Social media has unexpectedly become a big part of my life. What started as my friends innocently creating a profile for me on Instagram and twitter during study hall freshman year of high school, became and avenue for me to create a platform for myself, my interests and my business that I could have never imagined. In addition, thousands of people are able to scroll and zoom into my life with a click of a follow. People I don't even know have suddenly become magistrates of my life from the content I post. While I truly believe social media has the power to connect people, spark activism and provides a place for young creatives and entrepreneurs to showcase their work, it can also be detrimental to mental health. It is all too easy to compare oneself to the Instagram models, bloggers and influencers who seem to have life made.
"How can they afford all of that luxury?" "How did she get her body to look like that?" "Is this what guys want me to look like?" "Their business looks 10x more successful than mine."
I have had to coach my mind in realizing that behind the screen, there are factors and struggles that people go through that I don't see. Not every post tells the entire story. So it is important not to judge or compare. Sometimes, when I am dealing with something internally, mindless scrolling on Instagram can further perpetuate that bad thoughts instead of helping me heal or get closer to my goals in the outside world. I have subconsciously created a dependency for social media. It has been a friend and a demon that I have been struggling to manage. While my fight to keep my sanity is still on going, I have learned that it is okay to log off for a little while or set boundaries for what I consume on the apps.
1. Set a timer for the amount of time you spend on social media:
I have begun to minimize the time I spend on social media so that I can stay in the present and focus on what will help me get to my goals in the real world. Becoming an attorney doesn’t happen by checking out what the Kardashian are posting every 15 minutes. It's by studying and tangibly flipping through books. You can gradually decrease the time you spend by starting out with a small goal of maybe 2-4 hours a day and then go from there. I also used to feel like I needed to post everday, twice a day to build my platform. However, if you need a break, it is okay to just delete the app for a couple of days and come back to it. It'll be there later and your mental health is waaaaay more important.
2. Be intentional about what you are consuming on social media
I used to follow so many Instagram models, bloggers and influencers. I was intrigued by their lifestyle, fancy clothes and extravagant vacations. But I started to realize that negative side effects when I would compare myself to them. Fun fact: your self-worth does not compare to any of those accounts you see. So do not let yourself fall victim to that. I have instead, began to follow magazines, mental health activists, journalists and politicians who uplift me and bring positivity to my timeline.
3. It is not always about the numbers.
It is soooo easy to correlate popularity, worth and success with the amount of Instagram followers and likes. BUT PLEASE NOTE>>You are soooo much more than the numbers that you reflect on your profile. If YOU like what you’re doing/creating/posting the likes and followers will come. There is no shame in trying to set a goal for the amount of followers and using different techinques to get there but don’t beat yourself up about a post that you like that didn’t get the response or engagment you intended.
While I am giving this advice, please note I am not perfect. I am still trying to follow through on my own words. But let this be a friendly reminder that you are awesome, and that staying true to the person within will ultimately bring more happiness than the opinions of others and the comparison that comes with social media.