Social icons

Social media has changed so much since I first started using it. Back in the day it consisted mostly of "cute quotes" we'd find on the internet (example: "I'm like a butterfly, pretty to see but hard to catch"), mysterious and vague status updates about heartbreak and young love, and a plethora of extremely over-exposed selfies standing way too close to a window (you know, the ones where your nose would disappear because your face was so over-exposed in order to hide the teenage acne we all despised). Over time, it slowly morphed into poorly-lit photographs of the food you ate for dinner, photos of your feet in random places, and selfies complete with a crappy instagram filter where our noses could actually be seen (which was definitely an improvement from the voldemort-like, noseless selfies). People blogged about the boy they wished would notice them in the hallway at school, or about the really fun date they went on the weekend before. Really, people would blog about whatever the heck the felt like blogging about whenever the heck they felt like blogging about it. Same goes for posting: people posted whatever they wanted and that was that.

These days, however, things feel different. Everyone is so perfectly put together all the way from their selfies to their cute home decor. Outfits are on point, eyebrows are on fleek, and houses are perfectly white and aesthetically pleasing. We interpret other people's lives through hundreds of tiny little square-shaped photographs that we endlessly scroll through on the internet. We watch other people travel and eat exotic foods, we watch them swim in infinity pools and lay out on warm sandy beaches. We see photographs of women looking runway-ready after just giving birth to a baby and women 5 days into postpartum looking better than we did before we ever even got pregnant. Everyone, regardless of if they're aware of it or not, is striving to live up to the standard of living that has been concocted by the things we see on social media. We wake up and set goals to be fit, eat healthy, travel the world, to exist in a perfectly white and always clean living space, and consciously think about taking more time in the mornings to look good each day. And then there's facebook-- the endless source of stupid videos and political arguments. But we'll just avoid talking about all of that right now.

Now let me get this straight: I'm not here to bash on social media. I love social media-- it's brought so many people into my life that I have come to love and adore. It's helped me to share my artwork and business with people who I otherwise may have never crossed paths with. It inspires me and encourages me to create more and to spend more time outside. It introduces me to cool new places and restaurants. It has a lot of really cool and beneficial purposes. Social media really is so full of so much good.

I've seen and heard a lot of people complaining about how "fake" social media has become. There's this big push to be "more real" and "more authentic" via social media. I've seen people posting about how people want to see more piles of dirty laundry, sinks full of dishes, and makeup-less selfies on instagram. I've heard countless friends talk about wanting to delete all forms of social media from their phones in order to ride themselves of the negative feelings that are associated with it. There seems to be such a negative stigma surrounding the mere idea of social media. I'd be lying if I said I've never felt the negative effects of being active on social media. I've been on both ends of the judgement; I've looked at people's posts and thought, "I don't think that's 100% accurate," and I've had people comment extremely rude things on the things that I have chosen to post. Social media can be dangerous. It can be damaging. It can be bad.

When I've stepped back and looked at things from a distance, however, I've discovered that the danger of it all isn't necessarily always in what other's choose to post, but instead, it's in how we choose to absorb it all. We have to remember that people want to share the happy and good moments of their life. People are more prone to post when they're on vacation, when they're in love, when they look really good in a photo, and so forth. As human beings, we like to share the things in our life that bring us happiness. We like to share the best parts of who we are and what we are doing. When we invite people over for dinner, we clean the house and make something exceptionally delicious. When we go for a job interview, we wear our nicest clothes and put on our best manners. When we go on a date with someone cute, we spend an hour and a half standing in front of the closet trying to figure out what to wear (four outfit changes later, we find something that looks really, really good).

My point is: people share the good, people share the happy, people share the most exciting moments, and people share the most "perfect" parts of their life. That's what they're choosing to focus on in their life and that's okay. It's okay to focus on the good. When you're scrolling through your feed and you assume that nothing is wrong with the lives of the people you follow because of the things you see them posting on instagram, you're assuming wrong. Everyone is struggling in their own way. Everyone is dealing with something that is weighing heavily on their hearts-- even if they aren't constantly posting about it. If seeing their posts is continually rubbing you the wrong way, unfollow them. Take a break. Do what you need to do in order to eliminate the negative feelings you're experiencing when you see their posts. The most important thing you can do is find ways to make the things in your life enjoyable. If social media really is affecting you in all of the worst ways, delete the apps from your phone and choose to spend your down time doing something else. Carry a book around. Keep knitting needles in your purse. Say a prayer. We don't have to rely on social media to keep us entertained every singe time we're sitting in a waiting room at the doctor's office or standing in line waiting to order food. Social media is only bad when we allow it to abduct the quiet in-between moments of our life and hijack our emotions every time we choose to scroll through it.

Ultimately, social media will affect us in the ways we allow it to. Don't let it take control of your life or your emotions anymore. Don't let social media make you feel inadequate or upset about your life and the way you're choosing to live it. Don't allow social media to absorb all of your time as you scroll through your feeds and mumble about all of the things and people that irritate you. I am 100% guilty of doing all of those things and I have been ready to call it quits with social media on many different occasions. I truly believe that social media can be a good thing, we just have to learn how to best implement it into our own lives. And that's okay.

xoxo

4 comments

  1. AMEN. It's like my dad says, "Do you control social media, or does it control you?"

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    1. It's such a real thing! I think we all need to be a little more aware of the way we let social media affect us!

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  2. 1000000% agree with this! Also, super random but I followed your blog years and years ago and recently found it again and I'm so happy I did! I love reading your writing! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. I'm so glad you found your way back! I kind of fell off the face of the planet for a while there, but I've found my way back as well. :)

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