The power of social media is undoubtedly immense. It has brought about a huge social change and can be held directly responsible for changing lives. It provides us with so many platforms to express ourselves. It allows us to stay in touch and connect with friends and families. It even provides us connectivity with people and places not personally linked to us in our real lives. But social media has a dark side too, and we all know it. For all of its advantages, there are equal numbers of weaknesses.
It has been the one thing that connects us all, but disconnects us from ourselves and reality.
People now have come so used to the idea that social media is the most important thing in the entire world. If we don’t look at our phone for more than a minute we get antsy, like worrying about how many likes we get on an Instagram picture or trying to post a picture to get someone’s attention, or deleting a post if it was not up to everyone else’s standards. Everyone instead of living in the moment, is living behind a screen. There is not a day that goes by that we need to snap a picture or take a video because we want everyone else to see what we are doing.
I am not saying that is a bad thing, but when will we realize that in order to live a life worth living, we just have to see it with our own eyes and no one else’s? When will we realize that how many likes we get on an Instagram does not matter?
When will we realize that the amount of the followers on social media we have does not matter?
Basically I do not like the sense of feeling brainwashed by social media because the amount of time I always have to check my phone. It is really not a great way to live. Even the generations prior to mine did not have social media to talk to people on yet still they can do it. I sometimes feel guilty of all of these things and this part of me wanting to change that. No one needs to see what my every move is and why would I care if they do? We all should try to take a break from social medial for a couple days and just live life the way it is meant to be lived.
So here I am, recently discovered the beauty of not being on social media.
I decided to take a break from social media. Not all social media, just the obsessive-compulsive inspiring one, which for me, is Instagram. I consistently go through periods where I delete all of the apps off of my phone and allow myself to breathe.
It is so liberating.
Social media is totally addictive thing.
While social media is filled with funny memes, cute videos of dogs, and pictures of amazing interiors, it is also a large source of negativity.
Let’s say once I start scrolling through Instagram, the next thing I know it’s been an hour. Or when I snap a picture or stories, I begin to feel the anxiety creep in. Or when I have much times, I check all of the social media, then ended wondering why I did. I don’t feel enriched in any way, I don’t learn anything except for the latest celebrity scandals, or my anxiety goes up as I compare my life to others. I waste several times to check on who has viewed my story, liked my photo, or sent me a snap. And there comes a time I was just so over it.
A lot of the times social media is just a facade. It causes us to live in a constant state of comparison. On social media, everyone is striving to display the best possible images of themselves. We post only the best versions of ourselves, our lives and leave out the rest, because that’s the us we want the world to see. Most of the time, even the bestlooking photos can be deceiving. Because of these deceptive posts, we constantly compare our lives to others and think to ourselves “I wish I looked like that” or “I wish I had the money for that.” We compare everything on a daily basis. The thoughts of jealousy, feelings of inadequacy and issues of self-confidence flood our brain in ways we don’t even realize we’re in a constant state of comparison with those on our screen.
The other point of social media is to maintain connections with others, but more often than not, it has the exact opposite effect (ironic, isn’t it?). Let’s say you have thousands Facebook friends, but is that really as fulfilling as having even just one or two true friends who are consistently a part of your life and are there for you when you need them?
We find our sense of relationship from the number of followers rather than through true community. We spend our time scrolling through our feeds, convincing ourselves that we still know those people we went to high school with, or that we’re still in touch with those friends we met during the first semester of college. The reality, though, is that we only know the version of themselves they choose to share. The only communication we shared is infrequent likes or comments on their photos. I am saying that whether we choose to accept it or not, real relationship comes from true communication with others.
As someone who spends the majority of her life living long-distance from those closest to me emotionally, I struggle with trying to fill the void with social media and its false sense of connectivity. Far too often have I found myself running to Instagram or Twitter in an attempt to cure my loneliness at various points in my life. But often I end up putting down my phone feeling more upset and isolated than I did before. The intense cycle of jealousy and anger awakens. We see others having the time of their lives and we feel even more alone.
So, when I finally have chosen to remove myself from this poison, my life start to become fuller and more centered on what’s really important. By getting rid of social media, my phone wasn’t constantly grabbing my attention away from my works. I don’t have multiple notifications throughout my day that distract me from my life. I had more time to actually focus on what I was doing. I am finally allowing myself to heal emotionally and mentally.
Taking a break from social media allows for more time in my day for reading a book I haven’t had time for, catching up with some old friends, or taking an online lessons. What I realized in the absence of my social media was actually very interesting. I enjoyed life more without it. At first, I was afraid of missing a post that everyone would be talking about, but then I came to realize that I really do not care about most of the people I follow on social media. So why does it matter if I miss a post or two? It doesn’t. Sometimes I also miss getting snaps of my friends’ faces with outrageous filters, but that’s the only thing I miss. I don’t miss knowing everyone’s business. I don’t spend hours compulsively scrolling. I no longer was concerned about having a great Insta stories. Instead, I was more concerned with the things that were actually happening in front of me. I appreciated spending quality time with my best friends more.
The important thing is I think is people do not realize how much more interesting life is when we actually pay attention to it. Instead of feeling the need to post a picture of everything I did and everyone I was with, I made memories with people I loved that I’ll have forever, even without posting a picture.
It is a great shame that so many of us have been sucked into this constant competition to prove whose life is the best by picturing everything that happens to us. Life is beautiful. It is a wonderful thing to experience. We are not truly experiencing life when our first priority is to snap a picture and send it to everyone we know. Taking a picture and posting it takes a matter of seconds, however, most of life’s pleasures happen in the blink of an eye. If we do not truly experience what is right in front of us, while it is in front of us, then we have truly missed out.
So, let’s take a break once in a while and appreciate the beauty of life while it is right in front of us.
I’m not saying that we all should give up social media. I admitted I enjoy its many benefits, particularly as someone who lives far away from the majority of my friends and family. I love tagging my friends in memes or crafting artsy Instagram posts and stories. However, what I am saying is I don’t think hitting the “pause” button every once in a while is a bad idea. Having a break from social media actually can help to enhance your happiness or stop more negativity from consuming your life.
So readers, I challenge you to go off the grid for a while and focus on the beautiful world we live it. It does not have to be for weeks or months, but try for disconnecting just a day for now and see how it feels.