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Is social media consuming you in every way? Here’s how you can keep your head above the water and get the best of both the worlds.
I’ve been reading a lot- online and offline- in the last couple of months that has led to a fragmented but better understanding of the whole complex algorithm that is social media interaction. Remember my post, ‘The Myth about being connected?’ That actually came after a rather overwhelming month of blogging every single day in April, because of the A-Z Challenge.
Soon after that month, I slowed down from the frenzy of daily blogging and daily interactions, retweets, shares, comments and ‘likes’ to take a break from my blogs. I went away on vacation for two weeks and even deactivated my Facebook account for about three days.
Check it out!
Yet, when I came back from my travels, I noticed something interesting. I wanted to write again, blog again, feel the rush of words surging through the nerves in my finger tips and fly over the keyboard, saying what needs to be said. Mind you, this may be the fallout of a very relaxed, minimally- connected vacation, of course. But, whereas blogging challenges are all about how many connections (emotional/ intellectual) you can make and keep through your words, blogging or writing, by itself, is not. Let me explain.
The day after I came back , I chanced upon this piece by Silverleaf, who is a writer I admire. If you read it, it captures what I am talking about, where we write, liberated from our expectations- not just from the world of social media, but from ourselves.
I also came across this other article on my timeline that said we ought not to share our vacation experiences with our friends, because it just makes them feel worse that they haven’t taken one. Now that made me pause. So, I am not supposed to share pictures/ say that I enjoyed myself with the people on my friend list? Why exactly?
The article has some points that I disagree with, so let me put those down here. It all depends on the frame of mind that you/ your friends occupy. Have you ever noticed how happy you are for another person? Have you, more importantly, wondered why you are happy for them? It’s because you have no expectations of them. You realise that people are happy, that they want to share their joy and that you are genuinely pleased.
But, and it’s a big BUT, what of the times when you feel jealous or downright sad at someone else’s success/ joy? Yes, it happens and don’t you deny it. We’re human, after all. This actually warrants a look at ourselves. There is a high probability that there are a set of circumstances in our lives at a particular point that makes us vulnerable. While we are in that space, we cannot wholeheartedly feel happy when someone publishes a book while we struggle to put words together. We can’t jump for joy at the sight of a sunrise when we are stuck in a place lashed by torrential rains, day in and day out. We may mouth ‘Congratulations’ to someone who bags a new project while seething within about the fact that we can’t even leave the four walls of our homes.
And guess what, that’s okay too. This feeling of jealousy, the inadequacy, the anger, the bitterness. They are all part of being and existing. Where it gets dangerous is when you feel these emotions dominate your life. That’s where social media comes in.
Photo by Shailaja V.
At the core, I am two people: I am like the cautious swimmer who tests the waters by dipping her toe into the shallow end of the pool on some days. Other days I jump right in, raring to go and waiting for the cold splash to hit me in the face.
Social media thrives on the principle of sharing. It is the crux of the word ‘social’. People share their ideas, thoughts, pictures, concepts, experiences day in and day out, sometimes as part of their jobs and other times as part of their daily lives. In fact, if you notice, you don’t feel jealous about travel writers, because you know it’s part of their job description.
We cannot really stop it and we shouldn’t. So what can we do?
We watch out for the triggers. If you notice that status after status about travel updates and pictures of sunrises are making your blood boil, turn off social media. Pick up a book, listen to some music and just move away from the trigger. Don’t let yourself be sucked into the whirlpool of negative emotions. Stay on the shore and watch the waves dash against the rocks. Just make sure you are far enough away not to feel the impact.
A big part of personal growth comes from the ability to watch a negative emotion, dispassionately, without being overwhelmed by it. I’m not exactly there yet, but I am working towards it, every single day.
Because, at the end of the day, no matter how social we are in the world of social interactions, we are all intensely private individuals. That’s the way it is and there’s something beautiful about it too.
It’s a tricky thing to navigate the sea of blogging, writing, interactions and social growth without feeling the pinch. I notice that there are periods when I can blog daily, write every single day without feeling the stress or the pressure. I know that’s when I am writing for myself, ripping the words from my soul and putting it out there for it to be seen/ gather dust. I know there are posts that people will skip reading. That’s just fine too.
This article was first published here.
Header image courtesy Shutterstock.
An editor by profession and a blogger by passion. Working from home gives me the
This is very well written… I completely agree with you when you say envy and jealousy are bound to come up. As long as these are momentary and do not fester anything in us, we are good… no?
Beautifully said. Yes, as long as we allow ourselves to watch the emotion dispassionately without getting affected, we can feel anything we want to. The trick is to not get overwhelmed by it 🙂
Thank you for reading!
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