Our quality of life is at stake everyday, and it is so especially because we live now in a digital era. It is a struggle to not let outside factors influence ourselves and a learning process to understand what is truly important for us in life. With this article we start a series of articles called “Live an authentic life” whose purpose is to present and debate topics that can help us live the lives that we want, authentic, beautiful and meaningful. If you have ideas or questions related to the idea of our series, please share them in the comment section below. We will start this series with an article about the social media impact in our lives – keep close to read the other articles as well.
A couple of years ago I realized that social media, especially Facebook, represented for me way too much than it should have. I was waking up checking Facebook, I never went to sleep without checking it, I was scrolling the newsfeed while walking, eating, attending classes, working, everytime I felt bored or overwhelmed by the things I had to do. It actually became a habit to open Facebook even without knowing why or without even realising that I did it.
I questioned myself if this was an addiction to me, but I believed I was doing it for fun and to relax and that I could always just stop it. But soon after I realised it was taking so much of my time and decided to try not to use it for a while. Then I saw how hard it was to stop and change my habit! The problem was that even when I wasn’t checking Facebook anymore because I pushed myself to do it, because my brain was so used to doing it, I was always thinking of what happens there, who is posting what and I wasn’t able to concentrate properly on anything else.
I believe that it is a nowadays issue of the young generations to be addicted to social media, so here’s my question for you: Do you find yourself addicted to it? How many times do you check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media you use on a daily basis? How many times do you do it while doing something else? Think about it and moreover I would like to challenge you to make an exercise and see if social media is an addiction for you or not:
Try not to open any of your social media accounts for a day. Just see how hard it is and how your brain reacts to this change. If your day is great without social media, why still wasting time with it? If you have difficulties like me and cannot stop thinking of it, well, that should raise some questions for you.
If you find yourself in this addiction circle, I hope that the following paragraphs and arguments will motivate and help you to give up on the social media life and start living an authentic life. I will present next three major disadvantages that social media can have on our lives.
Firstly, social media can badly influence our self-esteem. In social media people usually present only the best parts of their lives: holidays, parties, family, friends, happiness, fun, etc. Which is not bad, but the problem is that there is created this overall view of perfect lives that we all would like to live, but don`t. Life is not perfect for anyone, we all have struggles, but this is what we see in social media and fall in the trap of believing there can actually be perfect problemless lives. We accumulate frustration because we cannot achieve such a life as well and forget that we set out a living standard according to just some impressions, not to some real and tangible things. Don`t dream about what other just seem to have.
Secondly, social media is dangerous for our relationships. If we are addicted to social media it means that we spend a lot of time checking it, time which we can use to communicate with our loved ones, do something for them and strengthen our connections. Ask yourself who is there for you when you need someone. Those are the persons who deserve some of your time more than some unknown friends from Facebook. Social media is misleading, you might imagine you get to have lots of friends and know many things about them according to what they post, but we must never forget that in social media people choose what to share and that they don’t share everything. The only real and authentic relationships are with those around us.
Thirdly, social media can negatively impact our work. When we are addicted to social media we see it as some sort of a refuge, so each time we struggle when we work on something we tend to take a short scrolling break. This disconnection that we might believe is helpful because after a break we are more relaxed and able to start things over with clearer thoughts is actually very disturbing. It is disturbing because our brain is constructed in a different way, it takes a while to go back on track and focus on the things you interrupted. A break is best only after 40 minutes to an hour of deep work. Moreover, social media generates curiosity and even after we finish our scrolling break we think of what we saw there.
We saw what negative influence can have social media in our lives, the question is now whether there can also be a good one or not.
Social media can help us keep in touch with our families and friends who live abroad. My advice would be to connect on social media only with persons you would be comfortable to share your personal life and if you like to post lots of things, just make sure you don`t mislead anyone by posting perfect pictures with perfect people and so on. Be authentic!
Also, social media can be a good source of information and inspiration. The problem is when too much is too much. You must remember that it is you who decides whom to follow and what your newsfeed looks like. Think about what represents a real interest for you and you actually need to know. Follow those kind of information and don`t let yourself be overwhelmed by information you don`t need to know.
Moreover, social media can be used as a CV. You can post things about you, share things that you like, support different causes and let people who don`t know you know who you are. The only question is: Is it really necessary? Do strangers really need to know all these things about you? For some people it can be important, for some others completely useless, it is a matter of choice for everybody.
As in everything we do or happens, there is a good and a bad side in social media life as well. What is undoubtable is that it takes a lot of our time and we have to decide for ourselves what is more important to us in life. It takes a lot of discipline to be able to use social media with moderation and not let us be affected by what happens in this virtual space.
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