This a public service announcement. We are already in our fourth month of the year! This year is both flying by and slowing down, with the current pandemic at large. I am turning 20 this year… I know, crazy right. There are still so many things that I want to achieve before this year ends and many goals I still want to smash (particularly the goals around my mental state – since a lot of my physical goals have been put on hold). However, I thought that I would write about a topic that has been on my mind in recent weeks. It came up in my thoughts whilst I was browsing through Twitter, actually. A post came up about refusing to let negative energy drag you down during quarantine (not sure exactly what it said, but it was along those lines – or at least the concept was). It got me thinking; what small changes can I make to my life that can release negative energy that surfaces in a time like this. My immediate thought process was drawn to social media and the online world. This online space is a place of creative energy – which if used correctly, can supply a shit-tonne of positivity for everyday people in everyday life. Although, like most things, all good comes with inevitable negativity that can arise.
My first point of call was to delete Facebook off my phone, which I did quite successfully. My next was to limit my Snapchat use to once per day and my current goal is to unfollow/cull my Instagram down. The motive behind this for me, is purely that I don’t want to sacrifice my mental health for social media. So many of us follow accounts purely because we feel obligated to do so. We feel like we need to keep the mutual relationship going because if suddenly it broke, the world would come crashing down – or at least that’s an exaggerated idea of the thought process I once went through. This idea that has been ingrained into our head, that unfollowing someone was grounded in anger, frustration, envy or any other negative emotion for that matter.
The reality is; cleansing yourself of negative energy or just those accounts and posts that don’t serve you for your highest good does NOT have to be fuelled by negative emotions. In fact, what I have learnt about cleansing yourself on social media, through a lot of trials and tribulations in my mental health, is that it;
- It can be fuelled from a place of awareness, not negativity
- The power of removing energy that isn’t aligned with your values or needs, can most certainly and will most certainly leave a positive impact on your mental health
- It sets a precedent in your life for things of much greater importance, that require a cleanse from a certain person/activity etc
The common form of resistance that always cropped up in my life around social media was this people-pleasing attitude. The attitude where you feel as though the followers and friends you have on Facebook and Instagram are so important to you, or you to them that removing them would somehow cause distress. And I guess that belief came from my own situation, where I used to feel offended if someone deleted me off social media – because I would ultimately take it as a personal attack against me. When the reality was, that there was no malice – there never was! I think there are a lot of people who have gone through similar thought processes to that – but a lot of us are too ashamed to admit it. To admit that social media was/is actually having that impact on us. Whereby, we take any action in the digital world as equal to those in the physical realm, when it simply isn’t. Removing a follower or a follower removing you where joy isn’t being sparked anymore, doesn’t equate to someone never speaking to you again or removing you as a ‘friend’ or acquaintance. It is only an acknowledgement that whatever was being portrayed wasn’t in alignment with what they wanted to see – AND THAT IS OKAY!
A lot of people might be thinking – it isn’t that deep? To anyone who may be thinking that I think it is for a lot of people. Social media is one of the biggest aspects of our lives and so the people we connect with through it, are a part of our lives. So, if we are attached or addicted to social media in any way then that attachment principle is going to lead us to resentment and a clouded perspective over what is real and what truly matters in our lives. The idea is that the more attached you are, the more you are going to take offence, feel attacked personally and take negative feedback poorly. Someone unfollowing you may not be the most outstanding example but it is certainly one of the most common. If we can learn to remove the attachment from social media in the smaller areas, we can learn to remove addiction and attachment to social media as a whole (which is ultimately the goal).
In my past experience, I had chosen to feel offended, confused and I spent my resource of time, wondering why that person had decided to click that button. It is draining. It is a form of mental clutter and a complete and utter waste of space in your mind. This principle can apply to all areas of social media too and a lot of people I know venturing into social media as a partial career may come across some of these. How many likes? Who hasn’t liked your posts? Why don’t I get more followers? Why aren’t I not getting [blank] amount of story views per instagram story? Why did that person not follow me back?
All of the stories and all of the theories that we create in our head about the reasons that these superficial aspects of our lives somehow mean something and should be taking up our mental space – they are counterproductive. Once we release the attachment, we will be able to release the sense of obligation we feel to social media and the many aspects of it. Even down to the simple unfollow button that seems so trivial, yet is seen as something so much more complex. Break down the assumptions and attachment to these beliefs and you can gain an entirely new perspective on social media (believe me, it’s taken me a while to get to this point and I am okay admitting that).
I thought that I would list some examples of accounts I have kept on my follow list. Those which provide me with informative, engaging and juicy content that most certainly sparks joy (none are personal accounts);
- @unearthedcrystals: A really great crystal small business that has incredible and vibrant owners who post uplifting, hilarious and motivating content daily!
- @hellosunshine / @reesesbookclub: Reese Witherspoon has two external social media accounts through her female-driven production company Hello Sunshine and her book club, which shares a selection of inclusive stories. Both pages are filled with so much positivity and love and aim to bring new, fresh ideas and stories to the surface and give them an opportunity to be seen!
- @i_weight: Jameela Jamil’s inclusive, body-positive page aimed at amplifying and advocating for new, own voices on issues that matter – is so necessary for our current societal state. It is educational, motivating and tackles all the big social topics, making it the perfect place to go if you want to learn more about different and unique voices – rather than those which we have been exposed to and conditioned to believe are the norms!
- @aliceaedy / @jackharries: These two environmental and social activists who just happen to be dating, are two of my favourite accounts to follow! They have so many informative things to speak on in relation to our earth and its current state. What they say is so important and it brings me so much joy and inspiration when I see their posts!
- @aoc: One of the most controversial politicians in America because she speaks on social issues, has a strong progressive message and doesn’t back down from her beliefs. I not only find her inspirational and educational but relatable. Being one of the youngest politicians, she speaks for a lot of the younger generations and knows the issues that want brought to the forefront of conversation. While some call her radical, I think she is game changing. While, her content is on American issues as she is an American congresswomen – her messages resound far beyond and I think it’s great to listen as an international, to get an idea of the issues facing those in the USA!
So on a positive note, follow those accounts which bring you joy! Go down the list and select the ones that don’t give you joy and let them go. You aren’t obligated to keep them if they aren’t serving you – so don’t. And you shouldn’t be sorry about it! Now go do a social media clean-up for your sake and the sake of others, because ultimately if removing them is in the highest interest of good for you, its likely it will be for them too (even if its subconsciously).
Stay safe and stay strong!