Media is Both Good and Bad
Social media helps us connect. I have friends around the world that would have been difficult to stay in touch with without social media. It lets us know what our friends and family are up to and to discover new people on Instagram (like me @lovewellnessblog). But media can be bad. There’s a lot of blame for body image issues being forced on social media. While I don’t necessarily think media is the ONLY cause of eating disorders (take it from someone who’s had multiple diagnoses) I believe that it does have negative effects on self-esteem, self-worth, greed, and envy.
Today I want to share with you ways to “detox” (I hate that word because it is often misused) from social media. Take out the people, brands, and ideas that no longer serve you and you’ll eliminate your media-based stress. Here is my step by step guide to detoxing your socials.
Step One: What is Your Relationship with Followers?
This is an important question to ask yourself. And be honest. You can even do this exercise in the self-care journal I taught you to make last week! Are you posting for followers? Do you put pressure on yourself for not having enough followers, likes or comments? What numbers make a post successful to you?
Having social media and doing things like follow-for-follow or the follow-unfollow method is wrong. You shouldn’t be looking for attention from strangers. If you are, that means there’s something missing in your life and I’d like for you to take time and think about what that might be. Maybe you feel unwanted by your family and look for love on social media. Maybe you feel lonely and view followers as friends.
It doesn’t matter if you have 10 or 1000 followers. If you post what YOU want, you’ll free yourself from the pressure to please others. Bloggers: this is especially for you. There’s a lot of pressure to get followers on Instagram and pageviews on the blog, but post what you want and you’ll fall in love with blogging again.
Step Two: Ignore (And Stop Posting) Hate Comments
Whether you post them or just read them, hate comments hurt everyone. I’ve seen too many girls taken down by these and if you’re someone that posts judgement in ANY way, just stop. It’s immature and you have no idea the struggle that person may have gone through to post that photo in the first place.
Hate comments I’ve seen directed at women aren’t even on an overweight girl’s post, as many tend to think they are. They’re usually on a skinny or fit woman’s post. Body positivity has taken an ugly turn. Body shaming isn’t just telling a chubby woman she is unhealthy, it is also telling a skinny girl she is “gross,” “anorexic,” or “disgusting.”
Pardon my language, but what the fuck is wrong with people? If you’re unhappy with yourself, it doesn’t give you the right to degrade someone else. Maybe you’re self-conscious about the rolls on your stomach….well telling a skinny girl she’s disgusting doesn’t make the rolls go away. Same with being skinny and wanting curves. If you tell a girl who worked really hard for her booty that she’s just fat, it doesn’t make curves of your own suddenly appear. It makes you a hateful person who is too self-conscious about your own body to let anyone else feel good about theirs. Jealousy is the cause of a lot of hate.
When you post hate, you’re hurting yourself, you’re hurting the person in the photo, and you’re hurting others who are reading the comments. Blocking out the hate doesn’t solve the problem, but for me, it eliminates a source of stress.
Step Three: Eliminate the People who Cause You Stress
Let’s be honest, you probably don’t need to know what your ex-boyfriend is up to and who he’s dating now. That’s just harmful to you. Instead, why don’t you just delete him? In fact, delete everyone who stresses you out. I won’t go into my sob-story but my mother was a very abusive person and ultimately I had to delete her from my life. Since I never really talked to her in person anyway, deleting (and blocking) her from social media was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer had to be reminded of her when I saw her posts. I wasn’t obligated to “like” or “comment” on anything just because I was her daughter.
Now, you probably won’t ever need to delete your own mother from your life. But there are still people whose posts are causing you stress. If you have friends from high school that you no longer talk to, it’s okay to delete them. We sometimes feel obligated to keep people on our social media accounts. When we keep those people, we can end up ignoring the posts of the people we really do care about. If you wouldn’t call them up to ask how they’re doing, then delete them. And don’t even feel sorry about it. You deserve to log into facebook and see your family’s updates, your best friends’ new baby, etc. You don’t need to see where some girl you haven’t talked to in 4 years went on vacation.
Step Four: Stop Comparisons
This ties in with the last step. If you have people on your social accounts that you often find you compare yourself to, just get rid of them. It isn’t healthy. Comparisons are often the source of body-image issues. I mean, I hate blaming media for everything relating to body image but it’s still a part of the problem that can’t be ignored. It isn’t a secret that brands often chose fit and toned women to be the face of their products and those images start floating around in social media. But we cannot simply say that media causes eating disorders and body-image related issues.
The reason I hate blaming media for everything is that we have to take some blame ourselves. If we follow someone because they’re “goals,” that’s on us. That’s our own choice to follow them and, therefore, it is our fault we compare ourselves to them. Sounds harsh, but I’m just being realistic. If you have body image issues, you probably don’t need to be following the Victoria’s Secret angels, right?
If you’re the one following these accounts, you cannot point fingers at social media. When we don’t take responsibility for our own actions, we are doing ourselves a disservice and not getting down to the real cause of our issues. If you follow accounts that make you compare yourself to someone else, just unfollow. I know that ads are difficult to ignore, but as for the accounts you follow, that is a personal choice and is easily dealt with. Just delete them.
I do want to say that there’s a thin line between motivating yourself and comparing yourself. I personally follow the accounts of gyms, some fitness brands and people who travel a lot. This isn’t for me to compare myself to them. It’s to motivate myself. I would LOVE to travel the world, so looking at images of gorgeous resorts and historical sites makes me work harder to earn the money to travel.
It took me a long time to recognize what was motivation and what was a comparison. Learning to be in tune with yourself is a form of self-care. Getting rid of hate-comments is a form of self-care. And eliminating the people in your life who simply clutter your feeds sounds harsh, but it’s also a form of self-care. A lot of people don’t like to hear that they need to take responsibility for their actions. Media is harmful, but often times it’s only harmful because we interpret it that way. We have the ability to eliminate media-based stress in our lives and following this simple self-care routine is bound to help.
If you have any questions, you’re always welcome to leave them in the comments (or message me personally using the contact page). For more self-care routines, click here. Come back every Sunday for a brand new routine!Follow Me: