Thoughts on Social Media
As you guys have probably realized I spend a lot of time on social media, it’s a huge part of my job. I really enjoy parts of it; I take a lot of inspiration from the people that I follow and I love seeing your foodie creations, it makes me so happy to see people enjoying my recipes at home. There are, however, some real negatives that come with it and I wanted to talk a little bit about them today because I think they’re really important to highlight so you don’t feel alone in them.
The most important thing that I want to say is that social media is not a full portrait of something or someone. I often scroll through my feed and think things like ‘wow that persons life seems so amazing’ or ‘ah I wish I could do that’, and when I’m feeling low that’s not a good thing. Social media creates a world of constant comparisons, we’re no longer just comparing ourselves with our friends and the people around us but we’re now comparing ourselves with hundreds or even thousands of total strangers – some of whom make a career out of the things we can be jealous of, whether that’s a dream job, a super models abs or a yoga teachers handstands. We can get insecure and feel inadequate over what we’re seeing but we’re not seeing the whole picture. I can absolutely guarantee that whoever you’re looking at has all kinds of insecurities and hang ups too. Social media only offers us a snapshot into someone’s life and there will be so many things that they’re not saying.
That’s not to say it’s an inauthentic tool, I don’t think it is, it’s just that we only really post the most exciting parts of our lives – it’s an edited reality. We don’t tend to post photos of ourselves crying, stressing, dealing with anxiety or anything else but that doesn’t meant that we don’t all do it! My accounts are pretty popular and I’m sure there are people that have thought that by looking at them, but I promise behind the happy photos there are lots of insecurities and hang ups, there are big personal issues, struggles with health things, stresses over running a business and becoming a public figure that people can openly pull apart. I cry, I stress, I panic and all the rest of it – in no shape or form am I perfect and my instagram life is not my whole life. I don’t post photos of me crying over something as I like to deal with the issues privately and lots of them are personal so they’re not appropriate to share with the world but I promise they’re there! You’re not alone in feeling rubbish sometimes, and I know as well as the next person how much social media can emphasize those feelings.
When I was really ill a few years ago I had to ban myself from going on facebook, as I was spending the majority of my time alone in bed unable to do much else. I shut myself away from the world and really struggled with loneliness and depression, and going on facebook made this so much worse. Looking at photos of my friends having fun together while I was on my own feeling deeply insecure only made me more unhappy. I remember speaking to friends about the photos and so often they’d say ‘oh that night was awful’ and then tell me a negative story about it, but that’s not what you see in the picture at all.
So please remember that social media is great for inspiration but never feel inadequate as you scroll through the various channels and accounts because the person that posted the photo probably feels exactly the same. They may not be dealing with the same problems but everyone’s always dealing with some stresses and emotional issues. You’re not alone in feeling this way too, we’ve all doubted ourselves and felt alone and pretty rubbish after looking at someone elses photos. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use social media again, as I said I think it can be great, it’s full of inspiration but just take it all as inspiration rather than reality because it’s not the whole picture. And if something is making you feel unhappy then just stop following it, sometimes we need to do that so that we stop comparing ourselves to something that we’re not.
It’s also important to remember that social media can be a place for people to tear each other apart and you don’t have to listen to that. I’m constantly blown away by the negativity I read both on my pages and other peoples pages, it’s pretty crazy. I can’t even begin to image writing things like ‘you make me skin crawl’ on someones photo, it’s mad but people write that kind of thing every day. I’m learning to ignore these kinds of comments but they do make me realise how much we need to change our perspective to stop focusing on judgemental negatives. We need to use social media as a place of support and encouragement, it’s not an anonymous place to bully people or draw unhappy comparisons but a place to make people feel happier and sparklier. That way it can become a wonderful tool to share and celebrate and we can all go through our days with a little extra happiness rather than a little more self-doubt!