The Social Bubble – Dealing with Social Media Anxiety
Lets face it, social media has become that woman/man(whatever your preference is), that you hate but cannot live without. We live in an age where all our success is defined by how much better we are compared to the next person. You post the best parts of your life online and try to pretend that it is better than everyone else’s while consciously hiding the more mundane, hideous parts. You see your frenemies most happening Instagram stories and feel like everyone’s life is better than yours when in reality, they are doing exactly the same. You only feel better when you portray yourself to be the most happening/intelligent/funniest person on your timeline and you constantly put up posts to make yourself look so. But that feeling doesn’t last, because in a few days, you wake up and there are a million more feeds/collaborations/promotions/travelogues/etc. and someone else is doing better than you. Its a vicious cycle and there are no wins.
The thing is, these whirlwind of emotions you feel were not created by Facebook or Instagram. Our society has always prompted us to be the best. Anything less than being No.1 has been looked down upon. We were pushed to be better than everybody else since we were children. But we were also told that success takes time, that achieving any real goal requires us to focus and work hard. That failure is a part of any journey. But more often than not, social media taps into our worst impulses and feeds on our need to be better than everybody else. Being constantly exposed to others “success” makes us want to gain everything instantly and we forget that instant joy is very short-lived. And this makes us lose focus on achieving real happiness.
But only if you let it. Because if you really think about it, social media is not evil. For me personally, social media allows me to express my true self which I might never do in reality. I can be whoever I want to be and not worry about fitting into any labels. It gives me instant information about whats happening on the other side of the world and I get to see live coverage of it through the eyes of real, normal people. I have met quite a few interesting personalities through social media from around the world, whom I may never have known otherwise. It has also helped me carve out a space for myself.
But, it has also induced anxiety that I never really had before. I compare myself to others more often and am left feeling like my life is not good enough. I have always been quite competitive and social media doesn’t help in that aspect. But, I am learning to check my negative impulses and to appreciate myself for the person that I am rather than letting social-media induced resentment wash me over. Sometimes, when I start to feel overwhelmed, I delete Instagram and Facebook altogether from my phone for a few days and download an interesting book on my Kindle instead. I try spending more time outside with my friends and family and try to check my phone as little as possible. I never update everything I am doing because I don’t want everyone to know exactly whats happening in my life at all times unless its work/blog related. I make real plans for the future and let myself really focus rather than getting distracted by others lives I may never have. I repeat whats important to me. I try to take advantage of the good side of social media rather than giving into my addictive, competitive impulses. I try. And if you are one of them who can relate to this post, I suggest you give it a try too.