SOCIAL MEDIA: LOVE OR HATE?

I have a ‘love-hate’ relationship with social media. Well, ‘hate’ may be too strong a word but it emphasizes my strong feelings towards various social media platforms and the sometimes-detrimental effect they have on our overall wellbeing and happiness.

Social media definitely has its place in our world and is a wonderful way to create connections with people that would otherwise prove difficult; it is a fantastic marketing and business tool when used in a carefully calculated and strategic way, and it is of course, a great way to keep up to date with our nearest and dearest and swoon over all their picturesque photos.

However, it can also be a huge time-waster, energy-zapper and mood killer; it can provoke and awaken the green-eyed monster in the best of us and cause us to feel small about ourselves and our lives, due to the never-ending supply of almost ‘too good to be true’ photos or status updates.

Thanks to fabulous filters and apps that can turn the most creatively ‘inept’ people into creative geniuses and goddesses, our lives as portrayed and depicted through the eyes of social media can almost appear picture perfect.

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It was a Tuesday.

I had spent the greater part of the day working on my ‘up and coming’ website (this one): a website I have spent months working on, creating, perfecting, tweaking, then tweaking some more, making sure I am overly happy and as proud-as-punch of with the end result before I release her into the world (and now here we are).

I was punching away at the keys on my Macbook when ‘woosh’ – off goes the battery.

Naturally, I plugged my beloved Mac back into the power source, but thought I’d use the outage to have a mini ‘break’ before diving back into more website updates and content creation.

Before I knew it, thirty minutes had passed: thirty unproductive, self-sabotaging and ‘comparison-itis’ filled minutes.

What was I doing during that time, I hear you ask?

Pretty much gawking over one very popular + gorgeous + very well known woman’s Instagram account. Now, I’m someone who has pretty good self-control when I put my mind to something, but it’s nearly impossible not to spend a lengthy time looking at this lady’s Instagram account when you land on it as it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing accounts I have ever seen and paints a VERY beautiful picture aka life.

There I was, scrolling…scrolling…admiring… scrolling…gawking…scrolling….jaw-dropped-and-drooling…scrolling…and on it went.

But as the number of photos I viewed increased, so did the head of my green-eyed monster.

I woke the beast.

You know the beast I’m talking about; that big ugly monster with piercing green eyes that consumes us and fills our body with unfamiliar and unwanted feelings of jealousy and rage?

This wasn’t a first-time experience either. My green-eyed monster had come out to play many times before with said person’s Instagram feed.

++ FYI – I’m purposely not mentioning the person’s name because I don’t want you to head on over to her account, and awake your inner beast, as that defeats the purpose of why I’m writing this article.

At this point, you might be wondering why I looked at this person’s account in the first place knowing full well what negative feelings might arise.

As a budding and passionate entrepreneur, I adore looking at other entrepreneur’s social media platforms to see what projects and passions they are creating and what magic they are spreading in the world, and yes, admittedly to have a little sticky-beak; I’m curious by nature.

I’m all for celebrating people’s successes, especially when that success has been built on hard work, perseverance and done with a whole lot of heart, passion and dedication, and I definitely find it inspiring and motivating to see what paths people travelled down to lead them to where they are today, at least most of the time.

Most of the time, or more often than not, what I discover when scrolling through people’s social media accounts, Instagram in particular (doesn’t IG make you want to become a famous photographer, almost always?!), is that I start to feel smaller about my life and I start to feel insignificant.

It doesn’t matter that I had just spent numerous hours working on bringing my own beautiful and creative projects to fruition that I’m super proud of like this website you’re on, and my much-loved eBook (grab your FREE copy here); give me five minutes alone with my phone on Instagram, and that joy can diminish as fast as you can say, ‘somebody stop me’.

I see women, the world over, myself included, no matter how successful, intelligent, beautiful, wonderful and charming we are, feeling small about ourselves and dimming the wonderful light that burns inside us all, when our self-worth is tied up with that which is external to us, instead of redirecting that energy within and starting the journey home; to recognise that everything we need lies within.

