Once upon a time, social media was filled with normal things such as funny cat photos, babies laughing and mouthwatering food pics.
We grew weary and sometimes even bored with everyday postings, and yet we still clocked hours of screen time, scrolling away staring at the captured moments of others’ lives. Now, we still spend excess amounts of time checking in; however it has become an entirely new phenomenon, one that is threatening our mental health and is doing a really good job of it every day.
If you stop and ask yourself, “Does a social medium make you happy?” What would you say? Would you gush about all the positive and wonderful things you are exposing yourself to daily, or would you rant and rave about someone else’s political views or belief systems?
I’ll be the first person to admit that I have had to step away or even block individuals at times due to the intensity of the feelings I was experiencing. It’s super easy to sit behind a screen and verbally attack others, pushing buttons that incite feelings such as anger, frustration, disbelief and even heartbreak.
And now, more than ever, we are exposing ourselves to continued attacks on our emotional heart, which can lead to increased amounts of depression, stress and anxiety. In a nutshell, we are willingly crushing our own spirits by allowing social media to dictate our lives and feelings.
So, it begs the question, why do we allow it? Why are we so quick to jump on a bandwagon or invite daily chaos into our positivity bubble?
Recent trends show that people are becoming more susceptible to outside influences, and thus, the negativity and the chaos is interrupting healthy living, causing barriers and dissention amongst family, friends and even complete strangers.
My challenge to us all is to go back to the way things were, but not without growth. We can still address important issues and use our voice to promote positive change. Additionally, we can use social media to stay in touch with others, something that has become extremely important during COVID-19 as more and more people are becoming separated from their loved ones due to this nondiscriminatory virus. Remember, it doesn’t pick and choose who it wants or when it wants them, it just arrives without abandon and leaves destruction in its wake. Every day we hear of more deaths and, with them, more grief and loss from those who are left behind.
I am encouraged by those who reach out during their time of bereavement and share their experiences. They warn of complacency and strongly suggest that we love harder and make time to let those we care about know how much we love them.
Because the virus has directly impacted them, they can speak to the truth of knowing just how painful it is to watch a loved one die, albeit through a glass window or through a video screen held by staff. The separation angst is real, and it is a precursor of things to come - guilt and anger felt especially due to unforeseen factors that are out of our control.
This morning, as you read this, I wish for us all to make a more intentional effort to use our platform to positively influence those around us. I certainly don’t mind seeing pictures of steaks on the grill or hear the voice of a new vocal phenom. These things make me happy, and I certainly prefer feeling good over the alternative.
Know your limits and set boundaries for yourself. If you need to, take a break from social media. As we know, life is too short to spend it consumed by things that do not provide growth and peace of mind.
Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at email@example.com.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!