It all started at college orientation. We newbies were sitting in the media lab going over new student information, when our guide mentioned something off course. He pulls up a website called Facebook. He says, “You have to register for this! It’s new and just for college students, so you can connect with others across America.”
As you know, Facebook and other social media websites have since blown up across the world. Now, all ages and countries are able to login, and you can gain access with just the tap of an app. People start noticing you out-and-about as a “friend of a friend” on their Facebook page, and you know things about others you would not know otherwise without it. Social media is somewhat of a phenomenon, and could be a dangerous one if not used correctly.
I suffer from anxiety that seemingly became worse after having children. I have always been the girl who feels uncomfortable in a room full of people, I have never liked too much attention, and I have this desire to be liked by anyone and everyone. Facebook has exacerbated this social anxiety to an entirely new level, and I am almost certain many of you will be able to relate.
First. . .
I love seeing my friends’ Facebook posts, truly. I smile when I see pictures of their children, their recent vacations, or even what they cooked for dinner that night. But, I do make assumptions – we all do. Wow, they really seem to have their life together. I wish I could be that amazing of a mother. Their marriage seems picture perfect. I wish I could look as beautiful as she does.
Facebook has become a game of comparison — a way of constantly trying to measure up to others. What we must remember is Facebook is a glimpse into someone’s life, but it is not their life. The couple who looks happy on the surface may be experiencing real turmoil in their relationship. The people who seem to have it all going for them may really be unraveling at the seams. Unless we are a close friend or relative, we, as Facebook users, really have no idea what people are going through by simply seeing a post. Because of this, it is so imperative not to judge others. Not by a Facebook post.
Second. . .
“You like me! You really like me!” I feel silly even admitting this, but that is how I feel when I scroll through the likes and comments on my Facebook pictures and updates. On the flip side, I have actually convinced myself that someone, in fact, might not like me at all if they do not comment or “like” the things that I post. Have any of you ever felt this way? While I know it is completely absurd, I have, at times, defined my self worth by how people engage with me on social media. Then, I remember what life was like before I got Facebook…when I judged my relationships with others on actual real interactions with them.
It’s hard to remember sometimes that Facebook is not the real world. We don’t really know someone from a vague post on their social media account. People don’t hate you because they don’t constantly comment on your pictures. Life is not a continuous vacation in the tropics. A perfect mother does not exist. Nobody’s life is seamless. There is nobody that you need to measure up to. You are not defined by any number of “friends” or “followers”. Put down your phone and know that you are enough.