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So let’s make a pact, you and I.

Let’s link arms like a never-ending row of daisy chains; lets kindle and cradle the courage, strength and love that resides within us, and find solace in the warmth that burns bright in our hearts, for we are trailblazers, you and I.

We are already saddled up with all the tools we need to embark on our journey home, and equipped with the most powerful inner compass we could ever need to get us there safely; our heart – the one and only true North.

From here on out, in 2015 let us vow:

:: To spend less time looking at what others are doing and spend more time creating, doing and being in our own lives.

:: When our green-eyed monster comes out to play, let us practice peacefulness and mindfulness instead.

:: When social media or any online activity starts to feel burdensome,  let us remember to get offline and get into the real world: go for a walk, catch up with a friend over a pot of tea, take a great book to our favourite park.

:: When we start to indulge in no-fun-pity-parties, let us reach for a pen and paper to scribble and scrawl our heart’s gratitude’s and desires, no matter how big or small.

:: To recognise that social media’s depiction of one’s life is never a true and complete reflection of what is going on inside said person’s life.

::To minimise time spent, or walk away from those things which drain our energy, rather than refuel it. e.g. social media

:: Most importantly, to remember that the power lies in our hands. If we don’t like a situation, we can change it. If we don’t like the way something is making us feel, we can walk away. If we want something better or different, we can ask for it.

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Over the past decade, social media has grown ten fold and will continue to do so exponentially.

Short of burying our heads in the sand, social media will inevitably be in our face and in our lives for a long time to come, and this isn’t a bad thing.  However, whenever you experience a similar green-eyed monster situation like I did, or start to feel small, inadequate, less than worthy or not good enough…

STOP.

Put your phone down.

Step away from posting-tweeting-hashtagging-pinning-social media-ing.

Get offline.

Remember what beauty lies in the real world, in real catch ups and conversations, and throw yourself into them. 

When your green-eyed monster rears his ugly head, what are your go-to tips for keeping him at bay? Share with us in the comments below.

 

6 Responses to SOCIAL MEDIA: LOVE OR HATE?

  1. I so needed to read this! Thanks for the reminder, I’ve been hopelessly addicted to facebook lately and it’s doing my head in. I’m in on the pact. Done. As for jealousy, when it comes up I try and take a minute to see why I’m so jealous and what I can implement in my life to achieve what I think the other person has. It’s usually a sign that I’m feeling insecure about something, so I get pen to paper and I usually have a clearer understanding. Great post lovely x

    • I’m so glad this post resonated with you Kris and glad you’re onboard with the pact! I think social media affects the best of us, but it’s about learning to control how much time, energy and space it takes up in our lives. I love that when jealousy comes up, you take time to reflect and journal to become mindful as to why you feel that way. That’s beautiful.
      Thanks for the comment. x

  2. I can SO identify with this post, Nicole! Social media “inspiration” can very quickly spiral into comparisonitis for me too and it’s a complete creative buzz kill. Pact made 🙂

    • So glad you’re joining us on the ‘pact’ too Emma. Yes, inspiration can quickly turn into comparison-itis and be demoralising if we are caught off guard, the key is being aware of when that shift happens so we can ‘course correct.’
      x

  3. I totally think we have all been there before Nicole!

    When I find myself getting jealous or comparing myself to someone else on social media, I immediately stop and send them a silent thank you because what is possible for them, is also possible for me!

    I also find that spending less time on social media makes me compare myself less when I am on there.

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Chloe. We have all been there before indeed, one too many times I think, which is why I felt compelled to write this article. I love that idea of sending someone a silent thank you when these feelings arise. What we admire and love about someone else, resides within us too. We are all mirrors aren’t we?
      I think when we pull back the reigns on looking at other people’s activity on social media, whether in a personal or professional sense, it allows our authentic and unique selves to shine through.
      Thank you for sharing. x

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