Updated: May 14, 2022
In a world where we spend a huge amount of time on social media where we are inundated with what we perceive as other peoples perfect lives, where we post a photo waiting for people to like it, where some share all the ins and outs of our lives, where we follow influencers and where we have algorithms choosing what adverts or posts they think we would like to see. This does various things to us - it influences how we feel, controls us without us even realizing, triggers a need or desire for things and influences what we think of our lives and selfs. But let us look at these one by one.
What can influence the way we feel, trigger a need or desire?
Social media posts we see, the books we read, the songs we listen to, the movies we watch, what people say to us, how people treat us in large quantities all influence the way we feel about ourselves, our mood, what we think we would like to wear, eat, own, do, or like our life to replicate. We are driven by what we see a lot of, as our minds learn through repetition. And we do see a lot of it, thanks to the algorithms! In this world where everything is easily accessible or we can find cheap alternatives we tend to end up trawling the internet, wasting precious time, when we could be doing other things, to gratify our desires with out having to wait too long! We can look up a recipe and cook the food that has grabbed our attention and lit a desire, we can order a take away or go out to a restaurant. We can pretty much instantly gratify that need. We don't have to work to hard for it or wait too long! But what happens if we can't? We become deflated, we feel low, we beat ourselves up, we don't feel good enough, we feel that it is not available to us. Our mood can also change on receiving a product we thought would suit us (looks better on them), would fix an issue (get rid of wrinkles etc) and it doesn't. I've been there got that t-shirt more than once!
The same goes when we interact with social media or others. When we post something we are looking at others to validate our feelings, relying on others liking it or commenting on it and when that doesn't happen it triggers us to believe we aren't as good as others, aren't likeable, aren't enough, and ask ourselves have we got life so wrong! None of which is true. We are sharing all the ins and outs of our life, what we eat, where we have been. What are we doing this for? Are we doing it because everyone else is, so we don't want to feel left out. Or are we doing it to validate our lives, prove they are as good as others. Or to get a reaction, to get sympathy or to validate our feelings are right. We just need to be aware of why so that it doesn't do us more harm than good. The same goes for if we message, call, text someone we expect an instant answer as we assume everyone is never far from their phone and when we don't get an instant response those same negative feelings creep in. Plus things like "why do I bother", "I always get straight back to them but they just can't be bothered with me", "What have I done", "Why don't they want to talk to me" etc! All of which are assumptions and not factual. Again that need for instant gratification is not allowing logical or radical thoughts to occur such as "They must be busy, they'll get back to me when they can". We tend to always assume the worst! We have come to believe that life should revolve around us, that life is only good if we get what we want and now!
How does it control us?
The influencers all over social media are just that, they are there to influence you to want what they are promoting, wearing, visiting, eating or using! Companies pay them money to do so and because you see so much of it your brain starts believing you really need it and can't live without it! Remember your brain learns by repitition and is constructed to move you from pain to pleasure. Desire is pleasure driven so what is your brain to do but make you want what you see and tell you that you need it!! Algorithms make sure you see more of what you have looked at, hovered over for too long, or what you have clicked on!! It's mission is to get you interacting, looking and hopefully purchasing! How many of you have seen something and gone as far as looking it up only to find it is so expensive and it is completely out of reach! How disappointed are you? How does that make you feel? Are you beginning to see the pattern here?!
It also controls the way we respond to life and makes trying to make positive changes in our own lives harder to achieve. As we are less willing to challenge ourselves, to work that little bit harder for what we want as we percieve everyone else just has it so why can't we! We don't see how hard anyone is working at making their lives look good for the camera, or how hard that person worked to achieve their body transformation, or even understand how others can afford, find time to do all these things that just seem totally impossible to you. Although there are those that post extremely relatable posts too and make us feel we are not alone. But again if you are trying to make positive changes you need motivating at a pace that suits you and is not generic. You don't need bringing down and you don't need to see all the overachievers!
How does it make us feel about our lives and selves?
