The world of Social Media can be a really scary place. I’m not talking about danger in the typical sense of the word (although that clearly exists), but by scary, I mean it can send people into downward whirlwind of dark emotions and depression.
You don’t have to look far to see how social interaction online can deeply affect a person’s confidence and self worth.
I have an 11 year old daughter, countless clients with teenage children, I hire and work with young people between the ages of 15 to 25, the optimum age of Instagram obsession. Because of this, and due to being very active myself on many social platforms, I have seen the emotional effects. They aren’t always great, believe me.
Recently I came across a blog post by Stacey Banfield, and it really struck a chord. She talks of Comparison. Where we compare ourselves against this perfect life illusion that Instagram creates, and in return feel bad and down about ourselves.
Daily scrolling through images of friends, colleagues, celebrities, social media stars, seeing their perfect life and material possessions and feeling down because you don’t yet have your blueprint of what a perfect life should be. For example Stacey talks about seeing someone with a Louis Vutton bag (or 500 of them), and feeling like shit because she/you can’t afford them.
After reading Stacey’s blog, it got me to thinking about something a bit deeper.
Are we really basing our self worth on wanting to buy a $70,000 car or a Louis Vutton hand bag? Sure, its great to have goals, I am a big Goal Setter, but seriously… How can someone holding a LV handbag make you feel worthless? I am guilty of this, absolutely, (not so much the LV bags) but the wanting of something bigger, more, better than what I may have.
My question however is, why does seeing an image of someone with more than you, make us feel like shit BUT seeing someone with less doesn’t make us feel rich or fill us with gratitude?
When you see children living and trying to survive in the war in Syria, how does that make you feel?
There are children in NZ living in poverty, who’s caregivers can’t afford to buy them shoes in the middle of a cold winter or food for breakfast and lunch. There are children in our country going to school hungry. How does it make you feel?
Right now black american people are being brutally beaten, killed and discriminated against daily. Every single day that I log into my Twitter account I see more and more accounts of innocent black american people and children being targeted for just living. I honestly feel we are living in a modern day Nazi/Hitler era. Just this morning I saw a video of a white police man brutally beating a 16 year old boy who was arriving innocently to his school prom. Pure hateful racism. The policeman won’t be charged and won’t be brought to justice. Again, how does this make you feel?
The awful genocide happening in Gaza – I’ll ask one more time, how does this make you feel? Theres a reason for my asking….
I know that when I see and read about how very little the majority of the people in the world has, it makes me feel incredibly guilty. I feel undeniably rich. I feel like the richest person in the world. It gives me perspective, something that is majorly lacking on Instagram and something I think we all need to remember.
Why on earth, would I feel like shit for not being able to afford a luxury LV bag, when the people who actually make those bags, are being paid less than $1 a day in disgusting living conditions?
Lets not forget that a lot of big corporate brands and labels use child slavery and slave labour.
Is it going to sustain and fulfil you as a person to have more than somebody else?
So that you can be that person travelling around the world and owning a BMW car and posting images on Instagram that makes others feel like shit?
People seem to skip past the posts about whats happening in the world, and in some ways, yes, social media is a form of escapism. But when you are feeling like you have nothing please think again.
I encourage you to look at your reality. Look at how much you have and how lucky you are. If you have shelter, a home, food, family, friends, a good life – my gosh, you are incredibly rich.
Only 1% of the world are super rich. 1%!
So if you are trying to be 1% of the population and feeling bad about yourself for not being there yet – look at the 99% of the rest of the world.
When I was 15 years old, I wanted to become a millionaire. Thats when my dream of owning my own cosmetics line began. My goal was money.
I feel so lucky that at the age of 21 I got pregnant with my daughter Clara. At 22 she was born. Upon having her I realised how rich I already was. Having children really humbles you and grounds you and makes you understand what is actually important in life. There is so much more to life than material possessions.
My goals for business and life changed the moment Clara was born. A happy, healthy life where I could provide for my daughter was what took the place of wanting to become a millionaire. My whole perspective was altered.
I think its really sad if people are not seeing very real images from around the world and not realising how lucky we are. How very rich we already are in New Zealand.
It is sad that people are feeling sad because of a fake image that a corporate company has essentially sold you. Its unrealistic, unachievable and why would you want it.
We are lucky that our children can safely go to school without being shot.
We are so lucky that we are not in a war zone.
We are so lucky that we have laws to protect women against domestic violence in NZ.
We are so lucky that men in this country can be charged for raping women.
There are many many more things to be grateful for, these are only a few.
There are so many things to be grateful and lucky for that its super easy to forget. I urge all of us to remember.
I wanted to write this because I know that in remembering how fortunate we really are, it opens your heart to become more giving to those less fortunate. Giving always makes me feel incredible, and I hope that it will do the same for you.
When you compare yourself to the 1% of super rich people in the world, you are comparing yourself to a unrealistic and unachievable view.
Do you really want to become that 1% of the world that is so far and distant from the rest of us? A lot of that 1% do not have a clue how 99% of people in the world live – do you really want to be that withdrawn and secluded away from society?
I urge you to contribute to society, to your community, to help others in need without judgement. I guarantee that this will make you feel incredible! When you give and have gratitude, what comes back to you is ten fold!
So my meaning of this post, is Gratitude. When you realise how fortunate you are, and have gratitude, social media really won’t feel like such a depressing place after all.
As always, with love, Phoenix. xxxx.