Social media has its flaws. I won’t argue against that. It can make us jealous, petty, discontented with our own lives. It seems superficial at times, and it can be hard for us to separate the final cut of someone’s life from what they may actually be going through when their phone is off and the cameras are put away. It gives people a way to treat others more cruelly than they would ever treat them in person because they can hide behind their devices while doling out negative and hurtful comments.
But social media has a brighter side to it. If you can learn to balance it, if you can learn to be content with your own life and accept that it’s the highlight reel of people’s lives. If you can choose to accept jealousy as a passing emotion, there is a lot of joy and exploration that can come from the social media-sphere.
Instagram alone has opened up the world for me. I’ve learned about things I never even knew existed before, about paths that I didn’t know I could take. I’ve seen people and places that might have been hidden from me if left solely to watching the typical mainstream media. Before Instagram, I had no clue what fashion week was. There. I said it. I would never have known that I could have a career as a writer without getting published by a big corporate publishing house. I didn’t have any clue about specific architectural styles that I now love, and I didn’t really understand how interested I could be in interior design or architecture at all. I had very little insight into the world of fashion photography or celebrity portraiture.
Social media is also a place of encouragement. For me, to be able to see a little deeper into the life of someone I admire has been the spark that has led me to be a healthier person. Watching the way people workout, the routines they have, the food that they eat, seeing that it’s not a punishment to be a healthy person has been revolutionary for me. For the longest time, I truly thought that if I was eating healthy it meant that I was overweight and that embarrassed me so I didn’t want to do it. I thought it was an “I have to” not an “I want to” lifestyle change.
And of course, being on Instagram alone doesn’t change anything. I have to eat healthy to be healthy. I have to do my craft in order to even begin to scratch the surface of the career I want. I think of social media as more of the open door, the awakening, the education. From there, my life is in my hands.
But sometimes I wonder, without social media, would I actually want the life I want now? And I think the answer is: It doesn’t matter. Firstly because there is social media, and I do want the life I have now, but also because this open window has broadened my world. It’s like flipping through the college majors list before choosing one versus just choosing the one you already knew about by talking to your close circle at home. Possibilities have become endless. And as daunting as that can be, as much as you have to resist the comparison game, set the phone aside for most of the day, get away from politics and hate speech, this resource really can help you on the path to becoming the person you didn’t know you could be before.
If you let it, you can get the information you need to start becoming the best version of yourself.