The Pitfalls of Social Media (+ how I am working to overcome)
It’s probably no surprise to you that social media can be extremely detrimental to our mental and emotional health. In the last 6-10 months, I’ve noticed some frightening truths about my personal relationship with social media and how it’s affecting my life, emotions, and mental health. While I’d love to be able to say that I’m not affected by it, I can’t. It’s been eye-opening to see the effects and as the year closes in, I am even more determined to get a handle on it and figure out how to use it in a healthy way. These realizations have been humbling and caused me to really take a moment to look at my actions and how I use social media.
My experience with social media:
Something you should know about me is that I am an Enneagram 2. Which means that all I want in life is to be loved by everyone. So, my motivations for most of what I do falls back on that. I want love reciprocated from everyone, at all times. And if that doesn’t happen, I can start crumbling. It’s not completely necessary that I get into the inner workings of my own personal growth and the areas of my heart that need healing, but I say this to give you a glimpse into my personal motivations and how I am wired. These wirings and personality traits can be a recipe for disaster for someone active on social media.
From what I have experienced, most people aren’t thinking about how they can love everyone else...especially on social media. So, that can a potential toxic environment for someone like me. While I rarely have time to comment back to people or reply to DMs, I can read into those actions of others and convince myself that I’ve somehow offended someone and they no longer like me. This cycle has become common, toxic, and incredibly draining. This has resulted in me needing to take more time away from social media and remind myself (constantly) that my worth and success does not come from engagement percentages, Instagram Story views, comments received, who follows me or if they comment back, how many people help promote my business, etc.
Maybe you’re reading this and you’re like: “Girl, you’re crazy!” and if that’s the case, I am so proud of you! I wish that I could be one of those people that doesn’t struggle with these silly insecurities that were created by social media. I wish I didn’t have to check my mindset multiple times a day to make sure it is safe for my mental health to open up Instagram. I wish I didn’t have these struggles.
A few years ago, I didn’t. I am not totally sure what has caused the struggles or how it go so bad, but it has definitely changed as time has gone on. I’ve had near panic attacks because I have convinced myself that someone no longer likes me (because of a “seen” DM that wasn’t replied to). I’ve spent countless hours wondering if “she” likes me anymore and what I could have done to make her dislike me.
I don’t need to write anymore to convince you that I need some serious boundaries. I write this because maybe you’re experiencing this too and struggling with anxiety. Maybe you don’t know how to set boundaries and find yourself depressed or sad and you don’t know why. Maybe you just need to know you aren’t alone.
But beyond that, I want us all to walk away from this willing to makes changes and dedicated to making social media fun, not stressful or anxiety-ridden.
Boundaries I am setting or things I’ve done that helped:
Deciding to believe that everyone is thinking about themselves, not negatively about me: ...let me explain. If they don’t comment back or they see a DM and don’t reply, it’s not personal. Making the decision to believe this helps me let the anxiety go. I can often look into things and believe lies about people’s intentions. Reminding myself this helps me continue to comment on photos and not wonder if they will reply or reciprocate. If you’re like me, this probably makes complete sense to you. If you’re not, this probably sounds like a different language to you. That’s okay. This is just my personal journey and strategies.
Limiting my use when needed: I have some weeks that are harder, some weeks that are harder. On the weeks where I can see that I’m not doing well, I have to limit my use. In fact, I don’t scroll through Instagram very often and I have to limit how many stories I view each day. I still show up regularly for my people, but I don’t engage with others as much as I’d like to. And while this is a Instagram strategy that I teach, I have to limit how much I do it. I go through seasons of limiting it and seasons where it doesn’t matter. I just have to check in with where my mind is at.
Finding accountability: when I have a tough day or I am having a moment of weakness, I send a text to these accountability partners and they help me talk through it. Most of the time, the thoughts I am thinking are crazy and lies. So the moment I vocalize them, I realize that there is no truth or weight to them.
As I’ve struggled with anxiety and worry, these boundaries have helped me break the cycle in my mind and move on to healthier thoughts. If you’re struggling with the anxiety that can come from social media, I encourage you to try these things. The first bullet point is all mindset and something that you have to do over and over again. But, I’ve made a decision to just let it be fun! And I don’t want to let those negative thoughts into my mind anymore. I hope that we can start a conversation to help everyone remember that social media is such a small part of our life and there are REAL relationships to be cultivated with the people in your life. Don’t be afraid to put the phone and trust that your business isn’t 100% dependent on your activity on social. And if it is, maybe it’s time to work on growing that email list! :)