Opinion: Why our social media obsession is toxic

Cover credit: Huffington Post

Cover credit: Huffington Post

When Facebook made its big debut, I was in middle school and didn’t pay it much attention then. But a few years later, I realized I was on the outside. Almost everyone had an account on Facebook and I found myself left out in conversations about posts they made the previous night.

So, I joined the trend. I posted pictures, commented, wrote status after status all to feel a sense of belonging. The trend, over time took a toxic turn; people posted to feel better about themselves, and they kept coming back for more.

You see when you seek validation through something you post and see that red glad popping on our screen, the reward systems in your brain light up and you feel good. So, you keep doing it over and over again. “Post, likes, satisfaction”: the never-ending cycle. It becomes so hard to break it, you got so used to it. But you need to ask yourselves what reasons lie behind it.

Why is it that you seek approval from others? Is it a desire for community? Unresolved conflicts with your loved ones? Or perhaps it’s thriving upon hearing praise. Knowing the root of the problem is essential to breaking the habit.

You see, just as you get a sense of excitement from receiving recognition, you might easily break down if you happen not to. The lack of comments and likes might give you the false idea that you are no longer accepted or loved, when in truth it has nothing to do with that at all.

That is why it’s imperative to pinpoint what is it that is driving you to the “post, like, satisfaction” cycle so you can work on breaking it.

Many people post out of discontent and the posts they see fuel it even more. Social media has a way of making everything seem way more important than it is. I could take a picture of me taking a walk, and with the right filter and captions make it look like I am out on some marvelous adventure, making you wonder how come your life is so boring compared to mine. In truth, I might be taking out the garbage, but you don’t know that and neither do my followers.

Our worlds are all ordinary, there is nothing we can see that should make us believe we lead boring lives. If you want to go out on an adventure, you can. And if you want to stay home, you can as well.

When you have self approval and love, all the effort you place on gaining it from others can be placed into more useful activities and interests. It can be placed into building hobbies that develop you own sense of self-content.

Social media isn’t some whooping trend you can’t control. It gets its power from the people. It doesn’t have to infiltrate every aspect of your lives. You can decide when and where to put the limits.