Behold the birth of Social Media!
Have you gotten hit by a car, tripped and fallen, or walked into a wall because your nose was buried in your screen as you’re scrolling your social media feeds? Did you miss the good news shared over dinner because you were sitting at the table checking your likes, views, comments, and mentions (or lack thereof)? Have you spent more time tracking someone else’s success more than your own? If so, chances are your social media accounts are killing your creativity, distracting you from your own success, deadening your critical thinking, and making you bitter. Here’s some valuable advice – Look Up! In spite of this being a cruel world, it is abundant in beauty and adventure. In life you can physically turn lemons into lemonade and actually smell the roses.
Regardless of whether you’re scrolling through your own page or the feed/gallery of a family member, friend, or celebrity, you are heavily distracted from your own existence and become numb to experiences. You speculate about how people are living their day-to-day lives, especially if their lives appear to be stress-free and perfect. It only leads you into thinking that your life is sad and unsuccessful, causing to overcompensate and fall deeper into the need for instant gratification. Also, seeing loved-ones on a screen devalues actually spending time with them.
Keep in mind that people tend to present the best version of themselves on social media. You will rarely see images of people without make-up or filters, captions disclosing how much overtime they worked to save a down payment for their house or car, how ill-behaved their kids are, or how tough it was to overcome a breakup. Usually a post is only scratching the surface. People will always highlight their accomplishments, especially bloggers, which can lead to comparison, jealousy or envy. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with keeping your private life private. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything about what’s happening behind closed doors every second of your day. Sometimes it’s better to keep your next move(s), trials and tribulations to yourself, and reciprocally, spend less time worried about everyone else’s.
Most people don’t have your best interest at heart, so you’ll have to proceed with caution because if you don’t, it can heighten your vulnerability. Social media opens you up to mass opinion. People from all over the planet have access to your space on the internet, which is a reflection of who you are or who you want to be, and regardless of who that is, you will be judged. Lastly, people have become true followers. They’ve lost a sense of what’s really cool, and the reasons why they like or dislike something. Everyone seems to just follow the trend and never ask themselves if it’s what they truly like.
With that being said, here are some ways to curb envy and over-sharing, spend less time on your phone, and spend more time living in the moment.
1. Turn off Notifications
Do you really need to know every time someone presses the ‘Like’ button? It may stoke your ego for a minute or two, but what value does it add to your life? Turn off your notifications so you can focus on the important things.
2. Set Limits
Allot yourself a certain amount of time to spend on your phone/online, and be strict. Perhaps check your social media accounts at 10 a.m. and again at 5 p.m. This way, you’ll see anything you missed overnight and throughout day. For most people, social media is used for personal reasons and not professionally so I definitely think you can afford to stay away from it for a little while. At first you might feel anxious, or for some, even bored so keep yourself occupied. When I unplug, I feel lighter on my feet since I don’t have so much digital energy weighing me down. I assure you, you’ll realize how much happier you are. This unplugged time allows you to reengage in your interests. Join a dance class, take some instrument lessons, workout at the gym, try a new recipe, visit a friend, fly to the moon, whatever! Just make sure you’re taking time for yourself.
3. Log Out!
If you find yourself absent-mindedly picking up your phone to get on a social media app, you’ll see that you’ve logged out and will remember that you’ve put yourself on a fast. I know some people who are self-proclaimed addicts, and our conversations serve as my inspiration for writing this post. They continually hop from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Periscope, Vine, and so on. If you are one of them, I encourage you to delete the apps all together. This will absolutely help limit your time online.
I have social media accounts, but I don’t use most of them. Instagram is the app I flock to because I love photographs and I still log out often. Thankfully after I’ve logged out, I don’t log back on for an average of 2-3 days. I also find it interesting that when I log on and scroll through my feed, I feel like I haven’t missed anything, and I proceed to log right back off.
4. Buy a Wristwatch
I noticed that I sometimes I’d completely ignore my phone until I needed to check the time. Then I ended up opening apps because my phone was in my hand. That’s when I invested in a pretty watch so that I could get back into the habit of looking at my wrist when I needed to know the time. If you don’t have a watch, I urge you to get one. This simple tactic works well.
5. Accept the Presentation
First of all, I think the terms “follow” and “unfollow” are absurd. It gives people total delusions of grandeur. Secondly, as I stated before, most people – and I stress most instead of all because not all people do this – post only the beautiful images. Instead of feeling inspired or motivated, you may find yourself feeling like a failure, jealous, envious, untalented, and resentful. The images that affect you cause you to try to compete based on your assumption that these people’s lives are glamorous, artful, always pretty, and effortless 24/7. You begin to speculate and may even become obsessive. Understand that Instagram and Pinterest, in particular, are galleries – digital works of art, and for people who understand this know exactly how to use these accounts as a marketing tool. Once you gain your own understanding, you’ll start to focus on yourself and how to build up your own social media persona.
I hope these simple steps help all of you social media addicts out there. Stay strong and remember, real life is so much better!