I bet I can guess the first thing you did when you woke up this morning. – you scrolled through notifications on your phone before you stepped out of bed to fix that bed-head.
The internet connects us to hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, and yet we’re more isolated than ever. If it isn’t posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – well then it simply didn’t happen. If we do capture a memory or a look, then we disappear into the realm of likes and follows. If a post goes un-liked – then we are not good enough and we disappear further into the realm to push those feelings of unworthiness away. Distract. Binge. Escape… We’ve become a society who ignore real friendships in favor of spending time thriving on algorithms created by machines who simply mimic our very own misery-inducing patterns.
We’ve all experienced it. The day is going great: you got out of work early, someone let you in ahead of them in traffic, and for some reason, your hair is just killin’ it today! Then WHAM. You log onto Facebook and see that an oooold high school friend just got engaged to a Sam Heughan look-a-like. UGH. Suddenly your perfect hair day just got a whole lot less significant. Even when you log off, images of the happy fiancés feeding each other spoonfuls of chocolate moose from their couples cooking class are etched into the back of your brain.
Then comes the inevitable torture of wondering why your own life doesn’t compare to their shiny perfect photos. We’re all in competition, although we prefer not to realize it. You ran more miles, or your child can dance better, or that selfie got more Facebook Likes than the average. Well done…. No really – well done!
Our broken society judges people by what they can do for others. Can you save children from a burning building, or remove a tumor, or make a room full of strangers laugh? *wink – You’ve got value right there.
Write an unpublished book, you’re a nobody. Write Eat Pray Love and the world wants to know you. Save a life, you’re a small-town hero, but cure cancer and you’re a legend. Unfortunately, the same rule applies to all talents, even untalented talents: get naked for one person and you may just make them smile, get naked for fifty million people and you might just be a Kardashian – the world loves to hate the Kardashian clan, but we are the ones who put them on the pedestal.
We use Instagram filters to make ourselves look more tanned and Pinterest boards to show everyone that awesome room we’re decorating. Whether it’s subconscious or not, we tend to paint a picture on social media that make our lives look like a more perfect version of reality.
You may hate it, but reality doesn’t care. We’re judged by what we have the ability to do, and the volume of people we can impact or get to LIKE what we ramble about while searching for acceptance. This my dears is today’s reality and If you can’t accept this reality, then the judgment of the world will seem very unfair.
The problem isn’t that life is unfair; it’s your broken idea of fairness.
Can you imagine how insane life would be if it actually was ‘fair’ to everyone? No-one would fall in love with anyone who wasn’t the love of their life, for fear of breaking a heart – or god forbid, wasting years of your life with the wrong person. Relationships would only end when both partners died simultaneously. Rain would only fall on bad people, hell – Donald Trump would actually have good hair!
Most of us get so hung up on how we think the world should work (#shinyFBposts) that we can’t see how it does. Facing that reality might just be the key to unlocking your understanding of the world, and with it, all of your potential.
Ask yourself this simple question – “Am I the same me in real life as I am online?” Since we curate their own lives and show only the highlight reels, the online self is not the same as a true self. It’s okay to embrace the online world, but we mustn’t forget that likes and shares only go so far. Real validation only exists when we are genuine and imperfect.
If you’re not willing or able to give up social media just yet, consider the following suggestions:
- Start paying attention to the moments you mindlessly open Instagram or Facebook. Be more mindful of the time you spend habitually browsing.
- Turn off your social media notifications. Use your first moments in the morning to feel gratitude for waking up to a new day.
- Put your phone away when you’re sharing a meal with friends or family. I repeat: Put. Your phone. Away. Channel your energy into building real, face-to-face relationships.
- Remind yourself often that what you see online is not a standard by which you should grade your life. Key to understanding = REMEMBER THAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE
The time to stop is now – Stop judging everyone based on your own cookie cutter ideas of happiness, stop judging yourself based on other’s cookie-cutter ideas of happiness and what it should look like. Stop searching for acceptance and simply accept yourself and your life as it is, Stop making excuses EVERY time that friend invites you for a glass of wine because you’re too caught up in scrolling news feeds for validation.
Take a break from Social Media and rediscover the simplicities and out-right atrocities of life – it’s all about balance, you can’t live life in a filtered or cropped version of yourself – the only true way to live life is to LIVE it. Listen to that Nickelback album that ‘everyone’ hates but secretly jam out to in their cars, eat that damn chocolate cake – without taking a picture of it, put down your god-damned phone and wake up with gratitude for a new day.
Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, notes or followers; but in your ability to love, laugh, connect with real people and to ultimately find joy in your life’s purpose.