“I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.” – Charles Cooley
A month ago I decided to take a hiatus from social media. Although I enjoy creating meaningful content and connecting with people online, I'll admit I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. My perception had become muddied by my desire for success, and the use of others’ validation to scale that success. There was a reoccurring feeling of ‘not being good enough,’ ‘not doing enough;' I felt like a hamster running on a wheel, staying busy but ultimately getting nowhere.
Within the first week off, I felt the stress begin to dissipate from my body. I was more engaged in my classes, conversations, and overall life. The lack of information input and output allowed me to complete projects with greater concentration. I felt joy and ease. “I could do this forever,” I thought. Unfortunately, social media is a necessary part of my life. It is the fastest and most direct way to connect with many incredible people, share my classes, and advertise my work.
The psychologist Nathaniel Branden said, “The first step toward change is awareness.” As I re-enter the digital world, I strive to do so with the reminder that my perception cannot be defined by how others view me, and success cannot be scaled by outer influence. I think that this lesson in awareness can be applied to most vices and I prompt myself with these questions to stay grounded:
What is my motivation? How do I feel while I am engaging? How do I feel afterward? What is the benefit? It’s important to remember that we cannot exist in a state of perfection, we can however find meaning in each experience that we have.