“Instagram macht Leben kaputt.” a German statement that translates to Instagram ruins life in English.
It might not be the exact translation or maybe there is no direct translation but that’s what I understood if I will trust my little German knowledge.
(I will wait until the love of my life reads this and correct me. If I will not get any comment from him, it is correct.)
I was so sure that the two kids behind me intended that statement for me to hear while I scroll my feed. I felt it deep in my bones.
I just finished my daily gratitude post and was looking for something that caught my attention but couldn’t scroll fast enough before the feed refreshed so I needed to scroll down in rapid fire speed.
Sure. That looked like I was just wasting my time but two things: I don’t care what they have to say. They don’t know me and the reason why I was doing it and second, I need not justify.
“Instagram macht Leben kaputt.” I agree. It has ruined me and my life at some extent. It’s due to the reality that influencers and celebrities didn’t want to show.
They have to make everything look perfect to make people be ashamed of their imperfections and keep buying products that promise a lot of things but reality has a different version. You see. Business. I get that now more than ever.
However, these days, social media has been helping me heal the wounds from my childhood that I didn’t realize I had or maybe I did only I was so ashamed to talk it about for the fear of rejection, not being enough and loved.
These fears seemed not common in the village where I am from.
I couldn’t afford to be different. I couldn’t afford to be me. I must blend in but also standout and make my own mark but I didn’t know how to do both at the same time without questioning or even losing my sanity.
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Meeting everybody’s expectation gave me so much stress even before I knew what stress meant that I resorted to binge eating and ending up being obese. My emotional sensitivity lead me to always have weight problems.
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Perspective. Mindset. Meaning. Intentional. Mindfulness. Meaning.
It took me three Universities and three different fields of studies but none mentioned anything about perspective, mindset, setting intentions, mindfulness and meaning.
Even my masters didn’t mention any of these. I also didn’t learn how to use all the knowledge I’ve learned in school in all the jobs that I have tried which left me feeling as if I was hanging on a cliff desperate to buy more time before being shoved to the real world and force myself to adult.
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In my younger years, I have surely came across John Roberts Power, school of personal development, in my country but the charges clearly say that it is for people who can afford more.
I didn’t bother. Instead, I continued collecting glossy magazines which made me more confused. Imagine all the advises to love all my flaws and on the other page was a beautiful and photoshopped glory of a Calvin Klein model.
When social media became the next hottest thing and there are millions of girls who show their bodies online, I thought it was okay to do it too. I used to be that almost naked girl on social media to my conservative Filipino father’s rage. He would send me messages to take them down.
I took selfies after selfies as if it was my day job although deep inside, I was just looking for validation and admiration for shedding a lot of unwanted weight.
I thought success was based on perfectly filtered Instagram photos.
My social media addiction was also one of the reasons why I felt miserable with my own life which lead me to questioning so many things which lead me to quitting my job and attempts to finding deeper meaning.
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These days, a lot of people swore by including social media in their detox and are raving about the benefits of removing it from their lives. I can’t agree more. For quite some time, I deactivated mine and removed the apps from my smartphone.
It was a part of the darkest period in my life. I was thousands of miles away from home and my friends and my new acquaintances couldn’t get hold of me online.
My failure to understand the phase that I was going through made me feel so alone that I refused to connect with all my friends too for the fear of being more misunderstood and for having to explain over and over. Hence, my social anxiety.
However, since I started my personal development and mindfulness journey, I have been training myself to see all the sides, pros, cons, advantages and disadvantages and added social media as a supplement, an accessory, an avenue and even a medium where I can get real life basis and somehow test the validity or success of my little life experiment because it includes real people and people I know.
I reinstalled and reactivated all my social media accounts with clearer intentions of how I would be using them to aide my personal development journey.
My search for something unknown or even indescribable left me feeling all isolated, misunderstood, unloved and the kind that I think I have outgrown all my friends or that they don’t want to be friends with some kind of weirdo like me.
