Back in the days before social media, people may have been in the dark about a lot of the goings-on with their friends, family, favorite celebs, and even their worst enemies – but as it turns out, they were often better off for it. Social media can become an obsession, a fatal distraction, and an instigator to deep depression. And if you have ever been guilty of bringing your phone to the bathroom (in case you miss a ‘like’), on a first date (in case you miss a ‘like’), or to a café (for opinions on what you’re eating) – then you may be guilty of letting social media become a toxic influence over your life.
These are five subtle red flags that it may be time to give social media a rest:
It’s the Start to Your Day
Your morning ritual is the most important thing in your day. It guides your passion, drives your energy, and organizes your plan to make the most out of your time. But if you choose to get on that emotional roller coaster at the start of the day, your accomplishments will depend on too many variables, not to mention the lack of organizing, which will wind you up and shoot you off in so many directions, you’ll be lucky to make it to your first appointment on time.
You’re Comparison Living
Comparison shopping gets you the best items at the lowest prices, but when you’re gauging your actual life with the selective life of those in your social circle, you’re just setting yourself up for a letdown. Oh no, so-and-so just purchased a brand new Lexus, making my ancient Kia feel like a slab of wood with stone triangles as wheels. But wait, she only had a tuna fish sandwich for lunch, which pails in comparison to my homemade sushi – win. But do you really want to base your worth as a person throughout the day on how you compare to others? We hope not.
Your Maintaining a State of Vicarious Depression
This often starts by noticing a great accomplishment of someone in your circle, which leads to a rush of energy, saying to yourself, Well if she can do that, there are some really great things that I can do. And then you think about all that time it will take, and quite frankly, you don’t really know where to start, and maybe you don’t have the talent anyway. And so you lose that rush and settle for perusing through the lives of more people you know (or think you know) because you feel like it is the best you’re ever going to get.
Your Wins/Actions Are Based on Validation
One of the saddest outcomes of toxic influence is basing your wins and actions on the validation of others that you receive (or don’t receive). As long as you are living for yourself, there should be no need to wonder what other people think of your decisions or proudest moments. In fact, this kind of mindset will disrupt your mojo, dwindle your dreams, and open the door to feeling worthless and unmotivated. If you want to share your life with others around you, go right ahead. But that is as far as that kind of sharing should ever go.
The Majority of Your Attention is Not Motivational
Motivation is not guided by other people’s words and lives as some people might think. It is a mix of being present in your own life, fully aware of your needs and goals, and maintaining the strength to go after whatever it is that you want. Social media can cause you to lose your state of being present and focused. It can minimize your goals for the day by making them seem too menial to pursue compared to how you perceive other people’s accomplishments. There are many things in your life worth your attention, but you have to give them that attention to maintain your motivation.
If social media is causing you to experience any of these red flags, please stop, drop the toxic influence, and roll with a renewed focus on your own life and goals!