Thursday, 18 October 2018

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others You See Online.

Life online, Fake Reality, Social Media, Mental Health, self esteem, depression in teenagers,


Social media is a wondrous thing; gone are the days where we would wonder how our old school friends or work colleagues are doing. We can stalk old crushes or travel the world via our friends holiday snaps on Facebook.

We know all too well though, there is also a downside to social media and the more it evolves the more it can suck people into a false sense of reality which can have a HUGE effect on peoples mental health.

As a mother of an impressionable four year old girl, this is one of my main concerns as it sets unrealistic visions of what life should be. Savannah occasionally watches 'Youtube Kids' and anyone who has children who also watch it will know there are plenty of youngsters with Youtube channels, making lots of money and being sent endless toys and gadgets to review. This is already setting that unrealistic precedent and sending the message to our impressionable little ones that lots of 'stuff' will make you happy and equates to success.

Now we are quite lucky in that Savannah much prefers drawing, cutting up and sticking or painting and if she isn't doing that she wants to be outside. She rarely watches her iPad (and isn't allowed it on school days, only at weekends or on long journeys). She is also very social and would much rather be playing or dressing up or seeing other kids than being stuck in front of a screen.

Even so she has commented about all the toys the kids she watches have and because of this I am honest and tell her it is part of their job. I tell her to have that many toys is unrealistic and that it's unlikely the kids she is watching play with everything they have because they simply have too much (I am hoping they get donated somewhere).

Online images and influencers set such unrealistic examples and it frightens me to think of the impact it is having on todays youth. Everyone is obsessed with looks and possessions like they are the only things in life that will bring you happiness. A designer handbag and flash car are wonderful of course and it is nice to have aspirations but the designer handbag and flash car or house should be in addition to goals like your dream career, travelling, lovely holidays and life experiences.

True happiness can't be bought.

You won't ever remember the possessions you had twenty years ago but you will remember what you were doing twenty years ago, so make the memories worthwhile. It doesn't have to cost the earth and it doesn't have to be all the time despite what you see everyone else doing online. Another thing influencers appear to do is constantly travel and attend trendy venues and events, again setting an unrealistic image of what life should be and that if you aren't getting on a plane every six weeks you're not living your life to it's full potential.

I worry that because everyones lives and what your friends are up to is so accessible now it is easy to compare yourself to others your age and consider yourself a failure if you haven't achieved the same in that same timescale. Life happens at different paces and every person is different. While it is good to have life goals or ambitions and expectations personally and professionally it shouldn't be set in stone and you certainly shouldn't think you need to be doing the same as everyone else.

Everyone lives are different; some people meet the love of their life at 20 and live happily ever after, some people have to date endlessly until they're 40. Neither scenario is right or wrong. Some people enter into their career when they leave school at 16 and stick with it all their working life while some people study for years into adulthood before they start work. Some people don't know what they want to do with their lives until they hit their 30's and some people take a chance on a business venture which allows them to retire at 45.

Everyones life events and goals come together at different times.

Everyone should have goals. Make your goals, focus on them when you're working hard and eventually you will get there. If you don't (it is rare that you may not reach a goal but still) then it isn't meant to be and your life will take another (better) path instead.

So don't compare yourself to others, just keep doing what works for you and you will get to where you need to be eventually. It isn't always easy and it might be after others have gotten there but who cares!

Most importantly don't compare you life to others on social media, people only ever put the highlights on there that make everyone think they always look amazing and have the most amazing partner, use and life. Everyone goes through shitty times, they just don't tell you about it.

Photo Source: publicdomainpictures.net

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