Sunday, September 10, 2017

Social (me)dia & (me)ntal Health

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. These are all platforms to show our lives and our opinions. But when does it stop getting fun and start becoming harmful?

Social media is a way to express ourselves. We get to share a little bit of our lives with friends and strangers alike. With the use of hashtags, we can connect with people all over the world that have similar interests and tastes. I've become friends with a girl out of state whom I have a lot in common with such as our love for pugs, crafting and sarcasm. Cara is a pretty cool chick and someone I would have never met outside the realm of Instagram. 

But then there are the negatives to such apps. The trolls; the obsession with posting or searching-out posts. 

I follow a gal from Tennessee ( I think? ) who has been working on a healthier lifestyle for years.  Last year, she leaned out and competed in her first fitness competition. Afterwards, she learned that it's not about having the "perfect body" but about being a better you each and every day, and living a healthy life. Yes, she's gained some of the weight back. But she's okay with that. Since she decided to share her life with people on Instagram, though, she now has to deal with comments like these:





Tesia is a strong woman who is just trying to be comfortable in her own skin. She's realized that the "fit" life isn't always the "healthy" life, and while trying to be inspiring to those who still struggle, she's harassed and judged but complete strangers.

This is just one major downfall with the "social media age".

 
Another major downfall of such sites is the fact that we compare ourselves to others. 

Why can't I be as skinny and beautiful as her?
Look at her expensive shoes and handbag!...I wish I had money like that.
She looks so put together--her life must be perfect!

We get down on ourselves when we see how "great" others have it. But what we must understand is, just like a photograph, they always show the good times and rarely the bad. You don't take pictures or write statuses about the hard times ( well, usually... ) Things like that cause pity. We want to mask the bad by over-accentuating the good. Lavish trips. Expensive objects. In social media, WE have "the power" to show the world whatever we would like to. And while some are crudely honest to a fault, others show only the good side of things...leading one to believe they have the perfect life.

The younger generation knows nothing but this technological age, and I feel bad for them. Self-esteem is at an all-time low and kids feel like they will only gain acceptance in the amount of friends and followers they have. They post pictures for 'likes' because they don't know how to like themselves. 

And just like how these apps make us feel like crap about ourselves, they are also a way to make people feel bad for US. Get on your Facebook once...I bet you have at least one friend who only posts negative shit. Whether it be statuses about "how much their life sucks" or vague quotes about life, insinuating that theirs sucks. They strive for attention, because they feel whether it's bad or good, at least it's attention. I have an old friend who has been constantly posting about her "failing life", trying to make excuses like karma isn't to blame. No excuses!...if you're a bad person to others, people will be bad to you. The first step in becoming a better person is being REAL with yourself and your downfalls. Don't play the boo-hoo-pity-party card and make everyone feel bad for you when YOU are the cause of the chaos. 

...which leads me to the last issue with social media: it prevents us from letting go of the past. 

We reopen wounds when we go searching for our ex-boyfriends or ex-friends. We go in search of things we were never meant to see, thus causing undue pain that could be easily avoidable. Why do we torture ourselves? Because it's so easy to.

Why do you care about what your ex-girlfriend is doing? You want to compare lives. You want to make sure that you're doing better than her. What check out your ex-BFFs page? Because you want to see if karma came back around. But what does that solve? It only angers you more. It brings about bad feelings. 

WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?!

It is not a healthy way to live. And even though social media has a lot of benefits when it comes to current events, bringing people together for a cause, education, etc...there's always bad with the good. There's always people who will abuse the system and use it for evil. 

I, myself, have learned that I really need to disconnect. I need to block people I don't have reason to care about; I need not follow people with whom I compare my looks/attitude/skills with; I need to focus on ME and not strangers 5000 miles away.

We all only get one time to live our lives...

...why be sad the whole time that we aren't living someone elses?