A while ago I asked my friends on Instagram what articles they’d want to read on my blog. One of the answers I got was I should write a piece on how to be social and stop feeling hated and unwanted. Naturally, it’s a sensitive issue and I wouldn’t want to run the risk of ill-advising someone who is going through the most, so I recommend seeking professional help if you’re uneasy about your mental state. Never has living on Earth been more stressful in my entire twenty-something years, we are constantly having to live on the edge with the fear of being a victim of the ongoing pandemic, so many injustices going on around the world and inevitably job and school pressures are part of the cuisine as well. While I may not have the answers, I’d like to shed light on certain issues that I feel like are to blame for a sharp increase in mental cases over the past two decades and hopefully we can figure out together how to combat them.
I blame social media
Let me just go ahead and address this humungous elephant in the room, yep, I blame social media! Recently I saw a post that said, “We are a sad generation with happy pictures,” and it rung so true. It’s true that social media has its advantages and single-handedly helped us through 2020, (well there was Netflix too, sorry big dog) but the increased connectivity has definitely brough a lot of positives. It’s a great way to meet new people, keep in touch with your friends, express yourself creatively, rally behind causes and discover sources of valuable information, all the while getting to know what your favourite celebrities like to eat for breakfast. However, we cannot dismiss all the negatives that come with it as well. Constantly looking at curated pictures of the highlights of people’s lives that are carefully touched up may give you a feeling of inadequacy about your life and appearance. Even if you might as well know that what you’re seeing is not real, it may still subconsciously get to you and you can’t help but wish if you had a more snatched waist or a slightly plumper butt or chiseled abs. On the other end, there’s a chance of getting too self-absorbed by constantly posting selfies and wanting to be the center of attention that will make you more self-centered and distance you from real life connections.
Cyberbullying is also rampant and once you post something on the internet, you are liable to all sorts of ridicule and critique from people you don’t even know and those weirdos who still live in their mom’s basements and just live off of making other people feel shittier. These negative comments may hit on your self esteem and overall sense of self worth and this, coupled with constantly seeing those Instagram photos of #lifegoals and #couplegoals will probably leave you depressed and or anxious. Spending too much time on your phone too increases the risk of isolation and detaching yourself from real life connections and there’s a chance you might be using social media to distract yourself and mask real life problems you may be going through at the time, stress, fear or anxiety, and while it may seem like a quick fix, it won’t help you in the long term. So how do we slay the dragon? Easy, limit your screen time on social media apps by using monitoring apps on your phone, spend more time in the company of ‘real’ people and not just interacting over social media, pick up a new hobby that will help you utilize your free time more productively, take a social media hiatus here and there to detox if need be and never forget that what you see on social media isn’t real life.
Mainstream fashion and entertainment
Next up on the culprits’ list is mainstream media, movies, series, music, news and advertising. One thing you have to know is that companies that sell products and clothes feed off of our insecurities and feeling of inadequacy. If all of us felt content with our bodies and our sense of style, no one would buy a new outfit and they’d go broke. Pop culture that is spread across in tv dramas and music has romanticized the world and have sang over a million songs about love that you can’t help but feel some type of way if you don’t have somebody. EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE LOVED, and now we all feel like finding that special person who’ll love us like nobody else ever did and let me tell you something, that person is YOU sweetheart. Nobody is ever gonna love you like you do and the moment you accept that and start developing a positive relationship with yourself instead of waiting for prince charming to come and love you and embrace your flaws, the better you are at actually having an ideal relationship with somebody else. Lately there has been a trend of how people on the internet post about romantic situations they’d want to find themselves with ‘somebody’s son’ or daughter, this further pushes the narrative of idealistic love and relationships and drive up expectations which are probably going to be let down when you actually enter a relationship because ‘somebody’s son’ is flawed and human too and it won’t be sunshine and rainbows the whole time.
At the end of the day, it’s really hard staying sane in a world where you’re constantly bombarded with graphics of how you you’re not worth it and why you need to spend more or be with someone and your favourite artist sings, “I wanna end me”. It’s more important than ever to come together and help each other out through this life thing. Talk to your friends when you’re feeling down, reach out to someone, you’re never alone, reduce your social media usage if you can, watch the kind of music and entertainment you consume and go to therapy if you can afford it. If you’re spiritual, keep in touch with your spiritual side, mediate, go out for a walk, take deep breaths, soak in the sunshine, have a morning mantra you say out everyday and twerk a little as soon as you wake up from bed. Tell yourself you’re worth it in the mirror, smile a lot, pass compliments, perform random acts of kindness, get a pet, fly a kite, LIVE! Don’t spend most of your life behind your phone screen, go out there and BE YOU, ANAPOLOGETICALLY. Have a good one, I love you.