IT STARTS WITH ME
The pressure to please everyone and meet everyone’s expectation is growing more and more challenging with the rise of social media. From Tik-Tok to Facebook, it really is hard to be everything we “think” we need to be. Photo filters mask reality and the constant flow of negative opinions and angry comments can make even the happiest people grumpy. It seems as if being mean is trending and that is NOT ok.
CONFESSION: I woke up in a panic, as if I was young yesterday and today I woke up old. I still really can’t believe I’m 50. That is just 5 years younger than when my parents retired and moved here – which feels like just a couple of years ago. I moved into this house when I was 35! That’s a a baby!
Where does the time go? Why do I have this sense of intense pressure as if the clock ticks louder and faster now? Why am I bummed about my wrinkles and sagging skin? Who sets the standard of what 50 is supposed to look like or act like? I am almost ashamed of the thoughts in my head. Why do I put so much pressure on myself?
Then I read the news of the apparent suicide of former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst.
Some of her last words were, “turning 30 feels like a cold reminder that I’m running out of time to matter in society’s eyes”.
She apparently jumped to her death Sunday. How sad. Her life was just beginning – and she already felt the pressures of society’s expiration date. We are obviously doing so much wrong! Something has to change.
A BROKEN SOCIETY
Social media has its benefits. I love staying connected with friends and family, but I also see how much pressure it puts on people to be perfect and to meet everyone’s unrealistic expectations. In addition, being mean seems to be trending. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to have a say in how you live, think and speak. And, social media gives everyone a platform to speak opinions and insults, causing even more pressure, anxiety and division. It’s like everyone wants to find fault in everyone. Everyone wants you to know you are broken. Lord knows I already know that. I’m human.
When did it start being ok to be so mean? Cheslie Kryst said she constantly was deleting comments from people saying she wasn’t pretty enough to be Miss USA – and even bashed her muscular physique. With increased “fans” and “friends” who are not really friends, comes increased critics and even enemies.
What if we only used social media to lift people up and find common ground?
As a kid, like most kids, I got teased for all kinds of stuff – for being skinny, for having freckles, big teeth, long hair, having a birthmark, for my choice of clothes, for being in the band, for smiling too much (yes, I actually was made fun of for that too), the list goes on. (Yes, this is a picture me, and no wonder I got teased! Look at those awesome flybacks! HA!)
Kids were mean but, even as a kid, I knew it was almost expected (kids being kids) but it still hurt. Now adults are even meaner. As an adult I have had had disapproval from the food I eat to not doing a post on a holiday someone felt I should address. How can anyone live up to everyone’s demands? Who do they think I am? Who do they think they are?
American Needs To Grow Up
We need to quit acting like jealous mean grade school bullies. America needs change and it has to start with each one of us and how we treat people.
We need to reshape society and not let “them” (whoever “they” are) tell us what old is, pretty is, right is, etc. We need to do our part. So what if it only impacts our small circle of active friends on facebook. Even if OUR COMMITMENT can impact ONE LIFE, it’s enough.
FIGHT THE TREND – LIFT OTHERS
Look how suicide mirrors social media usage, according to the Our World In Data.
The answer is not escaping social media. I believe the answer is helping to reshape social media. If you feel the same way I do then YOU can help me make a difference. YOU can be light. YOU can remind people that our imperfect normal lives are awesome!
WHAT IF, we all did our part to make social media more positive. Think of the difference it would make – even if 20 of us, 50 of us, 100 of us… committed to doing our part. If we REFUSED to participate, like or share anything negative, ugly or stressful? We can do our part to help fight only bullying and depression, and improve the atmosphere of our society online and in our local communities.
Lift someone up today. Point out strengths. Honor people publicly. Respect people. If you can’t say anything nice, stay quiet. If you don’t agree, it’s ok. Don’t argue. Make a commitment to NOT point out people’s differences or weaknesses. Make a commitment to keep your mouth lovingly and patiently closed and your typing fingers off the keyboard when you are upset. Be intentionally loving and supportive everywhere you go.
Let’s not use social media to publicly slander a business or a person. Let’s share joy, love, knowledge, encouragement and hope. Let’s cover people’s weaknesses, not expose them. Let’s live a life that brings light and joy everywhere we go.
I love Taylor Madu’s Instagram bio: “I’m going to spend the rest of my life making people feel less broken”. What if we all lived with that goal?
Wow. What a world we’d live in.
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