I got off social media and here’s why:
When I was single I spent way too much time online focused on appearances and felt bad about myself for not finding love. When I was married with kids, I found myself comparing the fact that I’d put on weight from having had 2 kids back-to-back to those moms who “bounced back” six weeks postpartum. I spent more time feeling bad about myself than I did feeling good. That was until I said “enough!” and deactivated my accounts liberating me to a new found freedom and re-prioritization to what truly matters to me.
Too many times I’ve seen my clients fall into the same trap of social media-induced depression and anxiety from this modern day culture’s comparing your life to the lives of others and inevitably at times falling short. The old saying, “the grass is greener on the other side” is appropriately used when it comes to social media too- a plethora of people coming together in a cyber high school of sorts each comparing how they measure up to the The Prom King and Queen, class Valedictorian and The Jones’ rather than being content with what they have. This can happen in a number of ways too, from comparing your body image to the comparison on The Game of Life’s achievements by way of marriage, kids and independent wealth that this society respects and holds as arbitrary yardsticks of success that don’t necessarily bring us happiness once achieved.
To be fair, social media has its obvious perks of course (or nobody would do it, right?) It’s a form of connection giving a sense of community. Sharing a glimpse of one’s life in a documentary format through rose colored glasses at the highlights- baby’s first steps and birthdays, a funny thing their dog did, a candid moment captured… But for others it goes deeper, with more people being connected as a form of expression and their purpose as part of one’s identity. I have friends who use their social media to inspire, create, provoke thought, promote awareness, network, and ultimately, help others. I write this blog for similar reasons. It’s not so much about the writer, as it is the reader.
The importance here is being honest in asking the question for yourself, why are you doing this? Who are you doing this for? And is it aligned with who you are and what your mission is? Only you know the answer.
More important now than ever before, your connection to your Higher self is an opportunity for growth, and quite frankly, it’s beneficial in the age we’re living in. It’s a place for you to turn to for inspiration and solace when you’re feeling depleted from this cyber world. For you, this may be nature, music, volunteering or service, whatever deity you seek or worldview, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, or a Venti soy latte…(judgement free zone here) and it doesn’t really matter. The point is in finding something that allows you to be the best version of yourself so that you don’t seek validation from others for self-worth or go down the dead end road of comparing yourself to others to see how you measure up.
From my professional experience when it comes to whether or not you should stay online if it brings you down, I tell my clients to take a break from social media when it gets to be too much, kinda like a Cyberdiet. I encourage them to redirect their energy back to what brings them into a state of joy where they remember the last time they felt good, happy, their true self and free. I discuss the importance of self-love and Radical Acceptance which requires one to embrace all parts of themselves by way of accepting who they are fully with love, understanding, compassion and without judgement, while at the same time leaning into those negative feelings of insecurity in your mind and body and working through them rather than escaping. I guide them to remember they are enough and have been worth it since the day they were born.
As for me, my close group of girlfriends still receive shameless selfies of me in a Banana Republic dressing room and my kid pics and not much has changed except for the fact that my circle has gotten more selective, perhaps something that happens when you hit forty. As for the baby weight, I’m back down to my pre-baby size and it feels damn good. In fact, I tried on my LBD this morning and it fits (finally)! So the next time you’re feeling in a funk on social media unplug for a while. Get back to the version of yourself that you love, hit the refresh button and when you’re feeling strong enough reconnect if that’s what pleases you. It will still be here when you get back, so consider it a vacation from the cyber hustle and bustle of life.