The Social media pressure trap.
This is something I have always thought I am immune to.
Like why would I be pressured by social media? By another person’s success? But I sort of did later. I realized I was really quick to type congratulations and put in the love emoji (like 3 of those) even though I didn’t really feel happy for that person. Not because I desired the person’s failure but there was a way it highlighted my insecurities, made me feel bad and inadequate.
Y’all good people, so you have probably never felt that way (but I know I am not alone).
Okay, so it wasn’t the kind of pressure of seeing my friends are buying the latest cars or driving private jets. It was the pressure of feeling like I wasn’t doing enough… now seeing others do better is supposed to be something motivating but it was rather it produced something different. Comparison can be draining, it just made me lazier and laid back, the more time I spent thinking of why everyone else seemed to be doing more, the more energy draining it got.
I am talking about this because a lot of people have towed the road of this downward spiral and were never able to get back on track. The downward spiral of feeling like everyone was better off, forgetting that often we don’t see the process but everyone goes through the process.
This thinking usually takes the form of the thinking that my peers are doing better. the truth is that in the journey of life there are not mates really, you are your own peer. You aren’t in competition with anyone else.
Social media is part of our human design and that’s why Facebook and other social media platforms are really successful because they appeal to something that is natural to us as humans.
The need to love and to be loved.
It is natural for us to want to be seen and also heard, every one of us even the really introverted people. Just that we desire it in different degrees. It is just natural for us as people to want to connect with other people.
The desire for validation, support and approval is not inherently evil and desiring this doesn’t mean we score zero on the self-worth board. Psychologists would tell you that’s wired into our natural design.
Getting likes on social media releases dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel really good. It’s pleasurable, right? Everyone likes to feel good.
Who hates happiness? Everyone actually wants to feel happy. So our brain registers that as a desirable response to seek again. And boom! We are hooked to social media! (can I add; just like weed, social media may just be your marijuana).
Personally, I started feeling a whole lot of pressure and I felt like I was doing enough or hurrying enough on certain projects or getting enough speaking invitations or monetizing my speaking and writing enough or organizing conferences or how I didn’t have that key person as my mentor or in my network etcetera.
Everything I wanted tost something on Instagram, I started second guessing whether the content was good enough.
The pressure might take a totally different form for you. I have always advocated for social media as a tool for learning, visioning and gaining exposure. However, there is a line when inspiration becomes envy. This is counterproductive.
Social media has a lot of benefits and so the solution isn’t to run away. One of the ways that I dealt with pressure was realising that being on social media isn’t compulsory. It’s not compulsory to visit Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Snapchat every day plus there is also a log out button.
Taking a break from social media is great but what happens after your break? Back to the pressure? It is not necessarily about the actions taken on the outside what happens on your inside, that is in your mind.
How do you position your mind to have the right mindset and perspective about the things that you are seeing?
Understand that people’s lives are not perfect just the same way your isn’t. People aren’t being fake when they post about the good things happening in their lives and they don’t talk about the bad stuff. Would you? Would you post, I am so ‘broke’ right now? Or I am having family issues?
Thinking about it right now, I have never seen hashtag broke, it’s more like hashtag blessed!
We can’t run away from social media we need it, I took a break off social media but I still had to get back because I am working on some projects that require me getting information and building connections on social media.
In fact, the pressure moved right into our backyard, WhatsApp statuses. Awesome addition to WhatsApp yeah? So even if you log out of other social media platforms, you still need to send messages to friends and family and for work yeah which is what we do mostly on Whatsapp.
So what we need to do is learn how to deal with it and not run away from it, just we need to understand that we always have a choice, it’s not compulsory to view everyone’s status.
The other part of this is that we need to learn how to be able to enjoy and experience great moments and achieve amazing things without necessarily sharing it on social media.
Sometimes life becomes about doing so that we can show. It is not about showing but actually doing and often behind the scenes. Whenever we find ourselves doing so that we can show… we need to stop ourselves in the middle of that and change course.
In the next post, I’d be sharing practical ways to deal with social media pressure.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and you found it really helpful! Please, I’d love to know what you think and how you have dealt with social media pressure in the past. Please share with friends that might find this helpful!