From a Former Social Media Junkie, to You

“I’m a father of six girls so I have witnessed first hand young women take 30 photos to find one they like best. We have heard this line a lot–we see a highlight reel when we look at someone’s Facebook or Instagram, so we’re not seeing the other 29 images that didn’t make the cut, that were almost identical, but there may have been a little crease or wrinkle, or a hair out of place. Our children, and our moms and our aunts, and even the blokes, we use social media to compare. Research shows that social comparison is the best way to damage your self-esteem. The more you stare and compare, the worst you’ll feel about yourself.”

– Dr. Justin Coulson

Dr. Coulson is an international speaker/author and one of Australia’s leading parenting experts. As you can see from the statement above, he is no stranger to the effects of social media and how it tends to make us all the more self conscious…as if we needed any more reasons to feel less secure about ourselves.

FUNNY INDIAN MEMES (www.google.com/images)

I can count on numerous occasions how many times I’ve fallen victim to comparing the life of my peers online to my own. Yes, I was a “social media junkie” and Twitter happened to be my go to. Oftentimes, I would find myself feeling as if there was more that I needed to be doing based on what the people that I followed were displaying on their own profiles. Seeing others who are in the same peer group seeming to accomplish really important things while you’re sitting like a lump on a log at home can be pretty discouraging and even lead you to believe that your life actually sucks. Which is obviously far from the truth. According to Sasha, a 16-year-old junior in high school, on social media, “everyone looks like they’re having the best day ever, all the time.” Which is obviously far from the truth.

awesome life on facebook

Aside from users projecting a false reality online, I immediately noticed the effects that it had on the expectations that others placed on their relationships because of social media. Amanda Jane Sankey, a student attending Western Kentucky University, says “If you take a minute and look through Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, you can find paragraphs after paragraphs about the kind of boyfriend (or girlfriend) you “deserve.” Many online users of social media outlets take these “relationship affirmations” seriously which in turn causes a great deal of turmoil between themselves and their partner. Of course, not everyone who comes in contact with this sort of information falls prey to the #relationshipgoals hashtag, however, constant exposure does begin to permeate the subconscious mind.

Relationship goals lead to idolatry, envy, and ultimately, destruction altogether. You find yourself comparing your own partnership with some stranger’s online that you don’t even really know. And no, having access to their lives via Twitter or Instagram does not count for knowing who these people truly are. Unless you are physically around the couple for a significant amount of time, you will never honestly know what their partnership entails. #Facts.

relationship killers image

So how do we combat this dilemma? How do we do damage control after the damage has already taken place? I can give you my personal fix or you can choose to follow your own based on the needs and wants in your life. For starters, I resorted to cutting out all forms of social media except for the ones that did not directly contribute to an emotional downward spiral such as YouTube. I deactivated my Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Tumblr (for a while) until I was able to regain control over my own self perception and actually focus on some significant goals that I had been putting off due to consistent procrastination and distractions on social media networks.

After a couple of weeks off-the-grid and out of the matrix, I felt more at peace and I began to realize again just how much we are all dealing with similar, if not identical, struggles in our day to day lives. No one is exempt from sadness, pain, depression, hardship, or any other negative experience while residing on this lovely planet that we call Earth.

photo credit: NYMAG

And don’t get me wrong, I do understand that for some people, social media is their sole way of making money and building up their business brands which I am not totally against. I feel that when utilized effectively, social media can be a great business, marketing, and network tool, but even CEOs go on social media hiatuses for weeks to a month. Overall, be sure that you are attentive to your own mental and emotional health. You know what you need to be successful more than anyone else. It is already within you.

Allowing the perceived happiness of someone else’s life online will inevitably destroy the amount of self-confidence that you do possess. You do not need social media to validate you for being an awesome human being. You just are.

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Suicidal Thoughts Are Not “Bad”

“To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.”

I no longer believe that death (i.e. suicide) will solve any of the problems you face. I now believe in the concept of self-harm doing more harm to others rather than yourself and blah blah blah.

But sometimes…only sometimes…I hope for death.

The most that I expect to receive afterwards is peace. Which is all that I really desire when it comes down to it.

I am not a dark person by any means. I actually attempt to keep this part of myself hidden from others and those closest to me which I feel is the result of some “social conditioning” that I experienced as a young girl.

I have decided that it is no longer benefiting me to deny these emotions and suppress them. Everybody ponders death at least a million times in their life. And about half of those every-bodies have wondered about suicide in general or have even thought of causing harm to themselves.

I am aware of how much I am loved and the value that I bring to the world.

I love. Very much. Some more than others, of course. But I love people. You get the picture.

Still, I think about it and I don’t think that makes me bizarre, angry, or a “suicidal” person even. It is a completely normal reaction to the world that we inhabit if you ask me.

To sit and reflect on all of the shit that happens around us, will literally drive you into a depression of some sort. Which, ultimately, brings about our good friend: suicidal thoughts.

If you are reading this and are contemplating self-harm, this is your understanding.

I get it. Shit is hard. Life is hard.

But do not allow life to beat you to a bloody pulp. Kick life’s ass right back and get up for round two.

Taking your life, will mean that you are also robbing the life of another. It gets better, I promise.