Social media can be an extremely negative space. It can create insecurity and feelings of lack. It can make you wish you were more fit, could travel more, had a significant other, could get into that yoga pose or afford nice clothes. I’ve always had a lot of negative feelings towards social media because I saw the affect it could have on me. This past summer I was jobless and living at home while everyone around me seemed to have it all figured out. I made up for those feelings of lack by posting constantly to show how AWESOME post-grad life was going, when in reality I was feeling lost, uninspired, and isolated. I look back at all the pictures I was posting and none of them are representative of how I was feeling in that moment. I’m lucky enough to have been able to recognize this in myself and know that I needed to take a step away. So I decided for the entire duration of my yoga teacher training that I would go off social media (and I almost made it the whole time).
I’d like to say that all the negativity went away during these months, but I honestly felt more isolated than before. I realized that all these problems weren’t social media’s fault…it was mostly about the way I was using it. So when I went back on social media, I set some new intentions for the way I would interact in this space. I decided to unfollow anyone who created more negative feelings than positive ones aka people who are constantly trying to sell you shit you don’t need, people who live impossibly lavish lifestyles, people who always seem to have drama in their lives, and the typical “insta-yogis.” I decided I wanted to follow people who inspire me, have similar interests, and people who I can learn from. And lastly, I decided to post only with positive intentions.
That last one has been a lot harder than it sounds. There are so many posts I go to put up and then realize that I’m doing so from a “look-at-me” standpoint. I noticed that I usually go to post something like this when I’m not feeling great because I know outside approval will give me a little glimpse of the confidence I’m looking for. I’ve become very aware of the difference between posting from a place of confidence and pride and posting from a lack of confidence and a need for reassurance.
My whole view of this platform changed drastically once I stopped posting things I thought people wanted to see and started to post things I thought people needed to see and things that were 100% true to how I’m feeling in the moment. Once I started doing this, 1) I felt better about the things I was posting and 2) I started to get a much more meaningful response. Love and support, “me too”s and “I’m here for you”s. Questions on how I’m dealing with my acne and how I’m coping with depression and anxiety. Help with my inability to make a green smoothie that doesn’t taste like shit and advice on new acne-fighting products to try. Book suggestions and new music to listen to. Exchanges of delicious recipes and thoughts on going vegan.
Every interaction I’ve had since I made this decision to be more genuine and honest on this platform has been so beautiful and heartwarming. This doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but it sure is liberating.
I encourage you to take a look at the way that you’re interacting in this space. How do you feel when you’re scrolling through your feed? I know it seems trivial in the grand scheme of things, but whatever screen your reading this on has the ability to change the way you feel about yourself and everything around you. You get to decide if the time you spend in this space is positive and inspiring or negative and discouraging. Don’t allow the negativity created by others to take up space in your precious life.
The acts of taking control of who you surround yourself with (both on and off the screen) and working toward being more true to who you are and honest with yourself and others about how you’re feeling in the moment can be life-changing. The beautiful lesson I have learned in the past few months is that these go hand-in-hand. The more you surround yourself with positive, encouraging people, the more you may feel you can be open and true to yourself. And the more you are open and true to yourself, the more you attract the kinds of people you want and need in your life.
I encourage you to ask yourself how you can start this beautiful cycle in your life if you haven’t already. ❤️