When we think of addictions, we mostly think of drugs, alcohol and gambling. Or maybe video games. But nobody ever thinks that a human-based website could have similar effects to drugs like withdrawal effects and anxiety. Welcome to the world of social media.
We have created a space where quantity means a lot more than quality. We are chasing more followers rather than more value. More approval rather than more worth.
Listen keenly to your sub-conscious thoughts as you scroll through your Instagram timeline. You’ll hear things like:
That dress is too coloured, she looks bad.
She shaved her hair off? That’s not a good look on her.
I wish I’d stayed on with this guy. His new girl isn’t helping him.
She posts too much. Who is she trying to impress?
How did this post get more than 300 likes?
Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford that car.
How does she already own a house? She must have a sponsor.
She’s been in three relationships while I’m single. Maybe I’m just ugly.
Think about it. I personally have caught myself in this mediocrity one too many times. Most times you’re either hypercritical or jealous. When you log off of Snapchat or Instagram, listen to your soul. Are you happy with yourself, or is there a part of you that wishes you could be someone else? Is that what social media has crafted us to become?
It has been said once and will be said over and over again. Say it with me: People only post what looks good on them. I’ll give you one classic example. I had the opportunity of getting a free facial at a spa sometime back. We were producing content based on beauty and had been visiting spas for about three days. On this particular day, the lady was kind enough to offer me the facial on condition that we produced an advert for her to circulate on her socials. The only part that was seen on my social media was the facial. My followers had no idea that this was a free service, and suddenly everyone was in my DM’s asking questions.
Wow, you’re so rich nowadays. Teach me your ways.
How much was that?
How did you afford it?
We’re not on the same level.
Who is your sponsor?
Social media influencers have shown us images of their lavish lifestyles and we can’t help but wonder where we went wrong. We see them at expensive restaurants daily, or in the club drinking expensive things, and we wonder what kind of prayers they are using that we aren’t. What we don’t realize, however, is, that half the time they have been given those free products or services to post on their socials in a bid to attract more customers.
We unknowingly compare our behind the scenes to other people’s highlight reel. Most people won’t show you pictures of them eating in a kibanda, but the minute they are invited to Kempinsky for a free luncheon they’ll be all over the internet with captions like “A lifestyle.” You however who is at home eating ugali three days a week will unknowingly start to belittle yourself.
I would say, the minute you feel this comparison trickling in, take a hiatus. Do yourself this one favour. Take a break from social media. You will not die if you are off social media for one or two months. Find something else to occupy your mind in a different way. You will find a sense of freedom and discover beautiful parts of you that you never knew existed. I can assure you, you will be happier.
“Your unconscious mind is powerful. Enlist it to do your creative work.”