As a self-proclaimed social media guru and millennial I would say social media is a pretty big part of my day to day life. Maybe even too much at times. Obviously I love social media and believe in the power it can hold. But is this power positive, negative, or maybe even both at times? This is a big question to answer. I will be honest when I say that sometimes social media makes me feel a little in the dumps. But I think that the key is shifting your perspective.
I am currently in the midst of dead week (AKA every college student’s worst nightmare) trying to finish a lofty, nine-page paper on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s piece Self-Reliance for my American literature class. Now, you may be wondering how a piece of American literature from 1841 has anything to do with social media in the 21st century. But I promise you they have a connection and I ask you to just stick with me here.
Self-Reliance encompasses a lot of things and it’s filled with inspirational quotes and insights that are supposed to give us a better understanding of what it means. One quote that I am personally fond of is “envy is ignorance”. It’s short, sweet, and straight to the point. But what’s crazy is that these words hold so much magnitude. When Emerson compares envy to ignorance, he is telling the reader that when you become jealous you are choosing to ignore the amazing things going on in your own life. It’s kind of crazy to me that these three sweet little words that Emerson wrote in the 19th century can still hold so much relevance in our society today… Side note: this is why I love English and literature!
In regards to social media, though, I think all of us, including myself, can get caught up in this game of comparison. Even if you don’t notice you are doing it, you are. The activity of scrolling through photos or life updates can cause us to think that our lives may not be good enough. And no one likes that feeling. These feelings can lead to jealousy and envy. Maybe even causing us to resent someone or something. But this jealousy is us choosing to not see all the wonderful. Because we all have wonderful and why wouldn’t we want to share that and be proud of that? Being self-reliant is trusting yourself enough and loving yourself enough to see that I have good too and feeling empowered to share it.
So here comes the hard part... shifting our perspective. So the next time you see that photo of one of your mutual friends or one of those just seemingly perfect humans who looks like they have it all together remember this: they are sharing their wonderful but that doesn’t mean they don’t have bad days either. Social media has become a place where we only share the good and maybe this should change. But I also think it’s not quite a bad thing that we do this. And maybe instead of comparing ourselves to other people we should build them up. Let’s empower one another through the platforms we have.
Written by Brand Leader, Mackenzie Lloyd.