Today I saw the most beautiful weed ever. I’m not kidding. I saw this bright yellow flower on top of a tall green stalk, with big green leaves at the base. It was all by itself near a porch, in between some shrubbery, just doing it’s own thing. I didn’t even realize it was a weed at first. And is it really a weed if I think it is perfect just the way it is? No, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. I am allowed to love what I love.
As my mind was flooded with thoughts about the significance of this flower, I began thinking about social media, and how the opinions of others can affect our own thoughts, behaviors and moods. If I make it a point to stay away from the socials before I leave for work in the mornings, I tend to have a significantly better morning, which leads to a significantly better and more productive day, compared to if I looked online. If I slip and pull Facebook up on my phone, I get swallowed whole. I immediately check my notifications because at that moment, the need to feel important is my number one reason for living. I hit the notification tab praying that someone tagged me or commented on something that belongs to me. By the way, I have like 100 friends. Once again, I’m not even kidding, but the struggle is so real. I have no idea how people with hundreds or thousands of friends and followers handle this. Oh, that’s another thing. When you have 100 followers on Instagram, you notice when 1 or 2 people unfollow you. They might not even be real people, but I don’t care. I can’t tell the difference and I’m too absorbed to rationally think about anything. Most of the time I end up unsatisfied because I didn’t get an exciting notification. This feeling, this addiction, creates a negative emotion. One of loss and despair and failure. So now my mood has plummeted, and it’s only 7:30am!
This ritual of checking social media every morning is my rite of passage into my day. How can I possibly wake up and have some coffee without looking at Facebook? Come on, you know what I mean, especially if there are notifications on your phone. Don’t even get me started on Insta Stories. Those get me like ants on a melted popsicle. I waste a lot of time and emotional energy, and I don’t even realize what I’m doing.
So how did I let social media become a rite of passage that I go through every day? I mean EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Here are three beliefs that I need to STOP believing immediately.
- I need social media to survive- in life and in business. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve deleted Facebook and Instagram off of my phone. I’d probably delete Snapchat too, but I don’t really know how to use it, so I don’t see it as a problem. However, I always end up reinstalling them because I think I need them. For example, I began a direct sales business a few months ago, and I believe that I need social media on my phone to be successful. This is completely untrue. Yes, it is helpful, but it is not necessary. Do you know that I was actually more successful when these apps were deleted? I was able to spend more time focusing on working to achieve my goals than scrolling through other people’s moments.
- Someone else is good at social media, so I suck at life. Yep, I’ll admit it, I get caught up in the awesomeness of some people, especially fitness people. First off, they take amazing pictures, because it is their job to look good, but I don’t think about that. A good picture means that your life is perfect, right? No one posts pictures of their really bad days; days when they are under the weather, or bloated, or have bags under their eyes. They make a living from posting to social media, so of course their profiles are filled with professional photos. Just because I post a picture of my cat and it only gets 9 likes doesn’t mean that my life is any less significant or less awesome than theirs. Mine is just a little more private, and that is ok. There are people who post about every event: Saturday nights, date nights, travel, you name it. I don’t post those things, and my life is still full of thoughts and moments and feelings and emotions. I don’t post because I honestly am not good at it. I’m also usually the only person who’s not holding up their phone to record an event, I’m living and experiencing the moment, and that is more important to me than anything I’ve posted to Facebook or Instagram.
- If I don’t check social media, I will miss out on the best/most important information (of my life). Every morning I wonder if someone posted a comment on my profile about my business. Those damn notifications. However, in the few months that I’ve been working my business, not once has someone contacted me over social media. As I said earlier, I have 100 friends, and I do all of my business through text and email, so why do I look at social media thinking today will be different? I haven’t done anything to change my methods of business, so this is an unrealistic expectation, it’s a need to feel important. Before I get all envious and end up feeling down about myself, maybe I should start learning HOW to use social media for business. It might change what I see when I log on. On another note, last weekend I heard about an awesome event. I HEARD it on the RADIO. I never saw it online, but FOMO is a real thing, my friends, so I’m going to keep on checking social media even though 9 out of 10 times (ok most of the time it’s 10 out of 10) I learn nothing.
I know there are tons of articles about social media, its pros and cons, how it helps and hurts, but I’ve never taken the time to really put onto paper how it affects me. Obviously, I let it have more of an impact on my life than I want to admit. I think the beautiful dandelion that I saw this morning may be the best thing to happen to me. It opened my eyes to a bigger issue in my life. Is social media holding me back from reaching my full potential? Is it holding you back? Do you allow social media to influence how you behave? Does it make you anxious sometimes? We need to make sure that social media is a resource and a tool used throughout our day rather than a rite of passage into our day. I think if we do this, we will see great things happen.