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Social media is a space that was created by humans, and it can be fixed by humans.
It is a facade of all our voices managed through an algorithm that decides how we get likes, what makes us worthy of other people noticing us, and says who are the best humans when pitted against others.
It creates a feeling of unworthiness when we lose likes.
It creates a feeling of lost connection with ourselves when we tell our stories and they are misappropriated, leaving damaged spaces for healing or more healing to be done.
It creates a chance for hurt people to hurt people we’ve never met by projecting the stories we hold onto others from behind screens.
It creates the need to compare, judge, and shame each other.
It creates a feeling of stress in our everyday lives as we feel subpar for not being online enough or hurt by another, and these hurt emotions become secondary for us.
It creates an addiction for the next like, the next post. We feel like we must post at a certain time, buy that new thing, or look a certain way in order for us to feel good enough.
It creates a feeling of separation from what being human really is.
It has community guidelines we all must follow, except for when someone’s post gets taken down but that same post is left up on other pages, which is confusing. One person gets a strike for what they post, while another doesn’t.
It has unspoken rules that support addiction. You must be online more to get more likes, yet you should only post six hashtags in your post and the additional hashtags in your comments to reach more people. If you post certain photos, or like, comment, or answer messages too much, you will get shadowbanned.
It creates a space for people to preach kindness while judging you from behind their screens.
It creates a space for those to share their “happy” lives online, but inside they are dark, struggling with depression or anxiety, or even thoughts of suicide.
It shows unrealistic bodies that are often filtered or exercising beyond what most people could ever attain and makes us feel guilty when we don’t. It highlights movements and poses from these unrealistic bodies, while behind the scenes these people often have injuries from overdoing it.
It creates a reality that does not exist and pulls us so far into it that we aren’t consciously living a life. We end up dreaming of a life that does not exist or comparing ourselves to a version of happiness that isn’t real.
This list could go on forever, but here’s the good news:
Social media is also a space we can make better and more beautiful.
On social media and in our regular lives, we need to start choosing our preferences and actions based on what feels good and nourishes us, inside and out. We, as humans, must start making healthier choices.
Here are a few things we can do to make social media healthier for everyone:
Drop the need to compare, shame, and judge.
Follow those who make us feel joy and inspire us.
Unfollow or mute those who make us want to shame or judge or feel badly about ourselves.
Stop chasing a number to determine our worthiness; instead, make it about posting what brings us joy.
Practice what we preach; if we say we “do this exercise” or “eat this food,” we should be doing the same.
Be realistic about 30-day programs to learn a language, get this body, or perfect your splits.
Share candidly about the good and bad in your life, not just one story.
Choose to genuinely connect with those who are anxious, depressed, or struggling.
Use social media as the gift that it is—not a numbers game that determines whether we’re worthy or not.
It is a blessing that we can see the world and others’ lives at the tap of our fingertips; let’s rejoice in it with love instead of fear.
It is a gift that we can learn whatever we want online and make new friends.
It is a blessing that we can share our lives with our family and friends across the world and make it feel like we’re living in the same city.
It is a gift that we can work online, as long as we remind ourselves to rest, spend time with family, and have a life too.
What will truly change our world is not what we say is wrong, but what we do to fix what is wrong. That is our responsibility as humans: to respond to everything around us with accountability.