What I’ve Learned From the Pressures of Social Media
Tackling the topic of social media is a little touchy. You either read the title of this post and immediately resonated with the pressures social media can play, or clicked on it thinking, it’s just an app, what’s the big deal? My love/ hate relationship with social media has had it’s bouts. From starting out on the platform as a teenager, to using it as a way for expanding my blog years later- emotions have been around the block. I absolutely love the app for many reasons, but have also encountered times where my self-confidence boosts, then drops all at once.
A couple weeks ago- between aimlessly scrolling and feeling a strong sense of failure- I decided it was time to take the plunge and drop social media for a minute. I knew it was time, it was loud and clear. Quarantine hit and I found myself on it more and more. Then way more than I even thought possible. Why? How is this growing my blog, my relationships, my goals in life? Social media can be great for networking, sharing your life, etc, but it can also be a reminder of everything we’re “not doing” and what everyone else is.
I’ve always thought of myself as someone with high confidence. Starting a blog is putting a lot of yourself out there. Your personality, interests, daily life, but the thought of seeking approval, was starting to takeover in my head.
Sometimes listening to our loved ones or the voices around can be the best thing for us. There’s a fine line between knowing your goals and keeping them to yourself, versus driving yourself to the point of frustration and not knowing why. Listening can be a hard thing to do when you’re driven and determined to succeed with your goals. But it’s important to keep in mind that taking constructive criticism from the people who know you best, is also growing and learning.
There’s a few things I learned in this social media detox, and how it’s been framing my actions in life. My first advice: don’t take anything too seriously. It can wreck havoc. Second, know that everyone’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems. How you define success is only up to you, don’t let failures or comparisons hold you back from the life you’re meant to live. Here’s a few things I’ve learned and am taking in stride.
Remember that it really, REALLY is just an app
It could go away any day- just like other social media platforms we’ve seen come and go. Be thoughtful with how much time and energy you’re pouring in to it, and notice how it’s affecting your days. When I think of it this way, it seems silly to try and live up to certain expectations that I know don’t align with my own life. You are in charge of your own happiness, not what photos on an app are telling you to do. So, use it how it’s been to be used, for FUN!
Understand what may be putting you down
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” I saw this quote from @my_darling_diary the moment I came back on Instagram after taking a two week-ish break. Fate, I guess, or maybe just exactly what I needed to hear that day. Either way, it’s a fantastic quote, and something to keep locked in. For me, I was struggling with the thought of comparison, and idolizing things I’ve never even wanted before. But because it made those people “happy” or “successful” I started to question myself and what I wanted. It took a second for me to realize this, but as soon as I did, I was able to recognize it and clear it out of my head and my feed.
Block out a time instead of mindlessly scrolling
Setting aside a time to go on social media (say at the end of your work day) is a great way to balance work and pleasure. I know that for me this has already made a big difference. I put my phone aside, but keep it on loud (in case of phone calls) throughout the day. When everything I need to get done is accomplished, I’ll catch up on my feed later. I really do love Instagram for the connections it has brought me, but making sure I’m keeping positive self thoughts when leaving the app is just as important.
Stop forcing a post because you feel like you “have to”
Every channel or advice for growing a blog states that consistency is the most important, which I completely agree with, however, quality over quantity also plays a major factor. I felt that I was forcing myself to post as many pictures as possible of what I was doing. Even if I didn’t like the photo, I thought it would help in making connections and growing. Now that I’ve stepped back to let it come more naturally, I not only find my creative juices flowing more, but I feel like myself. Which is the most important in my book.
Have you ever had to take the plunge away from social media? What has it taught you?