Currently, I am writing on my IPad. My iPhone is next to me, and I have my Louis Armstrong music playing on it. Meanwhile, the video gaming system illuminates the living room and in between games my husband checks his iPhone for how to go about working through the various levels of the game.
All while we both indulge in our electronics, there is an absolutely gorgeous view of a sunset outside our bay view window; something real, tangible. However, in the current moment we are not so focused on the tangible.
I go to scorn myself for not just stepping outside and taking this moment in. However, I quickly realize this is our normal.
Have you ever been to an airport and waited to board your plane? In that moment, (PSA- you must look up from your phone first) probably 99% of people are dabbling in some type of electronic media.
We constantly are feeding our brains endless streaming media, music, social media interaction; constantly stimulating ourselves with experiences outside of the physical present.
What is crazy, is the fact that I am ONLY 28 and I feel as if I “missed” that social media window. In high school and college, we only had Facebook and Twitter.
However, this is our society and we embrace it. The new realm of social media has brought us new ways to connect on certain issues and even cope with others. Online therapy like TalkSpace has influenced many lives by way of the internet.
Like anything in life, it’s all about moderation and how you utilize it. That’s where we struggle.
Social media tends to present “the best in life”. Most don’t take to their accounts and post pictures of what we may perceive as negative. We see “perfect lives” being lived each day.
Most call it “The Comparison Trap”; the greatest relationship, the perfect hair, the perfect job, the glowing skin, the amazing body, the endless wealth. Individuals scroll through and immediately feel inadequacy, leading to depression and feelings of hopelessness.
First off, it’s okay to feel like that. It’s okay to feel like you don’t have it all together. No one actually does, and we all experience turmoil.
The craziest thing about this comparison trap is the fact that if you are comparing yourself to others- someone is comparing themselves to you, as well. It’s an endless chain of uneasy anxiety that ignites an inferno of self-doubt and questioning of self-worth.
Fun Fact: You rarely see someone boasting about how grand their mental health is. “I love to eat this rare berry and fancy veggie blend because it makes my mental health just glow!” -NO!
Why is this? As a society, we have pushed mental health into this box that has been less of an important stature because we are a people of the pleasure. If we love what we see, we want it. Whether that’s a cooler wardrobe or long locks of gorgeous hair, we see health as thriving in materialistic beauty.
We can’t show what goes on behind these close doors because it may not be that perfect picture we paint. We worry about discussing mental health for fear of judgement or possibly we feel that no one can relate. We worry that using our platform to paint any other picture than what we “think” we should be will lead to harsh feedback from peers. So we comb through every post ever so slightly, keeping in mind what “our perfect” looks like.
If you find yourself in this comparison trap, please know your life is beautiful. Your journey is beautiful because it is yours and no one else’s.
Your life is meaningful.
You may feel like you’re stuck, but I promise you it’s going to be OK. With so many things available to us in life, I know sometimes it’s tough to figure out “who we are”, “who we want to be” or “what we want to do”.
I put these in “quotes” because we base our self worth in life a lot of the time by how we define ourselves. Whether that’s a job, our style or whatever it may be, sometimes we measure ourselves up to a “certain standard”.
(However- It’s great to have goals and to pursue your destiny. You Do You!)
But- At the end of the day, if all of that was taken away-whatever you define yourself/measure your self worth to- how would you feel?
Personally, I think “we” as a society have it all twisted. The most important thing we can invest in above all else is our mental health. How you feel directly correlates to your day, your relationships; our minds can trap our very being or our minds can free us.
Your degree doesn’t give you the ability to sleep at night. Your job doesn’t provide consistent internal happiness. That new diet fad is not going to help you discover the incredible person you really need to believe that you are.
Right now- where you are, who you are and what you are doing is enough. Regardless of what you may see, you give so much meaning and make such an impact just being you.
Hoping this helps someone in some way.
Amber Lynn Carroll
(A.K.A Jake’s sister)
(Disclosure: I do not own rights to this article or media in this blog post. We share blog posts, media, articles, etc. to point people in a gentle direction towards learning more about mental health.)