For almost a year now, we have been limited in our socialization. We haven’t seen a lot of friends or even parts of our families in a long time. We are lucky that technology is as advanced as it is. With covid around, at least, we are able to talk on the phone and through video chat. We can still keep in touch in ways that were impossible through the last pandemic. Another obvious solution is turning to social media. It’s supposed to be a tool to socialize, right? This way, we can still feel a connection with the world even though our surroundings on a daily basis is our own homes. What happens though when, instead of being a positive influence, this becomes a negative influence on our mental health?
Covid has exacerbated so many of the intense feelings we normally go through that social media, instead of being a helpful tool that helps lift us up, can drive us deeper down. I personally battle with my self-esteem and depression on a daily basis. Having a life where I could offset these feelings by volunteering, being around a multitude of loved ones, and helping the community in a variety of ways has helped me battle these feelings prior to covid. All of a sudden, a year ago, all of that stopped. While we still try to be outside and spend time as a family, we aren’t able to do all of the activities that fill our bucket. I found myself spending a lot more time on social media just because I wasn’t actively doing anything else. Recently, I’ve started realizing that it’s actually making me feel worse instead of better.
While I know that only the best parts of people’s lives are posted on social media, emotionally, I was taking in the adventures others were having or the friends they were seeing. Their lives seemed a lot more normal that mine seems to be. They’re still fulfilling themselves and finding some sort of the external validation that we all still need even though we don’t want to admit it. I know that internal validation is what we should be basing our self-worth on but let’s be real. We all also want to be recognized or appreciated for the things that we do and to hear feedback helps make us feel good about ourselves. And while in the past, I didn’t usually rely on likes or comments to validate the things I do but the fact that external validation in other regards had been completely cut off meant that this is what I was turning to. And guess what? My social media personality hasn’t changed. I’m not that interesting and I don’t frequently interact through it. So I didn’t get the likes or whatever I was looking for.
So in order to try to turn back inwards and figure out a way to feel good about myself by myself, I’ve now set limits on my social media time. If it helps people, that’s fantastic but for me, I think living in the moment and focusing on things I can control is the only way for me to hang out until we get out of covid. Until we can at least have some semblance of normality back, it’s better to be present and try living my life versus living in other people’s lives. I’m not sure if this will be the turning point for me but making this decision gives me some hope that maybe I can figure out what I’m looking for.