I watched a documentary about the growing reliance on social media and the impact it has on our lives, health, self esteem etc. it was very disturbing in some ways and very informative in other ways.
It even made reference to how social media, online bullying, and negative comments were causing a frightening number of suicides and depression. Truly horrifying!
I am reminded how chronically ill sufferers can rely heavily on social media for communication, information and contact with the outside world, due to being unable to physically interact, and how this can make us extremely vulnerable.
I also note here how healthy people have been emotionally scarred and hurt by the comments of online strangers, imagine how it would be felt by someone who is struggling to make a new life or new identity through very difficult illnesses??!!
The question which arose to me is …”how much credence should we place in social media?”… “How much can we believe social media and allow it to affect our life choices and self esteem?”
To me the answer has become that we should place very little stock in any personal attacks or advice and remember that [they] are still strangers and have no idea of our personal history, our character, our health, our choices, our principles, our circumstances and therefore they should have no power or influence over us.
We must be able to separate and make our own choices and withstand attacks on our emotional skin. It’s a sad but true reality.
If person A doesn’t like you or agree with you, so what?! Do they have any real investment in your ongoing welfare or circumstances? No? Then we need to bare that in mind!!
Nothing is more important than our own self worth, and we must be prepared to guard it and feed it like a mother to her cubs. Despite whatever our own health challenges.
Today’s reality is that there are millions of people out there all trying to leave a mark and reach out through this amazingly influential medium. But there are also spammers, bullies, people with issues, people with no accountability for their actions and words, who can feel empowered by the anonymity or the protection of the screen/monitor/phone.
Is this the people we want to give power over our lives and feelings? I certainly don’t.
I believe that through illness, struggle, weakness, pain and challenges that I now have a much stronger idea of who really cares about me and whose opinions really matter to me.
I believe there are still lessons to be learned from any situation. Even difficult and painful ones.
It has been surprising to find out that the number of people who truly matter and count is very small, but it is also reassuring to know that that number is made up of people who truly know me, value me and have my best interests at heart.
Social media can still be a fun and entertaining way to spend a moment or to ‘check in’ on an old friend or loved one, but I have learned to never let it influence who I am or how much I value/like/respect myself.
Nobody is allowed that right without earning it over many years and many experiences together. They must have my trust and respect and that is earned.
I no longer care about the number of people who like my comments, follow me or endorse me. If I have helped someone through something I have written than that’s a good result, but I also believe it is beyond my control and it is not a reflection of who I am or how worthy I am as a writer or person.
Life can teach us so much from many different situations and experiences. I have found my self esteem and self worth has been rebuilt through various trials and tests and I have been reminded of who really does matters in the big picture of my life.
It’s funny how life works!