Social Media Woes
Have you ever scrolled through your social media feeds to see everyone living blissfully and then just experience an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, regret, and depression? No? Well many others have. The idea that everyone around them lives are going so great causes them to reflect on everything that they wish they had. The usual triggers are those relationship post, travel post, and overall LOOK HOW GREAT MY LIFE is post! But think about it, if one was to take a quick glance at your online album, what would be their impression of your life? Wouldn't they assume that your sunny day photo shoot just before walking into work with your overly priced expresso indicate that one, you're happy about going to work, two that you have a great job, and three that you must be doing alright financially if your morning routine includes a Starbucks stop. You see how easily misleading that image can become once dissected and overly analyzed because in reality, you may be underpaid over budget and that expresso was just your guilty pleasure for the week.
Consider for a moment where these social media sites got their start. Many would hope that its creation was another technological advancement created with the intent of connecting people to one another. Unfortunately, it hasn't, once you consider the actual amount of time that people spend disconnecting from the people that they actually know. Consider what you've done to that friend who calls you on your weekend off. As you're scrolling through your social media feed, you see a very cute family photo of them and so you decide to hit the approved button called 'like,' they see it in their activities list and thereafter decide to call to actually speak with you personally. You see the call, you contemplate the level of offense that's about to take place but yet and still, you send them to voicemail disconnecting yourself from a more personable form of communication. So considering how you yourself neglect actual relationship building, it's now safe to ask why exactly you have a social media account? Were you subconsciously hoping to get a glimpse of what you preceive to be a better life or to pretend that you were leaving one yourself? Are you creating an illusion?
We often find ourselves judging others for the exact same things that we're guilty of.
When did it become so important for us to brand ourselves as perfect? In this world that we live in, consumerism has created a platform for the disillusioned to prove how happy they are based upon their material possessions and what can be displayed over the body with little to no regard for the inner man, the spirit. Our unhappiness stems from not partaking in the ritual of 'have'. Yes. The ads will send a subliminal message to you that if you don't have this certain product, that somehow you're missing out. It creates a want. Never will you see an advertisement that says,"You may not need this" or "This isn't for everyone." No, that wouldn't be profitable so the idea is to get as many people as possible to now need something that they could live perfectly without and now we're trained to do the same, only we're not being paid to do it.
Now, not only social media is bad. There are benefits to finding friends who you haven't seen in a while and reconnecting with people but its intent becomes distorted when we begin to turn to it for the purposes of comparing our lives to one another or for seeking validation. Enjoy this modern technique of communicating moderately and appropriately. A lot of your comparing can be vastly minimized by just deleting the people from your social feed who you aren't social with at all.
So the next time that you happen to find yourself seeking motivation or inspiration and you wonder onto social media, stop! Those images are strategically placed there, majority of the time, to generate a false sense of validation. Instead, look for encouragement in scripture. Seek motivation from close friends and family. Get inspired by making a list of goals and accomplishing them one by one. You can be happy too. Truly happy.
Everything that I need is not outside of me
There are so many advertisements for seemingly everything that we need (or think we need) being sent to our ear and eye gates, from the time that we pick up our morning newspaper, to when we get inside our cars. There's literally someone constantly reminding us of how imperfect we are and how their product will help us get to an impossible state of being. Very rarely, almost never, will you see a clear and visible sign saying just look within. It profits a corporation nothing to make consumers aware that they don't have to spend all their resources (I use that term loosely) to be fulfilled, so it becomes our job to be more conscious of the things that we truly need and to also decipher what’s to be let go.
Think about what is truly needed to survive. Food, water, shelter will of course be the basics, so where did electronics, excessive clothing, and the other material possessions come from? If I've learned anything, it’s that corporations who make advertisements don’t do so to adhere to consumer’s desires but more so to CREATE them. Growing up, I never knew that I needed to have an Atari to complete my Saturday mornings until Atari manufacturers contacted the marketing department and created an entire advertising campaign around me sitting in the the house versus me going outside and doing something more productive and creative. I never thought about playing a video game because I didn’t know what it was until they told me. So Atari never sought to help me out by adhering to something that I wanted, they created the want. They inadvertently told me that if I had this gaming system, I would feel happy…so I must not be happy already, right? WRONG!!! The same thing happens over and over and over to all of us on a day to day basis. Had an Atari commercial never aired, my Saturday mornings would’ve continued to be the same joyful experience that it’d always been. For a child, that may be hard to understand but what about us? We spend much of time working to acquire things that an ad told us would help us be more fulfilled. If I only had this, or that, or this, I would be good. But if ads control your spending patterns, what happens when a new flood of them comes around again and they will. A new desire will be created, making you unhappy with what you currently have, and you’ll find yourself at the exact same place that you were before. So how do we change this pattern of thinking and escape the maze? Simply by searching within ourselves for what we truly need and already have access to.
When was the last time that you looked within yourself to see what’s going on, on the inside? Something like a checkup. Where you just sat quietly and evaluated how you were truly doing? I usually find myself doing this after prayer. If something has been constantly bothering me or if I just need to have that time alone with myself and my creator, I spend some time in prayer (which is a daily practice for the most part), I then meditate, and afterwards I may read the scripture. But what I find is that in those quiet moments is where I learn the most about myself and where I’m able to develop an opinion, diagnosis, and prescription. If we calmly just evaluate the things that have been bothering us, then we’ll see and hear the answers to our concerns more clearly. We won’t rely on a group of people to tell us what we need or provide a false sense of hope.
So the next time that you find yourself spending uncontrollably to fill a void, look within. You may just be due for a checkup.
Please share this with someone who you feel may benefit from it. I will also be posting on this for the next few days in my social media accounts listed below.