just 5 minutes of a person’s day, we immediately tend to attach an identity to them and assume that we know everything about their lives. Subconsciously, we all know this, but we can’t seem to stop ourselves.
As much as we’d like to avoid becoming a slave to our smartphones, digital detoxes are much harder for those of us who work on our phones. From project submissions to work mails, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to just switch our phones off as we move from one stage of life to another. Logging off from all social media is also hard because we’re so used to the mindless scrolling and story-watching as a way to alleviate boredom. Not doing so brings in what they call, FOMO.
So, where do you find that balance of using social media while still not falling into that dangerous rabbit hole of comparison and insecurity?
Trim the fat. Unfollow. Unfriend. Unsubscribe. Mute.
When your desire to follow an account comes from a place of subconscious judgement and the inclination to compare their lives with yours, instead of coming from a place of genuine need to connect, grow, get inspired, motivated or learn, it may not be the right reason to follow them. We all do it. For some of us, it can give us the push to move forward. But life shouldn’t be lived in competition and goals shouldn’t be met in comparison with someone else.
People’s achievements don’t take away the ability or the opportunities to shine on your own, no matter what the world might have you believe. It might be human tendency to evaluate our lives the instant we see people achieving their goals, but it may be harmful for our mental health when we follow people without being conscious about it.
So, be mindful.
Unfollow people who influence you to think that you need to live your life a certain way in order to be valid.
Unfriend people who you don’t really connect with even though you used to, at some point. You are allowed to burn your bridges and build new ones.
Unsubscribe accounts whose ideals don’t align with yours. Invest your time and energy into watching things you genuinely love and care about.
You only have so much time on your hands and you can only take so much. You have more control than you think you have and you can consciously create your own surrounding. It might be a little tedious but you’ll be better for it, I promise.
Let social media be a scrapbook for you and your loved ones to look back at instead of giving you unwanted anxiety about a life that you think you need to live.
Because even though we’ve all been told that there’s only so much success to be had, the truth is that the world is big enough for all of us.