We sometimes – or often – give more of ourselves to the internet than we do to our loved ones, or even to own sense of self. While I’m soaked in the desire to post words online that people will probably never read, you may be the person who gives us the food pictures that others don’t care to see.
I’m far removed from some of the aspects of my life that could be – or should be – deemed as unhealthy. I gained back my independence after being run down with feelings of suffocation. Little did I know – although studies, articles and blogs do suggest it – spending time on the internet was also a contributor to how unwell I felt at the beginning of the year; dragged down by hiding, scrolling, comparing.
After spending eight hours on my computer at work, I’d go home to spend a further 4-6 hours simply scrolling through my news feeds. As I grow older, I become increasingly aware that I don’t go on ‘mad sessions’, I don’t dedicate myself to an active hobby and I don’t socialise as much as I should. I don’t participate in a lot of the things my connections on social media do.
These are not the things I always want and I have never lacked that self-knowledge. Yet, social media makes it incredibly easy to connect with feelings of isolation, inferiority and unworthiness. In fact, social media often encapsulates me in familiar feelings experienced during a time when I was bullied. But this bully isn’t physical. This bully is everybody’s business. Spring and summer always make me feel anxious. As has this bank holiday. I have four glorious days off of work, but I have minimal plans. Meanwhile, my timeline is full of people being busy; people living. Sometimes I have worried that I don’t live at all.
Ever since I moved out, I’ve spent significantly less time on social media. My days are now filled with productivity and things I enjoy – and although those things will be categorised as boring by some – I’m a lot happier. I no longer feel overwhelmed by the portrayal of other people’s lives, I fret a little less over the fact I don’t always have plans and I no longer feel compelled to observe what everybody else is up to – what I’m missing out on.
I feel amplified, fulfilled, and positive. I feel justified in my introverted days and an absence of status updates means an absence of suffocation and negation. I ridicule my own preferences a bit less. In decreasing my exposure to social media, I increased my happiness and I increased me.