I think we all have a love hate relationship with social media. It does a great job at showcasing the better side of our selves and our lives. It is disturbingly painful when it comes to making us actually feel better about ourselves. Social media can make you feel like the world’s biggest loser in one single swipe, scroll or screen shot. It plays a huge role in how we perceive our bodies and even how we decide to handle our relationship with food. It is sucky in that way. Still, it is not something many of us want to give up. Do we even have to? Instead of just deleting all accounts, throwing your hands up in the air and claiming a big fat “L” on your forehead for feeling like you just don’t fit in, let social media be a means of keeping you in tune with who you are and what you value. Allow the negative aspect of it to actually empower your vision for your own life. It is possible!
For me, I have had to really take an inventory of who I follow, what pictures I “like” and even the message that I want to be sending on my own social platforms. I thought being in the health industry would be nothing but positive happiness everyday. Let me tell ya, all that “body positivity,” “self-care” and ” mindful eating” can get on your nerves. Sometimes, you just want a doughnut and to tell yourself you suck. LOL. Despite those moments of rebellion, the main thing that has struck a cord with me is how places like my Instagram will only show me people in the fitness industry, on diets or pictures of food. It is very good at putting you into a little box based off your feed and your followers. There was a point where I dreaded even searching for certain hashtags for fear of looking at my original search feed. Was I going to see some uber-buff mama lifting her six month-old into the air while in mountain pose? Would a video of a fitness expert doing cross-fit moves totally maul my self esteem for the day? Then of course, there was the fear of finding images of beautifully crafted smoothies drenched in lush tropical flowers and dripping almond butter adoring the sides. Those could be huge triggers of self defeat for me. I have no money to afford photo shop nor the time to prep and photograph all that with three small pre-schoolers under my 24/7 care.
It has happened more than once where a client of mine expresses her frustration with certain people she follows. Mom’s who have time to work out six days a week and post about it sixty seven times a week. Women who can afford a new outfit everyday and don’t skip a beat posting themselves looking super cute with that perfectly planted Starbucks coffee in hand. Tropical pictures of far away places with thin, beautiful girls in designer bikinis claiming to just be so “zen” all the time. These are just some of the images we see that can make us or break us. Feeling like your life is pathetic sucks. Not doing anything to create a safe and compassionate place for yourself in the world of social media sucks even more. I decided long ago to take control over who I chose to follow and who I chose to interact with on social media. I deleted anyone that made me feel less than worthy in any way, be it intentional or not. I took down any personal posts that made me feel like I was “showcasing” a perfect life. I started to tune into keeping my posts uplifting and still be able to share bits of my world in what I have hoped is a non-threatening or devaluing way. I also stopped giving my money to magazines that I felt de-valued women and placed looks and scandals as their top reporting priority.
Engaging in a social media cleanse feels awesome! It is such an empowering step towards making the rules for your own life, setting boundaries and stating clearly to your inner-self that you will not tolerate any influence that brings you down. Who you chose to be involved with on social media is not a reflection of that person but of what your needs and values are.
There is nothing wrong with being an amazing yoga teacher and posting you doing some seriously cool poses. There is nothing wrong with you traveling to Thai Land and sharing parts of your journey. There is nothing wrong with you posting your latest achievement in any way. That is what social media is for! We all have the right to share our journey. We also all have the right to chose how we will allow other’s journeys to shape us.