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#YouthDay: Social Media Mindfulness

One of the greatest struggles of youth today is that they are being raised in a world that is constantly connected. While this digital age has its advantages, it also has a downside.

Because the youth are constantly exposed to the lives of everyone around them, they easily fall prey to ‘comparisonitis’ – comparing themselves to everyone online. This is often a downward social comparison, because the reality is that most people only ever post the highlights of their lives on social media. 

So if one compares their ordinary day to someone’s highlight reel, they’re bound to feel that other’s have it better, because they’re not seeing the other person’s behind-the-scenes. 

So we need to be more realistic about what we see on social media, realising that nobody’s life is perfect, and those who have achieved anything worthwhile have had to work hard. No one is immune to suffering. Instead of feeling demotivated, youth should rather feel inspired by reminding themselves that if others can achieve something, then it means that they can as well. 

Be mindful about who you follow on social media and how their feeds make you feel. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel unworthy or incapable.

Be mindful of your social media use. Monitor your time online. How much of time are you spending online and how exactly is that time benefitting you? If there is no direct benefit, then you need to think about reallocating your time more purposefully.

The pressure to keep up with the Kardashians, Kandasamys, or whoever is trending at the time is also great for teenagers. There is nothing special about everyone dressing the same, having the same hairstyle, or going to the same restaurants just because it is instagrammable. It means that we are not being true to ourselves but are just ‘doing it for the ‘gram’ to use social media speak.

What makes you different makes you beautiful. Don’t be afraid to embrace your authenticity. This means doing what makes you happy; what feels good for you – even if it’s not trending. There is nothing special about you if you are the same as everyone else. Br proud to be who you truly are. 

Sometimes we are afraid that being ourselves may mean being rejected. This is a valid fear. However, it also means that you will attract true friends into your life – the friends that accept the real you.

Remember that if you are just living for social media, then you are not truly living. Think about your future goals and dreams and spend each day taking a step closer. It may mean missing a few parties, but there is no need for FOMO when you are building your dreams. 

True and lasting success comes when you are willing to trade in temporary and impulsive pleasures for consistent effort that will lead you to your dreams.

* Beekrum is a psychologist in Durban North with over 10 years of experience in marital therapy. You can follow her on Facebook (Rakhi Beekrum - Psychologist) and Instagram (@rakhibeekrum)

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