I think we have probably sussed that out by now. That the more we see and hear does influence us. If you spent hours and hours just listening to music about break ups, life not being great, do you not feel a bit down hearted, flat, even low? You might even start analysing your own life and relationships! If you spend time in company of someone who does nothing but complain or goes on and on about how bad things are, do you not start getting swept up in that emotional cycle and start joining in complaining about your own life or just begin to feel down yourself! Life also might then start replicating how you are thinking, as it gives you what it thinks you want and things start going wrong for you too. If you are constantly bought down by your partner, or you were constantly told you could do better as a child, or if you are constantly told you are hopeless or you can't achieve because of x, y and z you learn by repetition and begin to believe all your told. It's easier to believe the bad than it is to believe your good at stuff. It sticks and you start becoming what you are constantly being told you are. Life then tends to replicate that. Just as much as it would do if you are someone who complains about life, dwells on what's not going right, as life tends to give you more of what it thinks you desire! Likewise if you hang around with people who have certain likes or dislikes do these not slowly rub off on you? Therefore the people we watch on social media, the people we hang out with, what we hear, read and see all influence us, if we let them. But we all have a choice to a certain extent! There are generally always options. So why do we tend to put ourselves up to these life comparisons or public scruitiny?! It does make you wonder! So watch who you hang out with what you see a lot of, what you listen to and make sure it counts to benefit you and your life!
How can we help ourselves and are there any quick fixes?
One of the easiest ways to boost your mood and morale is to flood your social media feed with positive affirmations and posts by following @mypositiveoutlooks, @thejollysoul, @letitgo.guru, @inspiredpositivelifewithevana, @everydayspirit1, @positivethoughtsandmore amongst others. This will ensure that your social media feed is interspersed with positivity and thought provoking mantras to keep your mind thinking positively. If you think posititvely life will give you more positivity. It's like looking in a mirror. If you were to look in the mirror and criticise, scream or shout at the person in the mirror that is what you see bouncing back at you. Where as if you look in the mirror and smile, praise and tell yourself you can do things that is what is reflected back at you. So treat life that way. Rembering that what you give out, think and say is reflected back at you! Marisa Peer, world reknowned therapist and Rapid Transformational Therapy trainer, says to write "I am Enough" in lipstick or eyeliner on your mirror. As by subconciously viewing or conciously reading that daily can input on your life and change it for the better. She also teaches 23 rules of the mind. One of which is what we focus on we move towards. Another that our mind does not care if what we tell it is good, bad, true, false, healthy, unhealthy, right or wrong. It accepts and acts on our words regardless. There are many more that all back up that the words we tell ourselves reflect hugely on the way we feel about ourselves and how are life pans out. So we really do need to watch how we talk to ourselves and others. A parent recently said to me that they were teaching their child to be their future best friend. In other words getting to think about themselves as if they were a friend and not to make too much mess as later they would be the one clearing it up. We all need to be our future best friend and help ourselves, be kind to ourselves, to make life easier for ourselves and not harder. If simple things can make a difference why not try them. We have to make the effort to reap the rewards.
Another is follow people you can truely admire for what they are doing to raise awareness for causes or do a lot for others, charity as these are truely inspirational people. Then to only follow influencers that you admire, open your mind to the fact they are trying to influence you, as with that knowledge and understanding you have the power to analyse the situation and rationalise whether what you're desiring is a real need or just a want. Follow them for inspiration rather than a need to be just like them or to have what they have. In this world where prices are rocketing it is so important to spend our money wisely!
Peter Sage, entrepreneur and expert in human behaviour and self mastery, advocates hanging out with people you want to be more like or who are at, or taking life in the direction you want to go. As these people will influence, inspire, motivate and encourage you. We can't choose our family but we can choose our friends and particularly those we spend the most time with! Do the same with who you follow on social media.
Another is to create playlists that motivate you and make you happy. Be empathetic to people and remember they may be experiencing something or they may be going through a bad time, having a rough day, not disclosing how they are feeling. What ever you do, do not assume you know what is going on in someone else's mind or life! Even if you know them really well. Communicate as to much gets misconstrued when assuming. We all experience things differently. Those that suffer in silence are those we need to worry about the most as those that vocalise and share have a voice and have shared their burden releasing it onto others, making themselves feel better and vindicatated. When looking at other peoples posts, if you admire the post, like them as you never know whether they are depending on likes for gratification themselves and it might just make them feel better! Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Don't throw stones at others, unless you would like others to throw stones at you. What gives others the right to criticise or judge others unless they too can take criticism or see their own faults! As Buddha said train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice . The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. He also said before you speak let your words pass through three gates. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
In a world where you can be anything be kind #inaworldyoucanbeanythingbekind
I am on a mission myself to help as many people as I can #feelheapsbetter and trained as an RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy) Practitioner. RTT can help individuals get to the root cause of their issues, what they are feeling, what triggers their mood or why they react in a certain way or what is stopping them progress. In just one session you can get the knowledge and understanding to enable you to make powerful transformations. So if you are really struggling or someone you know is struggling please do get in touch.