For someone in the 20s, this can be a taboo, almost rebelling from being part of social media networks. We even tend to identify ourselves and gauge our self worth on how many likes, friends and re tweets we get. We are at a time in history where vine loops and followers are the most sincere representations of a compliment that we are able to recognize.
Hiding behind the glass menagerie beneath our fingers whole personas have been created. Like most other drugs the initial highs are exhilarating and intoxicating. But as any addiction goes they all seem to find themselves engulfed in a state of depression and isolation. I once found myself there.
I felt like my social media addiction had put me at an ultimatum to bravely delete every single account not just the app or suffer a life of crippling solitude. If you find yourself re-reading the same tweets or compulsively updating your feeds, it is time to pause and have some self-awareness. When you find yourself hypnotized by your phone at a social gathering with live people present, try having some self-awareness.
Also when you find yourself literally cultivating thoughts to fit 140 characters, it is time to have self-awareness. I found myself there but yet in even a deeper and more saddening, in my opinion place. I realized that the things I put pride on when I was a young child no longer seemed of merit. Being kind, curious and outgoing no longer seemed to describe me. Instead I underwent this metamorphosis into a person who handicapped themselves by constantly watching and being involved from a distance.
I became a person who associated themselves on tumblr notes and and likes on Facebook. It was flattering to know that I could share myself with my “friends and followers” and they would praise the things I would say and compliment the pictures I would post and I would camp out for them, keep the app open and watch the orange hearts work like nicotine in my brain.
Addicted to the constant validation, I would revolve my day around things that I believed would earn me a lot of life even if they did not necessarily interest me. And like most people in their 20s, we find ourselves in an abyss of self-identity confusion, but my social media addiction only made this state worse.
I felt as if I had an inner war waging between the real me, who wanted to plant a garden and talk with my relatives and the other me was more damaged, insecure, child. There was a part of me that wanted to only do things that awarded them recognition from others. With this inner turmoil in turbulence, I found myself retreating from my friends.
For so long it seemed that my plastic social relationships had been my only connection with others and it seemed as if I had not learned how to be authentic with others. I had had not learned how to be in the moment, to feel confident in a social setting and I found myself facing social anxiety, to an extreme of taking solely online classes so that in every aspect of my life I could hide myself behind a screen.
Knowing the type of person I am, I know that if change must happen for me it must be extreme and abruptly introduced. I made a decision to have more meaningful experiences, to become brave and true to myself without feeling the need to paint an online facade for others. Though only weeks later I found myself far less anxious, sleeping better, feeling the true essence of life and contact with others instead of being distracted by the impulsive to check my notifications. I found myself chasing after meaningful hobbies that add substance to my life and projects that help my security by arriving at a goal.
Am happy that I finally found myself.