So I’ve been feeling iffy about social media lately. I try not to be glued to my phone, but like everyone who’s got the Facebook and Instagram Apps, I find myself scrolling through my feeds many times a day. This summer, I realized that I was feeling crappy every time I looked at these feeds. All these edited photos of perfect-looking people on perfect vacations eating perfectly healthy meals after a perfect workout – they were getting to me.
These updates were actually making me feel bad about my own life. I’d be having a relaxing evening in only to turn on my phone and see a photo of someone who’d just worked out at the gym for two hours and still looked cuter than me – #workout #nopainnogain #youjustmademefeelterrible. I wasn’t even following celebrity accounts, these were real-life people from my social circle.
This whole experience has taught me a few things about how to be happy on Facebook. Here’s what I want to share with you.
1. Remember: Facebook life isn’t real life!
Remember that what you see on social media is nowhere near the whole story. The vast majority of us are only posting those moments from the day that we feel the most proud of, the most excited about – those moments we are most willing to share. No one’s life is perfect, so know that you are never the only one having a bad day.
2. Unfollow. And Unfollow some more!
From the bottom of my heart, I recommended that you go through your feeds and unfollow the people whose posts don’t bring you joy.
When I realized my feeds were affecting my self-image, I was affronted. Something that I was carrying around in my pocket every day was killing my mood. I knew I had to make a change but I wasn’t up for deleting my accounts. So I unfollowed anyone from Facebook and Instagram whose content made me unhappy.
It didn’t mean I hated the person or wished bad things upon them – it was just me realizing that their updates were making me feel bad. It’s such a simple idea and yet most of us don’t think to do it. We spend our time scrolling through irksome posts without realizing we have the power to make those posts go away instantly. Unfollowing totally worked and now I hate Facebook less. Yes!
Did you know you can unfollow anyone on Facebook without deleting them? Just click the arrow at the top right of their post (next to their name) and hit “Unfollow”. That person will no longer appear in your feed but you can still find their wall and stay in touch with them when you feel like it. And no one will know if you unfollow them on Instagram – unless they go through all their followers and notice that your name is missing, but who does that?
3. Be mindful of your posts.
I’ll admit, I’m totally guilty of falling into this culture. Guilty of precisely planning Instagram photos to make my dinner look better than it is, of only posting my good moments on Facebook and not the bad ones. And when I saw my blog going this way, I was dispirited. These carefully-crafted personas only tell a fraction of the story – only show a fraction of what makes a person who they are.
And I think they are part of a bigger societal problem that is very damaging. I hate the fact that one of my “I just did yoga posts” might make even one single person feel bad about themselves for staying on the couch that day. I’m not even very good at yoga. And I stay on the couch all the time. So I’m vowing to be more transparent on this blog from now on!
Let me know, do your social media feeds get to you, or is it just me?