How Social Media Made Me Unhappy & How I’m Taking Back Control

8th floor view from the balcony of my office building. Source: instagram @ yiminggg

 

When I moved to London for work, I assumed that everything would fall into place. After all, in one of the largest cities in the world, one would think that it would be rife with opportunities. Also, maybe, just maybe, I could be one of those people living a classic #blessed life like the ones you see plastered all over social media.

Over the last 6 months, I’ve found that the transition from being a carefree student supported by my family to a fresh graduate making a basic salary, has not been an easy one. It certainly doesn’t help that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world! I have all of these new things like pensionstaxes and insurance to worry about and it is definitely not easy on the pocket. Plus the fact that I’m paying my own way through a year-long business course — that, fingers-crossed, will give me that edge I so desperately need in this competitive world — definitely does not help my finances whatsoever.

Don’t get me wrong, I count myself extremely lucky to even be in the position that I am in. Not many people get to have the opportunities I’ve had in life thus far. I’ve been lucky enough to experience life abroad in two different countries. I’m in love with my company’s vision and am FINALLY getting the opportunity to head my own project there. I’m independent and no longer have to rely on my parents for financial support. I have a family who try their utmost to be there for me whenever they can. I have a strong support system in my partner who has been nothing short of amazing over our last year together and does all he can to keep me happy.

All of that, should make me the perfect candidate for a #blessed life, right?

Wrong.

One thing I’ve realised about the human condition is that we’re never really satisfied.

Social media has warped our perceptions about what it means to be truly blessed and content. What we tend to forget is the fact that everything online is constructed to portray a life that is seemingly perfect.

On days when I am under the weather, when I’m worrying about material things like money or the fact that my time in London so far has been my loneliest, a part of me wonders if I am the only one feeling this way. A part of me resented the fact that everyone else lead a “perfect” life. It infuriated me. It made me feel minuscule; isolated in the midst of this concrete jungle. It made me think that something was wrong with me because of how unhappy I was in comparison to everyone else. It made me bitterly competitive. It made me doubt every aspect of myself and all of my qualities.

It turned me into someone I no longer recognised.

Because of this, I’ve had to learn to wean myself off social media just to avoid feeling so negatively about others and more importantly, myself. Initially, I had planned to completely deactivate my Facebook, but after many back-and-forth discussions with my partner, decided it would be enough to just use it less frequently.

Our generation has become so reliant on the power of social media. It is shocking how readily we accepted it as part of the core of our relationships and assimilated ourselves to the very idea that we could not have lived without it once upon a time. We’ve become a generation so fixated on the concept of having our lives, thoughts, ideas and dreams validated by others on the Internet. We’re so drawn into trying to gain the most likes, comments and shares that we forget who we really are.

At the end of the day, people need to be reminded that true affirmation comes not from external measurements, but from within.

Admittedly, social media isn’t all that evil. Ironically enough, despite significantly decreasing use of my personal social media channels, I still find it creeping into my professional life. As a marketing tool, I find it absolutely brilliant and it satisfies my human need for validation, but does so in a more productive manner.

I may not be #blessed and my life may not look like a beautifully composed shot on Instagram for now, but I am learning how to be content. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s all that should really matter.

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One thought on “How Social Media Made Me Unhappy & How I’m Taking Back Control

  1. i quit facebook and instagram and twitter because it was quite pointless for me to hold on to essentially redundant spaces. not having a conventional desk/office job helped a lot— there’s no pressure to “be easily found/contactable.” to be honest, i have never been happier since the axe and if i can help it at all costs, i plan to never go back.

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