Is Social Media Taking Over Your Life?

by - Monday, July 22, 2019

When I was young, people were obsessed with chinito and chinita girls. It was the Meteor Garden era so what could you expect? I have small chinky eyes but I was not fair enough to pass most people’s standard of what is beautiful. I remember wishing to look like someone else except myself. I was stick thin, I did not like my collar bones and thigh gap (funny, who would’ve thought?) “Oh, she has nice, shiny thin hair! I hate my thick unruly hair!
But I never hate a girl for being incredibly beautiful if any, I have always loved befriending and being surrounded by them, I have many girl crushes you know. And lucky for me, a long the way I met people who showed me the good things I didn’t know I have in me. You see, I love school. I am creative (people call it ‘artistic’) and I love learning. I did good at school. Finally, I told myself, “Yes, I’m not beautiful but maybe... mentally, I am. My mind is.
I learned to focus on what I have rather than dread on what I don’t have. I just woke up one day and I no longer compare myself to the ‘crushes ng bayan’ in the school. I no longer see the need to pass people’s standards of what is beautiful because hey, it is very subjective after all. Everyday I worked on myself and as I did, the more I accepted and love myself. Happy ending? Not yet. I thought I’m completely over with this phase. The phase where I unnecessarily compare myself to somebody else.
Few days ago, I stumbled upon a story on Instagram where a celebrity talked with a psychologist about the detrimental effects of social media. And there was this one example that hit volume, people these days would be thinking like “I’m the same age as (another person) but I have never been to/experienced/eaten/bought/and the list goes on” which then leads to self-doubt. This doubts then make people ask themselves: “What is wrong with me?
Shit, so I was not alone after all?”, told myself. I remember when I was in uni, roughly 21 years old, I saw a successful online retailer. She sells beautiful shoes, really beautiful shoes. She designed them and have them produced in very limited quantities. Celebrities were wearing them.

And she made it you know? She hit the headlines, celebrities would be mentioning her brand on TV. She was successful, at least by my standards. And here’s the thing: she was only a 21-year old, Law student. Same age and we were both students. I was like “Buti pa s’ya. How about me? What the fuck am I doing with my life? Eto palamon pa rin ng magulang

And then there was this girl who seem to live in a palace-like house in Manila, people would be commenting to their  enormous stairs like “is this your house or a hotel?” Nope, it’s just their house Brenda. Girl is goddamn rich, forums and gossip sites claim that whenever their family go shopping abroad, certain stores would be closed for their convenience/privacy. I have no way to confirm this but the fact that I can see how easy it was for her to fly and move from one home to another (we’re talking about Bel Air, California; Manila, London houses, etc) is already very telling. Girl be so wasted, smashing her iPhones during parties and get replacements the very next day like it's nothing.

All of these got me feeling hopeless. It’s beyond me why some people have everything handed to them (success/career or riches/comfortable life) while other people are juggling that 9-5 job, struggling abroad away from their loved ones, worse, people are starving and dying because of poverty. Example #2 was the last straw. I found it so unfair yet I could not do anything about it. It was paralyzing. I think I unfollowed and took a breather from social media for a while to realign myself.
I am more of a take an action now, feel the emotions later type of person. Example #1 was different because I can take action. She became an inspiration hence the birth of my then online store. I ran a small online store while in uni. It was fun! Not only because I had extra money on the side but also because it gave me a sense of purpose, a responsibility, a challenge. I only had to close it down because I was graduating and moving to Japan.

Overall, I’m still partial to the idea of how to properly use social media. Connecting to families and friends overseas is already a given. If you’re an overseas worker or an immigrant chances are you’d be using it a lot. One may opt to deactivate his page and just keep the messaging app going for good measure. I do this once in a while particularly when I need to focus (preparing for an exam) or when I just want to take a breather.

But the trickier part is when social media/online world have become your second home. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat with my family without the mobile gadgets lying around sure, but for some people social media is life, it’s a job, it’s an inspiration, it’s a tool, it can even be an escape, it’s everything.

At the end of the day, I think it’s important to evaluate the kind of people you choose to follow. They can make or break you, they can inspire you or trigger something negative in you. Feed your body the proper nutrients and your body will thank you. Same goes with your mind so choose what you feed your mind wisely.

˚✧₊⁎ What About You? ⁎⁺˳✧༚
What do you do to stop social media from taking over your life?

Edited 23rd of July: I also forgot to add how important it is to reframe your perspective. Granted, you are the same age as this person, you could even say you work harder than this person, but always remember that when you compare your progress to another person’s progress then you are not giving yourself a FAIR CHANCE.

Remember that this person did not live the exact same life as you did. “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about” cliché but true. Instead, compare your present self to your PAST self: how much you’ve improved, the things you’ve learned throughout those years, how far you’ve come and how much more you can do and learn along the way. If one day you conclude that you “haven’t made it, I’m a failure” ask yourself, is that conclusion based on your personal goals alone or a standard based on other people’s progress and opinion?

(Photos from my December 25th 2018 trip to Hyogo)

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