Social Media: The Escape From Reality

“The black hole” is what we call it at work. That moment you go on the internet to find a video, or an article, just one, harmless enough, and then you look up and an hour has flown by. You wonder “where did the time go, I just went on to this site to look at one thing?!” The black hole can be entertaining, comforting, and very dangerous. For me, the biggest myth of the black hole is that it’s adding meaning to my life, that it’s in some way adding value. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining as heck but sometimes (read: most times) it’s just down right depressing. Not depressing because what I see is sad or lack-luster but because I fall victim to the disease that so many other do: Comparison.

I compare my life to others and all of a sudden this day time hobby turns into a pity party for poor ‘ol Rebecca. The reality is that my life is wonderful and had far exceeded my expectations for where I’d be at this age but the devil of comparison knocks at the door and I let him in. Not only do I let him in, but I bake him cookies.

For the last few months I’ve been stepping away from social media and phew is it freeing. Every other day my “friends” would be posting about their engagements, and babies, and extravagant trips they were taking. I was exhausted just trying to keep but when you add feeling sorry for myself in the mix, it was a full time job. So I stopped, I got off and only got on if I knew someone put up a post I wanted to see. For instance, my little brother posted photos from a trip that I wanted to take a look at. I had him text me when they were up and I jumped back on.

Let me interject a little story: I had a friend who was madly and deeply in love with her boyfriend. She would post pictures every other day of them together and all the activities they did. One day, the posts stopped. She didn’t post anything bashing him, the “good” posts just ended. I asked her what happened I said “I thought you two were so happy,” to which she replied “you can’t always believe what you see.” Behind her posts was a world of hurt and the way she dealt with it is by wearing a mask on social media, pretending that everything was OK to save face to a bunch of people she didn’t even know. It was that moment that I realized posting happy times isn’t bad if they are actually happy and you truly want to spread that joy with the world, but posting to cover up something is dangerous, not to everyone else, but to yourself. We’ve all done it, trying to boost the ego with “likes” and re tweets. There’s nothing wrong with that, do you, but for me, I want to live my life honest with myself.

Comparison can be good when it acts as motivation but what I had drifted to was so far from motivation, and just straight depression. Why as a society must we base our value off of what others think? Why must I show the world how good my life is to think or know it’s good. The real issue is with me, I know this, not those who post.

The take away for me is this: I can be happy for others and share in their joy but I must not compare. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches I encourage you (and myself) to not compare your journey to someone else’s; no one knows what goes on behind closed doors, behind the 2 dozen roses. If you don’t have a Valentine make yourself your Valentine and remember, it’s never too late to be happy, but it’s all up to you and no one else.

*Steps off soapbox*

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