The Social Media Minefield – this one is a little more of a challenge for me to write about as I’m very aware of how irrational I have reacted to some aspects of social media. This is a long one, but I hope you stick around.
I attended the TEDxNorwichED talks recently and it was fantastic. There were some very inspiring speakers and content, which helped kick-start my self-esteem venture. I’m applying some of the content daily which I’ll go into in a later post in the hopes it may help someone else.
One of my massive take homes, besides the glory of getting to the Mario Kart Semi-finals, of course, was that I really needed to check in on my habits, behaviours and thoughts around social media, texts and emails. I know I am not alone in this. So many of us are addicted to the ‘app lap’ and in a lot of cases, this is what people do the second they wake up in the morning. You just have to check in case you succeed in getting that little dopamine hit in the form of a like, comment or a tag on some hilarious meme featuring a sloth. We are after that social media confirmation that we are all worthy. Hell, we even want confirmation our avocados are looking good enough before we eat them. Oh, and don’t you dare forget that filter.
We are constantly searching for these little wins, but by carrying out these app laps and comparisons from behind our phone screens, we are becoming miserable. It is increasingly difficult not to compare your worst moments or your worst traits to someone else’s best, ‘Mayfair’ filtered moments. That is just it though. People (generally) don’t post the bad times. They don’t post themselves after they’ve cried for hours or post photos of that slightly less than average Thursday curry night Korma they ate. We post our smashed avocados, our post-gym session pics and our holiday photos. Considering social media is even affecting where we go on holiday, it’s getting ridiculous. (Apparently, us 18-30’s hate Kavos and pints of snake bite now, instead, we love a city break and a coffee for its photogenic appeal, but I digress.) Point being, our photos on Instagram are not our whole lives, despite that being hard to see at times of sadness or low self-esteem.
So, where has this minefield blown up for me? Where have I not been mindful enough whilst treading my way through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, texts and so on? A big one for me was framing social media as more important than myself.
As you know from my first post, my self-esteem issues tend(ed) to come out most forcefully in relationships. I don’t think he will mind me referring to him in this way but my last partner was king of the app lap. Addicted to a cheeky Insta scroll, as a lot of us are, and I criticised him for this if it meant I hadn’t received a text back quick enough, or prior to him checking out photos of Samoyed dogs. I’ve had to reframe this, because of its irrationality. Firstly, Samoyed dogs are the best. But secondly and in seriousness, I don’t text everyone back immediately all the time, it doesn’t mean I care less, so why would I demand someone else does to prove that they care about me? Sometimes you find yourself on a social media platform and don’t even remember clicking on it, that’s how unaware we are of our phone behaviours. It didn’t mean he cared any less about me. Unfortunately, we are now in a world where we expect texts daily, rather than having to sit in the hallway, on the landline, trying to talk to the boy or girl we liked once a week. I put a lot on him for that, irrespective of the fact we spent a lot of fun times together. Texts are not important. The person in front of you is.
The other main thing I have had to reframe is what people ‘like’. Instagram has that neat little page that shows you all the posts that the people you follow have liked, and it, for me, has lead to some very judgey thoughts and a lot of negative self-talk. This page has been my favourite, it’s a great way to torture yourself by seeing what photos your partner has liked and immediately jumping to irrational conclusions. Nerissa, my chimp, thoroughly enjoyed this game; because if he has liked that woman’s post, but spends all his time with you, it must be the woman in the post he loves, right? Even just writing that out sounds absurd. Well done, Nerissa, you’re an irrational dick.
So what are my fixes? And by all means, if anyone has good techniques I can adopt, please comment. I am now being mindful of the above ridiculousness, I am cleaning up my Instagram and emails, (so excited that GDPR is kicking in and I’m automatically being opted out of loads), I have removed push notifications, so I won’t go on just to check the notification and get sucked in looking at kittens for two hours. I am working on removing my emotional attachment from social media posts, stopping myself from deliberate emotional self-torture and I am using the 5-second rule to stop myself when I realise I am app lapping. 5,4,3,2,1, do I need to look at this? What could I be doing instead? Do I even -want- to be online? Probably not, cute Samoyed though.
The Social Media Minefield is not inherently bad, but you do have to be mindful of your footing to ensure you don’t get engulfed. Just by being careful of where you step, being mindful of where you are looking, what you are doing and why, can really help get you across unscathed.