I have a problem and it’s time I come clean.
My name is Jennifer and I have a social media addiction. The first step at fixing the problem is admittance, right? The thing is, I didn’t realize I had a real problem until a few weeks ago. I was sitting at my doctor’s office when we started to discuss my medications. I have mentioned before that I take medicine for anxiety and have taken it for years. Recently, I have been trying to slowly wean off the medication so my husband and I can try to have a baby in a year or so. My doctor has been trying to help me with this process, so he asked me if I noticed what gives me anxiety.
I stopped and thought about it for a minute and realized, it’s me. I give myself anxiety and most of it is due to social media. I allow social media to negatively affect me and constantly put pressure on myself.
The Pressure to be the perfect wife
Every night women across the world post pictures of dinners they have prepared for their husbands. Some of them are even garnished with parsley and served on beautiful china. I see posts from women about cleaning their house from top to bottom, posts with women my age with adorably dressed children posing in beautifully decorated homes and I wonder how they have it all together. I often come home from work and decide to order pizza or get Saladworks because it’s been such a long day and I am tired. I will go weeks without fully cleaning the house top to bottom and instead just spot clean as I go. When I hop on social media and see all of these posts I automatically feel pressure to make new recipes and to decorate our house to look Pinterest-worthy.
2. The Pressure to look perfect
This one is mostly related to Instagram with thousands of “Instagram models” posing with perfectly tanned, unblemished skin, wearing next to nothing, with perfect hair and makeup, garnering hundreds of thousands of likes each day. Not to mention all of the posts people take at the gym while they’re “crushing” their daily work outs. Makeup tutorials are also clogging up news feeds with ladies trying to achieve the perfect cat eye and sculpted brows. If you aren’t a professional makeup artist AND a gym rat, while also being born blessed with genes of a goddess it’s easy to feel pressure to try all the latest fad diets and splurge on expensive make-up and self-tanner, or at least feel bad about yourself for not caring enough to do any of the above.
3. The Pressure to have the best social life
How often do you see posts from people on the weekends about hanging out with “great friends” or enjoying their “happy place,” wherever that may be. It’s easy to sit around and feel as if your life isn’t as good as everyone else’s when you’re comparing it to social media. I have realized more and more as I talk to friends that we really do not know what is going on in the lives of others, but we think we have it all figured out by what they post. The thing is, people usually don’t post action shots of an argument or of them feeling disappointed by someone or something. They only post the positive images that they feel should be photographed, unless you follow Bunmi Laditan on Facebook. Then you get a nice dose of reality and feel a little better about your lackluster life.
4. The pressure to have enough money
If you’re on instagram then you will understand this one more than my Facebook friends, most likely. Designer clothes and accessories, pricey vacations, new cars, and fancy dinners are all common posts on Insta, and are often seen on Facebook and other social media sites. I often wonder how people can afford all of these wonderful perks if all they’re doing is documenting it all on social media and seemingly never working. This one will always be a mystery to me until I muster up the courage to ask one of these frequent fancy posters how they have the funds to enjoy such a lifestyle. I don’t always feel pressure to have an expensive purse or clothes, but I do often feel like I should be going on vacations and seeing the world more when I see these posts from others.
5. The pressure to be the best teacher
This one is personal, but I often feel pressured to be the “Teacher of the Year” on a daily basis. I see colleagues posting about their latest volunteer projects, their latest classroom blog, classroom decor pics, and events they attend on weekends and during the summer dedicated to teaching and I feel like I’m doing something wrong. When I am sitting around enjoying my Saturday and I see posts of colleagues attending Saturday workshops or doing a run to raise funds for my school, I feel like a bad teacher. Like maybe I’m not invested as much as everyone else. I feel guilty for enjoying my family time. Then I feel guilty for thinking about working while I’m with my family and the cycle circle continues.
I realize that I’m letting social media do this to me, but I feel like I’m not alone. We seem to be judging and criticizing each other on a daily basis on social media instead of lifting each other up. So I’m going to try to post only positive or funny posts starting now. I will try my hardest not to criticize on social media ( except my Yelp restaurant reviews lol). I will also try not to compare myself to others on social media. That’s a huge part of the problem for me and I hope I can work on this in the coming year. Stay tuned…