However, I was sure that my tribe is out there. I just don’t know where and I wasn’t so keen in literally going out of my way to meet and mingle with them.
Having depression is tiring. Having depression and having to earn a living for my family back home is even more tiring.
The quickest fix I saw was joining Facebook groups and communities.
The first group I joined was a Solo Female Travel Group or maybe three of them. I thought it was to travel the world nonstop was what I wanted. And because I didn’t personally know someone who does it, I longed to see real and ordinary people who are doing this. I needed to know it is possible.
It feels very good to be a part of something where you feel normal and that you belong. These girls showed me the world of digital nomadism, remote jobs, English teaching, backpacking and expats.
For the first time, I felt normal even if it’s a virtual kind of belongingness, it is still belongingness.
I would stalk members and read conversations or blogs if they have. Their lives sounded like mine and I had that feeling that I was understood during the time that my family was questioning me about what I was doing with my life and none of the things I said I wanted to do seemed to interest them.
I kept on searching and coming up with something that I wanted to do next but I still wasn’t able to please them.
I became more confused, depressed, scattered and not motivated. I couldn’t decide where and what I would do next.
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Who I follow
People I follow in all the different groups and from all over the world show me other ways to live. They share a lot helpful resources that I binged read.
My stalking ability and the new online communities lead me to starting my own journey without having to move countries again or make another poor life decision.
These Facebook groups and communities make me feel that I am not alone in my chosen path. They are further along in the journey.
They are authors of the self help, financial and motivational books that I read and owners of six-figure blogs that I admire.
I found my real life heroes.
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They inspire me to push and strive harder. They are not stingy in giving tips so I know which to stop doing. I feel like I have mentors and life coaches even if I can’t afford to have one.
Social media is free. I stopped saying that I will use it less. In fact, I am using it more than I ever did in my life. Only, I use it intentionally. I use it to my advantage.
I use Youtube to teach myself how to build and manage a website. I am proud to say that up to this point where seeing the traffic skyrocket makes me shed tears of joy, I haven’t contacted any web designer.
I am conquering my fear of anything technical, little by little, by devouring free Youtube videos.
I use Pinterest to grow my blog. (Though they say Pinterest is not social media but the image version of Google. For me it is still the same. lol)
I use Canva to improve my design skills for my Pinterest pins.
I used Instagram to get my daily writing prompts and post my daily gratitude challenge. I also treat Instagram as my little gallery where I display the photos that I took myself.
I use Facebook to promote my blog, connect with other bloggers and learn from them.
Google and I became really good friends.
I listen to motivational, entrepreneurial, financial, health, fitness, self-help podcasts while on the road and if I don’t feel like reading.
And social media allowed me to create a new career and develop a positive mindset even in my thirties.
All these, for free and I do during my spare time.
No to Mindless Scrolling
Since becoming a fan of intentional living, I stopped every activity that makes me waste more time.
I’ve had so much of that in the past where there’s no meaning and fulfillment in all the things that I used to do.
It’s high time that I become conscious in everything that I engage in because I know there’s something that I want to accomplish and achieve in my life.
If I continue to mindlessly scroll my feed to kill time, before I know it, time has already killed me. I see a lot of successful people online and I start to think, how did they make social media turn their lives around? I must find a way to do that too.
This made me realize that every minute I spend mindlessly, is a minute I owe to myself and to my dreams.
Why spend another minute wishing to have the lifestyle they have when I can use that minute to start working on having that same thing too. If they can, so can I. And so can you.
Social media has also been showing me what I don’t want to become.
Whenever I’d read and see something, my thoughts stir but I make sure to only share positive, useful and motivational contents.
I always remind myself that a person has an average of 40 thousand thoughts per day and instead of participating or helping to share hateful contents, I challenge myself to use this as writing prompts instead.
This is not to preach nor just have anything to publish but to see what I can do with my reaction and how I can control it.
If anything, I am using my social media to end my poor Filipino mentality. Internet is the future and I will use it to help me to become the best version of myself.
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