Sometimes I am easily fooled into thinking that modern living is all about appearances. We tend to see life through the lenses of multiple social media platforms. And social media is often blamed for so many of our modern social ills.
Eating disorders, self-harming, social anxiety, or exclusion and many other topics. At one time or other in recent history all of these things have been blamed on social media.
Sure, I agree that todays social media has a global influence in society at every level. To place the blame exclusively at its feet though is an oversimplification.
You see for some, social media has given a voice. Allowing people to see beyond walls. Technology makes the inaccessible, accessible to isolated people. Paradoxically social media can also isolates the people with the same vulnerabilities.
Not a new problem
Equally, every generation has their own social media. Even the Roman’s had it. From guys boasting about how many sexual conquests they had, to rhymes of undying love.
Messages between brothers posted on a friends walls. I mean literally writing on their friends wall, because, I’m talking about graffiti.
Like social media, Roman graffiti influenced the everyday lives of people all over the empire.
Without oversimplifying or trivialising or over stating the effects of social media, we can retake control of how we use it. Some of my clients have experienced the detrimental effects of social media. Negative body images, not being socially acceptable, looking at themselves through the lens’ of others peoples pages and posts.
They were living the life other people dictated for them. Now they have regained control of the way they use social media. Power and strength has returned to their hands.
Without this regaining of power and strength, like the beautiful photo of stones, my life can come crashing down. If my self belief and vision are negative and are found outside of myself, I am vulnerable. Vulnerable to negative posts, not enough likes, or shares. Like the stack of stones, my life is lived at the mercy of external factors.
Living with this constant stress often results in generalised anxiety, and panic attacks. Over time, it leads to depression and sometimes complete social reclusion.
Although labels like these maybe helpful, it is important to remember that they do not express the totally of anyone.
It needn’t be like this. With help, and guidance, people can strengthen existing and create new resources. Planting firm foundations within themselves.
Learning the source of anxiety, means we can be free from the strangers appraisal. We can be at peace and live again.
There are multiple reasons why this is important, one stands out above the rest. If I am so taken up with living my life through the media lens of other people, who is actually living, me? I want to help people live their life, not someone else’s version of their life.
Never stop being you.