How many times have you checked your Facebook today? I used to check mine every time I picked up my phone. I would constantly refresh my newsfeed to see what “exciting” news or photos would pop up and would get annoyed if there was nothing new to distract myself with. It took a long time for me to realise that life, the world, is really not happening on Facebook.
Facebook has convinced my generation into thinking that we are not good enough. We feel the constant need to compare ourselves to others, to prove ourselves by non-stop checking in to places, tagging our friends and adding hashtags to the most carefully posed selfies – because it’s all about the likes. We create a persona that makes it seem like we have the perfect life, body, friends and family.
Why do we feel the need to prove all of these things to everyone? It is a phenomenon borne of deep insecurity. Instead of focusing on our own lives and unique talents, we seek out in others what we believe is missing in our own lives. Having more stories and belongings to post about on Facebook is not the secret to happiness, I eventually learnt. To be accepting and comfortable with ourselves and all of our imperfections is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
I have had many conversations with friends that have admitted to feeling like shit after scanning through their news feed. It can sometimes seem like all of their friends are out “living” and enjoying themselves, but we have no idea what is going on in anyone’s life. People are happy to share the good things but not so much the challenging times. We have no idea how many selfies had to be taken before someone posted it on their page.
I’ve experienced first-hand how destructive social media can be to a person’s self-worth. Online, I let my insecurities slowly take over my life until I could no longer recognise my former bubbly, outgoing self. I felt like I had nothing to offer this world. Everyone on my newsfeed seemed to be always smiling, entering new relationships and travelling the world.
But I took a step back, got myself out of that dark place and am grateful for how clearly I see things now. In switching off, I learnt a lot about myself, my interests, my likes and dislikes, and what truly makes me happy and feel good. Facebook posts no longer affect me. We all have a unique journey, I realised. No two people have the same purpose and we all bring something different to the world.