‘You are only as good as the company you keep.’ It’s a saying we know well and, time and time again, we discover is all too true. We are all a reflection of the characters we associate with and how we perceive the world, perceive ourselves and are perceived by others is very much down to our community. It’s why quitting the tiresome battle to pal around with every person in the playground is a paramount part of growing up and, instead, we learn to narrow our circles to the select few who offer genuine friendship and bring out the very best in each of us.
It’s obvious that we ought to fill our lives with people who share our values, positively challenge our thinking and provide comfort and inspiration in times of need. In real life, we’re quick to identify and cut out those who would tear us down, make us question our worth and spread doubt and negativity in their wake. Yet, when it comes to social media, most of us aren’t so efficient at filtering out the same toxicity.
On social media, our mentality reverts to that of school children, earning status by involvement with an ‘in-crowd’ and seeking a juvenile sense of importance through fickle friendships and statistical popularity. The vast majority of us follow hundreds, if not thousands, of personalities online and, at the same time, we actively strive to harvest our own community. Our virtual network is built through who we follow and who follows us but, undiscerning as this network may be, it has a very real effect on who we are as individuals.
When choosing who to invest in on social media, we often get caught-up in the crowd. Who is everyone else following? Who is everyone else adoring? Platforms are teeming with aesthetically focused content, capturing our attention with their ability to turn heads and give us a material ideal to reach for. Like an infant drawn to shiny things, we’re most entranced by the brightest and most boastful of lifestyles and become quickly fixated on reaching these feats too. But in our faddish frenzy for looks and lavish adventures, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly serves our wellbeing and what messages align with who we are. What serves to inspire and educate, and what simply steals our happiness.
More and more, it’s becoming apparent the great violence social media inflicts on our ambitions, goals, confidence and self esteem. Its artfully filtered snapshots create an expectation that life can never measure up to. The harder we try to achieve the visionary bodies we worship daily and the more we long for a picture perfect set up, the further from hapiness we carry ourselves because such a reality can never exist. These dreams set us up for failure from the outset and will always manifest misery.
But the hindrances of a shallow social media network are even more severe than just creating an unachievable intention, for while we are striving for perfection, we ignore and dismiss the things of true value. We don’t entertain the idea that there is more substance to life than a perfect exterior, and more fulfillment to be found beyond this perfection. In shunning this potential, we do ourselves the biggest disservice.
If you invest in your network wisely, social media can become a platform for so much greatness. It can let you engage in critical discussions, explore a variety of viewpoints and expand your mind in many different ways. You can build yourself a beautiful network that enriches your perspective, challenges your thoughts and transforms your worldview. This is nothing short of magical. But it can only be found if you let go of aesthetic desires and distance yourself from the community that harbour empty conversations and foster insecurity.
There’s effort involved in creating a network that offers more than unrealistic expectations and a stream of self-affliction, it’s true. You may need to look harder and dig deeper to uncover the right community that will bolster and build the beauty in you. But once you shut out the noise of popularity and search instead for the words and messages of real substance, you’ll find a headspace where positivity and inspiration are almost common-place and easy to create.
Consider your environment online and the network you’re immersed in. Consider the tone of those who you follow and who follow you. Do they emanate your values and speak your words? Are they a community there to reflect and remind you of your greatness? Or do they merely stifle your ambitions and put a veil over your potential by narrowing your focus on insignificant aesthetics. If it doesn’t light a joyful fiery passion inside you, let it go and look for more. You deserve that much.
Want to learn the best habits to beat your social media addiction? Check out these 12 that have really helped transform my productivity and mentality towards the scroll.