It’s completely my fault and definitely avoidable.
Social media is not so terrible. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a bunch of trash that’s ruining our minds. Scrolling on Facebook and Instagram can help you keep up with friends. It can remind you of birthdays and let you know about local events, businesses and parties. Social media can help you promote your own business and make a lot of money if you do it right. Your reach is no longer limited to friends, family and coworkers. Social media has bridged countless gaps between us. There are so many positives about it. It will only have a negative impact on you and your life if you let it. I completely believe that. Unfortunately, I have let it.
Comparing My Life to Others
I never click off of Instagram feeling great about myself. I constantly compare myself to people I know and worse, to people I don’t know. Before I’m aware, fifteen minutes has passed and I’m scrolling through a woman’s profile because I wish I had her body, hair and perfect skin. I find myself on a travel blogger’s profile because Man, I wish I could travel to beautiful places like that and get paid for it. Why is my life so boring?
I scroll through my Facebook timeline only to see the latest engagement, job promotion or some other achievement that someone I went to high school with and don’t even talk to anymore deemed worth sharing with the world. I take stock of my recent lack of big achievements and decide that since I have nothing to brag about, I’m somehow inferior.
I get caught up on a family Instagram page feeling envious of the annoyingly attractive couple and their beautiful baby. I’m not even sure if I even want to get married, let alone have a baby. But yet, I’m jealous because they look so happy. I want to be happy like them. Is that what happiness looks like?
I scroll and scroll only reaffirming that my life is nothing like the pictures and videos I see. I finally click out of the apps and let out a deep sigh, kind of hating myself.
Lack of Likes and Engagement
My Instagram profile has less than 2,000 followers and yet, I find myself caring about how many likes I get. I find myself noticing who didn’t like it and wonder why. The fact that I even care about this bothers me, but it’s the truth. I don’t even use my account for any business reasons, so it really shouldn’t matter, but I let it.
I post a picture that I’m really proud of. I think I look amazing and look like I’m so incredibly happy and living my best life. Spoiler: I wasn’t actually feeling any of that. I think of the perfect witty caption and include a couple appropriate hashtags and POST. I wait. I refresh. There’s one like. I check the time and think it’s a good time of day to post. I contemplate deleting it. I mean, really, how ridiculous.
I refresh again. A few more likes. After an hour maybe I get 40 likes. Who cares right? But all I think is, damn, nobody cares about me. I immediately regret posting it because I feel like a loser. I know these are completely illogical thoughts, but recently, they’re my real thoughts. This is the least productive thing I could be doing and wasting my time on, but I’ve allowed myself to let it consume my thoughts.
I constantly let myself be sucked into the perfectly curated lives of all of these online personalities that I forget about all the great things in my life.
I forget that I just took a weekend trip and had a blast. I overlook that I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in. I forget that I have great friends who care about me and who I have so much fun around. I forget that I have a loving family who I still care to keep in touch with as an adult.
These are special things. These are important things. I needed to take time away from social media to really appreciate these things. I needed to stop comparing myself to others to focus on just myself. Life isn’t so bad. It’s not perfect and that’s OK. Nobody’s life is, no matter what is portrayed to the masses.
I still find that I need a break from scrolling online. I would rather focus on what’s in front of me than the “perfect worlds” on my screen. My self-esteem needs a little boosting before I trust myself to genuinely be happy for other successes I see online.
This is all kind of embarrassing to admit, but it’s what’s real for me. I think we could all benefit from a little reality. Put the phone down and look around. Sometimes your own corner of life is pretty amazing and you don’t always have to share it.