How to Handle Social Media Envy
It’s 7am and much like the majority of the population, the first thing I do before even opening my curtains is half-consciously reach for my phone and start scrolling on social media. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat, I’m immediately confronted with everyone's escapades from the day before…Because you know social media, everyone is just out there LIVING! Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy seeing you and your co-workers going for ‘quiet’ weekday drinks as much as the next person, but the part that always gets me is the production value. The way in which it’s presented would make you think you went to your city’s most expensive and prestigious establishment, bought out the entire bar and just so happened to bump into every quasi-celebrity that lives in close proximity too. When in actuality you went for one white wine spritzer with Jane from HR, endured a 2-hour long discussion about what she feeds her pet goldfish Sushi, all the while pretending to be super interested. It’s very much like that famous Shakespeare quote “All the worlds a stage, and all the men and women merely players” - well this is 2018 and if all the world’s a stage, social media is undoubtedly Hollywood darling!
Again, probably similar to most people, I find myself enticed and very much involved with stranger’s social lives. With the addictive infinite scroll keeping me engaged for so long, that most of the time I find my wrist starting to hurt and consider whether I do in fact have a repetitive strain injury, or maybe even full-blown carpal tunnel (thanks google). It’s only natural to compare - for me that’s where the issues begin. Everyday single day, not just on social media, but all media outlets we are bombarded by copious amounts of images. These images are both consciously and subconsciously influencing us, affecting our thoughts, our ideals, our purchasing habits, our aspirations and our ideas of beauty amongst other things. I’m always struck by how on social media everything is so glamorous, visually beautiful and seemingly out of reach. I am also always astonished at how whitewashed the media and in particular the beauty industry still is. Even within the black community colorism is still rife - products are still being aimed at certain demographics so that they can closely resemble the supposed ‘universal beauty standard’. It surprises me that POC pay attention to anything that comes from a society that has only ever depicted Jesus as the palest of white men when even in the Bible it describes him to have “hair like wool and skin like burnt bronze”, but that is none of my business (sips tea).
Something I have written about before is that normality is subjective. Our version of normal should be something that is meaningful to us, irrespective of what others may think - it’s your life and only you are living it. Therefore I urge you to stop listening to what the mass media or society is telling you is beautiful or acceptable. We are the authors of our own lives and we need to be conscious of the fact that we create our own reality. Stop striving for the version of you that society pressures you to be and create your own. The version of beauty on social media, for the most part, isn’t even real, or it’s meticulously curated, photoshopped and filtered for the Gods. Instead of envying those on social media, find some beautiful humans who reject this ingrained status quo and do their own thing. Because people are out there creating their own path and loving their authentic selves and if you aren’t already doing so, you should join them!
Whether that involves you listening to some Kendrick Lamar “show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks”, Princess Nokia’s ‘Tomboy’, or if it’s you attending something that embraces other versions of beauty and culture like the brilliant Afropunk festival, make sure you do something that serves and resonates with you. We have copious amounts of rich culture and beauty in our communities; I find it so incredible that we are able to express and define ourselves however we please. Any of society’s pre-existing labels do not apply to you unless you choose to allow them to limit you. Look at Grace Jones and Prince, two perfect examples of individuals juxtaposing society’s gender norms and embracing their own version of beautiful. Their androgynous style and sexuality are not only refreshing but by them honoring their true authentic self they have thrived on a global scale. The real winners in life are those that cultivate a healthy and authentic existence and don’t look externally for validation, but validate themselves from within.
Some tangible ways you can handle social media envy are as follows:
- Remember, normality is subjective and only YOU create your own meaningful version of ‘normal’.
- Stop striving for the version of you that society pressures you to be, it is NOT real! You are you - that is more than enough.
- Listen to empowering music, go to incredible events that light your soul on fire, watch something that challenges society’s ideas of beauty (even if that means watching Black Panther for the 10th time).
- Unsubscribe from society’s conditioning and comparison culture- it’s not just women that are affected by social media envy, it’s EVERYONE.
- Unfollow anyone on social media that doesn’t make you feel great - any of those accounts pushing an unrealistic or negative narrative aren’t serving you, so get unfollowing.
- Digital Detox - sometimes we need to just take some time away from social media in order to separate fantasy from reality and get grounded again.
- Limit interaction or socializing with people that don’t support and love the real authentic you.
- Ultimately walk away from anything and anyone that doesn’t serve you, grow you, finance you or cultivate your glow!
Life is too short not to embrace every perfectly imperfect part of yourself, so if you ever need any help remembering that you alone are enough, changing your mindset, rejecting comparison culture, getting rid of limiting beliefs or anything self-improvement really - give me a shout… I understand the importance of having something ‘for us by us’ ( thanks Solange) so reach out, I am your girl!
Alicia Stratford is a certified Millennial Life Coach and qualified NLP Practitioner, who provides bespoke coaching services in both the personal and professional field. Alicia aids clients to find clarity, motivation and a renewed positive mindset and is a big believer in creating your own path and defining your own version of success. To find out more follow her on Instagram or visit her website: www.aliciastratford.com