A topic that comes up quite often with clients and students, and in general conversation these days, is our relationship to social media. Given my work in healing and mindfulness and my preaching on the rooftop of self love and going inward, one could say they are 2 totally different realms of existence. It’s important to understand why we do anything, and even more important to know if our actions are serving us or hurting us, so let’s take a quick dip into the topic!
1. Social media ("SM") has become part of our daily routine and for a lot of us, our human existence. It is so integral to living for some of us that it forms part of our identity and negatively affects our self worth. Many of us are on SM with no awareness of our long term SM goals and no expiration date in sight. We present a version of ourselves that we want other people to see and this version is often driven by our egos. When the ego is bruised we are unhappy, we are sad, we feel less than good enough, we do not feel like positive shiny beams of pure white loving light. SM breeds opportunity for ego bruising.
In the past I would get sad or anxious that I did not get the likes or outpouring of response I expected, despite knowing in my rational mind that it was silly to feel this way. We have to remind ourselves that our self worth comes from our own opinion of ourselves and the love and support of those around us in our non-virtual personal life.
SOLUTION: AWARENESS - Stay aware of how attached you are to your SM presence and identity. Remind yourself that YOUR SM PRESENCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR SELF WORTH! A good way to practice this is by making sure your posts come from a place of authenticity.
2. SM by nature can be inauthentic because it removes so many layers of interpersonal communication - you cannot see someone's face as they speak or hear their voice or feel their energy when looking at a pic or reading text so we don'tt really know if someone is being authentic with us. To boot, everyone likes happy, shiny, beautiful-ness and positivity which means we ourselves, in trying to meet that criteria, can be inauthentic without being aware of it.
In the past I have posted content portraying happiness and beauty when that is not how I felt in myself at the time and once I gained an awareness around why I did it - either (1) to receive positive external recognition which would increase my happiness or (2) to fulfill what I believed were others' expectations of me having a beautiful and fun life - I had to step back and look at why I needed my happiness increased and why it was important for me to believe others need perceive my life as beautiful and fun. Surprise! I discovered it was a lack of self love! (which you guys know I am all over like white on rice;)).
SOLUTION: AWARENESS - before posting, take a step back and ask yourself, what is my purpose in posting here? Am I looking for recognition of some type or am I genuinely wanting to share without being attached to the outcome, likes or no likes?
3. Being vulnerable. It’s hard, and no one likes a whiner: A lot of people complain that others are inauthentic on SM, trying to portray this perfect life that can't possibly be true but let's face it, being vulnerable is hard, especially in front of potentially millions of viewers! And because people are attracted to shiny, happy, positivity it is scary to post when you are feeling shitty or not in a positive place because you may not be heard... and that is painful. Also, be honest with yourself - do you want to see the shitty side of people's lives, their shadow self, their ugly pics, etc.?
In the past I posted superficially for fear that my true self and ways of thinking and being would be rejected by my family or friends. This came from a lack of self love and a blocked throat chakra, I couldn't speak my truth. Once I started doing inner work to learn how to speak my truth, free from fear of rejection (this is self love), I found myself compelled to share when I was sad, or a big scary life event was happening. In being vulnerable in sharing, we connect with others and give them the opportunity to be brave and vulnerable too. No, I do not post every time I am in a funk or bad mood but you do not want to see that either. I look for the deeper meaning in my sadness or scary life vents and post about them when I feel I can make a difference to someone.
SOLUTION: Before complaining or judging someone for potentially being inauthentic look at yourself...are you being 100% authentic in SM? Have compassion for people you know are being inauthentic on SM and speak to them if you feel necessary. If you want to have a moan or post about something sad but do not want to be perceived as a downer, find the lesson/deeper meaning in your message, it will be well received and may have a positive impact on someone, it would be a good growth opportunity for you as well.
4. Comparison and Judgement - scrolling through SM gives us so many opportunities to compare ourselves to others and it does not feel good at all. It also gives us a lot of opportunities to judge other people for how they are or aren't doing things.
I am guilty as charged over here, I am only human. I see other people dong things I wish I would have done ages ago or wish I was doing now and it sometimes brings up feelings of not being good enough. Sometimes, I judge others for that same reason. BUT! I AM AWARE THAT MY JUDGMENT OF OTHERS IS ONLY A REFLECTION OF ME COMPARING MY PATH TO SOMEONE ELSE'S AND THIS IS FUTILE BECAUSE EACH OF OUR PATHS ARE DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE...WE EACH HAVE OUR OWN UNIQUE GIFTS TO OFFER THE WORLD.
SOLUTION: When those feelings of not feeling good enough come up, delete! You have the choice of who you follow, if you find yourself comparing of judging, delete from your feed, get out of there! And....maybe even take a SM break. Finally, take a look at what remains unhealed in you that has caused your judgement of others or comparison of yourself (which is also judgment, it's just self- judgement).
In conclusion, leading a happy, healthy mindful life while engaging in SM requires self awareness, self love and balance. At times, yes, SM does not seem to jive with leading a mindful life but it is here to stay and it is a necessary medium of communication for a lot of us…So, it’s important to find the balance within yourself and in your life with your SM use as to not get taken too far away from yourself. Like every aspect of life, moderation and mindfulness is key.
And on that note, I am taking a little hiatus from SM myself as I enter the Peruvian Amazon to do some deep inner work. I will see you on the other side and can't wait to share my insights upon my return.
With love and light,