So many of us are guilty of cheating on those around us with technology. As I type this, and as you read this, we’re using technology and ignoring the beautiful people and things around us. The Instagramming, Facebooking, tweeting, and goodness knows what else, have taken over our lives. Many people from the generations before us are shaking their heads at us, commenting that we’re glued to our phones and computers and need to go outside and get a breath of fresh air. We just laugh it off, attributing their reactions to the fact that they grew up in a different era and don’t understand why we use the technology that we do as frequently as we do. But if we really stop and think about their perspective, they might just be on to something. By periodically unplugging ourselves from social media and focusing on the real world around us, we can improve our relationships with others as well as with yourself.
When was the last time you’ve gone out to eat or grab a drink with someone and focused on your conversation and the time you’re spending together instead of constantly checking your social media accounts? Chances are, you might not be able to remember a time where those moments haven’t been interrupted by a funny tweet or a scandalous Instagram photo that’s popped up on your news feed. If you find yourself constantly tweeting or Facebooking or whatever else it is you do on your phone when you’re conversing with others, you’re only hearing half of what they’re saying to you if that. Focus on the people you’re spending time with instead of focusing on posting the pictures of that time together. The pictures will be on your phone until you delete them. Who knows how long the people in our lives will be there? Life is short, enjoy the time you get with your loved ones.
When was the last time you’ve posted a picture on Instagram or a status on Facebook without going back to check how many likes or comments it’s gotten? When we post things on social media outlets such as Instagram and Facebook, we constantly check for likes or how many followers we’ve gained, and if we didn’t get as many as we thought we’d get, we start to question ourselves. Why don’t people like my picture/status? It’s just as cool and funny as so and so’s picture/status! Am I weird? Am I doing it wrong? Feeling the need to have so many likes and follows is just another way that we try to seek approval from those around us. We need to stop measuring our self-worth in likes and follows on social media! You don’t need a certain amount of likes or followers in order for your life choice to be validated. The only person you have to prove something to is yourself. You shouldn’t be competing with others to see who has a more glamorous lifestyle, which brings me to my next point.
It’s so easy to get into a competitive state of mind when you’re browsing your news feeds, and you don’t even know you’re doing it. You look at other people’s statuses and pictures and wonder why your life isn’t as perfect as theirs. I’ll let you in on a secret: People’s lives always seem more glamorous on social media. Why? Because they can choose what you see. They can make it look like their lives are filled with nothing except for unicorns that poop out rainbows. Constantly being exposed to people with “perfect” lives can make you feel down and out about your own, making you wonder why your life isn’t as exciting as theirs and wondering what you’re doing so wrong in your life. The truth is that everyone, yes even the ones that only show their rainbow-pooping unicorns, have down days. Days that they wish would end, but feel like they never will. That is normal. That is life. San Francisco based psychologist Dr. Keely Kolmes advises social media users to “…think about what your own goals or dreams are and whose script you’re listening to…” instead of comparing our lives to those of others on Facebook. When we begin to do just that, we’ll be a lot happier with ourselves.
Next time someone makes a comment or joke about how invested you seem to be in your social media accounts, don’t just brush it off. Instead, try unplugging yourself from technology and recharge by spending time with those around you. When you begin to do just that, you might just find that the real world is better than the social media world.