‘They love me, they love me not, they love me, they love me not’. One of my most vivid childhood memories was plucking the petals off my mother’s vibrant blue hydrangeas flowers muttering those words. It’s quite ironic, even from a young age, we fiend off validation in other places but within ourselves. In the 21 st century, the petals seem to have morphed into interactions you gain from social media posts.
It’s hard to live in an era where your value is measured by social media presence. Imagine how straining social media is for creatives. Social media may facilitate networking and job opportunities, but at what cost? Would you really compromise your values or morals in order to gain “exposure”? Lack of interactions may translate to lack of support and therefore perceived as lack of skill in your craft. People often offer “exposure” in exchange for free craft. Really makes you begin to question the quality of your craft, is my work not good enough to be seen as valuable? There is a very malicious and harmful side to social media people are so afraid to explore because we refuse to come to terms with the fact that this “idée fixe” is bizarre and unhealthy.
We post photos we barely like on Instagram for comments and likes that validate our enlarged egos. On many occasions, we tweet things that we don’t necessarily believe in or aren’t really comfortable with in order to “win” a non-existent competition with strangers. Twitter genuinely feels like a competition of who can post the most about their life to gain sympathy, but in reality, these people could not care less about our well-being and will use personal information against us as ammunition when the time is right. We share brief videos on snapchat because we are insecure about our bodies but social media has convinced us that’s the only way to attract the attention of people we desire. We compare our socials to those of others without
realizing people constantly convey an image of a perfect life, you never see what happens behind the scenes.
Social media can rob you of your peace of mind, it can make you feel so alone,
make you feel left out. The block and mute button exist for a reason, you NEED to use them to keep yourself sane. Considering how much time you spend on social media, you have every right to control who and what enters your space. Sometimes you just need to de-activate your account for a while until your life is back on track.
Social media is extremely deceitful because even when you do acquire all the likes and followers in the world, there’s a good chance they won’t fill the. A whopping 45% of people on Earth are currently social media users. When you find yourself feeling down due to social media, it is important to alter your habits; block accounts that make you overanalyze yours, turn off notifications, turn off commenting on your posts, etc.
While I have developed a thick skin, I still cave into social media norms. I groan at the mediocrity of my photos, but still post them all of the attention of one person. I like to think of myself as being self-assured, but am I simply living off the approval of my peers? Am I simply living off “they love me” petals? Sometimes the exoteric validation obtained is fulfilling, but it isn’t an everlasting feeling. The need for validation becomes a drug that only gets stronger. Social media convinced me that my most vulnerable and raw self wasn’t beautiful enough to be shown to the world.
When you finally realize there is so much more than what is on the surface,
vulnerability becomes your secret weapon. In other words, post whatever makes you happy, those who matter won’t mind.