Normally I am a fairly active user of social media. I use Twitter and Instagram a lot, I write posts on LinkedIn, I dip in and out of using Facebook. But when I feel a bit low, or when I get a little ‘wound up’ by it I step back.
I don’t delete my accounts or remove the apps from my phone, I just open the apps less and post less.
The main reason for this is when I am feeling low, or being particularly hard on myself, seeing other peoples posts can have a negative effect on my frame of mind.
Some posts make me happy, seeing friends living their lives, seeing peoples successes, catching up on family and generally checking in on people. At the moment I am being particularly lifted and inspired by a friends toddler (for many many reasons, and I have told her mum this fact).
The flip side of this is the ‘other’ posts. For me these are political, ranty, focussed posts, But also false posts, and no I am not talking influencers here, I am talking everyday people, including friends, posting a better/upgraded version of their lives.
Previously I have written a post Is online you true to you? in which I kind of explore this. In that post I said that I am particularly honest and true to myself in my online self. But not everyone is.
This post is to talk about the effects that can have on others, when you are posting a better version of your life. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you what or when you should post things, or how to present yourself. The great thing about the internet is that we are free (within reason) to be whoever or represent ourselves however we wish to.
I find recently that I skip a lot of posts. The mute button on Tweetbot is getting a lot of use, I am removing people from my Instagram stories.
When I am in a good headspace I like seeing these peoples posts, the nights out, the meals, the nice cars, the clubs etc etc. But when I am in a bad headspace I find it difficult to see. When I know I am in a bad place looking at these posts not only shows me where I am not living to my potential, but it also casts the shadow of a ‘norm’ that I am not a part of.
So, I know that this is all in my head, I get that. But the problem is our minds are powerful. They control us and our actions. There are steps that I take to address this, tools I have in my kit to recentre and normalise my life.
To some extent I can control how I react. The lesson I learned recently is that I can, and indeed should, also control how much of this I am actually exposed to. I can block, mute, unfriend and unfollow. I can stop logging in and seeing things as often.
I am in control of my own headspace, within reason. The niggly thoughts and shared posts that I see are still there, but I have reclaimed a lot of that power now.
The secondary lesson is that this is not just something that applies to online. It is as important in other ways. I can limit who I speak to on the phone, email, text, whatsapp etc. I can read messages and respond to them, when I am in a good place to be able to.
When arranging to meet people and future planning dates and events, I can take that level of control. I don’t have to say yes, I can say maybe, when is the latest I need to confirm etc,
In the battle that is us against our mind we need to be prepared to take control and own that battle.
My question of you –
What do you have in your tool kit, what mindsets and control do you have to ensure that you are taking control and not being influenced by factors that should not be controlling you?
Afraid I’m guilty of only posting the good things that happen to me. But I’m not trying to suggest that only good things happen! I just assume no-one wants to know about the anxieties and frustrations!
It’s a hard balance. No easy answer. It’s a spectrum.
For me it is about how we respond and if we take ourselves out of that scenario or are too addicted to it – despite the (potentially) detrimental effects on us