If you are spending another Friday or Saturday night inside parked in front of Netflix then you may have the slightest feeling of sadness or self-pity that you are not social enough. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The reality is that most of us spend the majority of nights in the same place. However, TV, movies, and social media tend to project a lifestyle that is very different and it can cause us to feel some anxiety.
While for years we have watched people in shows and in movies go to incredible parties and appear to be going on holiday every other week, we told ourselves that it was just fiction or simply the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Now that we are so ingrained in social media we see the same thing happening with that girl who was always a little bit strange in school? Is she really more social than me?
Today people are constantly comparing themselves to people on social media and deciding that they simply don’t measure up. Even if you do follow some incredibly social people they are skewing your feed. If you have one friend who is really social you will likely see her on your feed every weekend and think “wow I must be the only one not out tonight” when in reality you probably follow hundreds of other people who are sitting at home that night too. Don’t compare yourself to those people who are incredibly social, they are not the norm.
Even more important than that, don’t believe what you see. Most people live quite a boring and mundane existence the majority of the time yet that is not what they show on their social media account. It would be refreshing if someone showed their microwave meal and night in on social media but that is not how people use social media today.
Instead, it is quite common for someone to go on one holiday in a year and repurpose many photos throughout the year. Or if they go to a simple takeaway restaurant at the bottom of the street yet make it look like they are fine dining.
The most important thing to understand is that social media is not real life. What you see there is not a window into someone’s life. It is a window into what they want you to see. These two things are not the same. If you have a friend who is always posting quotes about happiness and peace – you may think they really have their head screwed on. In reality, they probably follow those pages because they are struggling themselves.
There are two solutions to this problem. The first is to quit social media. This might sound drastic but ask yourself what social media actually does for you? I stay on social media to keep in contact with friends and family but none of them really interact on Instagram. I should just delete it.
The second solution is to change how you use social media. Instead of following people that upset you, follow people that inspire you. Don’t worry about whether they will say something or how they will react, do what is best for your mental health. Follow people who help you get out of bed in the morning, set goals you can achieve, and help you improve your life.
Social media has the power to do an incredible amount of good but the problem is that the algorithms it uses actually feed the bad part of us. They feed the part that just has to see what that girl was doing or how your ex-boyfriend spent the summer. Stop pursuing the bad, follow the good.