Good ol’ social media is creating a false sense of reality in yet another aspect of our lives. I truly have been enjoying the positivity movement and self-love trend that the Internet has partaken in – don’t get me wrong. That being said, I am starting to wonder if the pressure of social media has in some way or another tainted self-love. It, at the very least, has created expectations on exactly what and how self-love is or should be.
Have you bought yourself something because you wanted to “treat” yourself, because you deserved it all in the name of self-love, even though it was clearly against your budget? Did it later cause you much more additional stress? The Internet has created this sense of what it means to love our selves. It’s posted everywhere; in the form of hashtags, articles, and Pinterest quotes. We are constantly seeing friends travel, buying new items, revamping careers all in the name of self-love. This is fantastic, by the way, but we’re forgetting a very key point right now. Self-love is determined by one’s self. Which means each journey, each move we make, should be different. The goal is to love and understand our selves better as individuals.
All these expectations cause us to want to feel and see ourselves a certain way. Its almost contradicting to the entire thought process of loving and finding ones' self.
How do we stop it from happening?
We can’t. What we CAN do is be more mindful about ourselves. This is not a quick journey. I’ve realized that the road to self-love leads to taking many steps backwards and exercising a lot of patience. In a society where we demand instant gratification, we’re trying to instantly gain self-love. It doesn’t work that way. A few years back, I was watching the show Mad Men, and there was a quote on there that forever stuck out to me. “What is Happiness? Happiness is the moment before you need more happiness.” I thought how deep and how accurate it was for today’s society, even though the show was based on the 1950-60s. I believe that was the start of it all. This is the start of our instant gratification culture. Buying a new pair of shoes, taking a bath-bomb-bubble-bath or having a piece of chocolate cake is only enough self-love to get us through that moment.
Social media isn’t showing how dark the road to self-love can get. It neglects to show that the journey is often spending more time alone. This journey leads to a lot of “ah-ha!” moments, but within those moments you feel as if you’re going backwards. I think self-love is the only thing that you can go backwards on yet still improve.
What I mean by that is in order to move forward, you have to go backwards a few times. This journey makes you want to give up, it makes you doubt yourself, it makes you fall into the triggers that were alarming to you. But after all of that, you’re able to pick yourself up and remember that some days are harder than others. None of that is ever portrayed through social media.