Despising Social Media by Jen Kraft
Blog written by Jen Kraft, Co-Owner & Yoga Instructor at The Body Image Boutique
I despise social media.
Last week, we had a blizzard and I was home with my family on a snow day. We had what I thought to be a great day. My kids had friends to play with, I was warm and cozy in the house and got to both relax with my family and get stuff done around the house…the perfect combo. Later that night, I got into bed and opened Facebook on my phone (yes, I know that I should never bring the phone to bed, but I do it anyway!).
Right there in my feed was a beautiful picture of three of my friends with their families, all bundled up in the snow with rosy cheeks and huge smiles. There was no caption, but the picture said it all. I concluded that theirs had been the best snow day ever and was bummed that I had not been a part of it.
I started to visualize their day, filled with laughter and sledding and some hang time later on by the fire with hot chocolate. I pictured them playing Monopoly and charades and having good old fashioned fun. My heart sank. Here, I thought I my day was great, but after seeing the picture my perspective changed and it didn’t seem so great after all. My mind started to race with a serious case of F.O.MO. (Fear of Missing out). “Why weren’t we invited?” and I began to analyze my last interactions with my friends and what I could have possibly done to piss them off. I dozed off to a fitful sleep.
When I woke up the next morning, I was reminded of the insecurity and paranoia from the night before. But the new day and a hot cup of coffee helped me to shift perspective. Just as I so often teach in my yoga classes, I took a deep breath and resolved to “let it go.”
It’s hard not to take things personally and compare lives when they appear in your Facebook feed, Instagram, snapchat, etc. Sure, I had let that one go (sort of) but inevitably the next time I go onto my Facebook page or Instagram there will be posts about something else…a group of friends having a blast at someone’s birthday dinner, a picture of someone’s most fabulous vacation, or another yoga studio with an overflow of students enjoying the best class ever.
You may say that if Facebook makes me so miserable, I should just get off it. However, as a mom and a business owner, I’m not sure that abstaining from social media is realistic or advisable. Still, if it’s that difficult for me, a 46 year old woman, to stay centered when using it, how are my kids possibly supposed to manage it?
As I do so often now, I come back to the advice of Juan Miguel Ruiz in his book, The Four Agreements: A Guide to Daily Living”. (If you haven’t read it, stop reading this right now and read that!) His second Agreement is “Don’t take anything personally” and his third is “Don’t make assumptions”. He says, “All of the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.”
Sure enough, the picture of my friends had caused me to waste valuable time making assumptions about their day and obsessing about being left out. In reality, the snapshot I saw online was exactly that…a snapshot in time. All I knew for certain is that I knew nothing of the circumstances, and that whatever they were had absolutely, positively nothing to do with me.
So, while I may despise social media, I need to accept that it’s here to stay. My task is to figure out a way to keep myself, and most importantly, my kids sane while navigating this unchartered territory. If I can successfully draw boundaries and not overuse the medium, and if I can stop making everything about me, then I can use social media in a productive way. When used responsibly, social media can actually be a very valuable way to communicate, exchange ideas and information, & raise money for great causes.
And then maybe, just maybe, I’ll despise social medial a little less.
So what do YOU think? Please email me at jen@thebodyimageboutique with any of your thoughts or advice!