Social media can be a great tool to motivate and inspire positive change in our lives. When I need a push for my workout goals, I’ll follow kickass women who are consistent in their regimens. (My fave? Massy Arias.) I’m constantly scrolling through the images of the empowering women on my timeline, and they inspire me to push forward with my goals and cultivate a life beyond my wildest dreams!
But there’s a difference between being motivated or inspired by the people on our pages, and wanting to actually be them. Instead of focusing on all of the great things in our lives, we can start becoming obsessed with how our lives SHOULD be. If scrolling through our timelines leaves us feeling less inspired and more disillusioned with who we are or what we have, it might be time to reevaluate the effect social media is having on our lives.
Here are some signs that it might be time to put your phone down, take a break, and reconnect with what’s real.
1. You lose perspective, and can’t see the difference between people’s real lives and their social media lives.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of comparing every aspect of our real lives with what is essentially someone else’s highlight reel. We tend to post only the best of our lives on social media. Not every day is a Bali vacation, and not every day is a great hair and makeup day. Understand that what you’re seeing is not a full and complete picture, but a rose-coloured version of someone else’s reality.
2. You’re more concerned with what your posts look like to your audience than you are with what your life looks like to you.
We’ve seen it first hand. The seemingly happy couple that all of a sudden breaks up amid horror story after horror story of infidelity or abuse, and we look back at all the Instagram pictures and think of how everything looked so perfect.
There’s something to be said about not airing out your dirty laundry on social media, but if you start to put all of your energy into making your life appear to be great and none into actually creating that great life, you need to recalibrate. Make time for yourself offline, and get back to a healthier perspective.
3. Your mood can change significantly just by scrolling through someone else’s timeline.
If you start off your day in a good mood, scroll through your Instagram, and immediately start beating yourself up about how much better you could be at something or how much you wish you had her life, it’s a very real possibility that social media has become a trigger for your decreased self-esteem. While others may be able to look at posts as sources for projects, ideas, or inspiration, you’ve started to look at those same posts as validation of what you consider to be a sub-par life – a definite sign that it might be time to take a much needed break and start focusing on all of the positive things in your own life.
4. You find it hard to feel genuinely happy for your friends and family.
It can be difficult to feel happy or proud of friends and family as they accomplish different milestones in their lives if you don’t feel happy about your own. It can start with just being uninterested, and slowly turn into feeling resentful. Resentful at your sister’s engagement, resentful at your colleague’s promotion – things that would excite you if you had the same level of pride in your own achievements and accomplishments.
Until you can feel genuine joy about your own life and successes, don’t tune into a forum that exists almost exclusively to celebrate others’.
What other signs do you think we should look for to see if we need a break from social media? Let me know in the comments! And take care of yourselves.
Love and light! xx