It often feels like there is pressure to always be posting on social media, especially if your job requires you to have some type of social media presence. I was actually applying to speak at a conference, and one of the questions asked me what my social media following was, and because of that question, I decided to close out of the application. To me, my social media following isn’t a representation of me. I could have 10 million followers and be unhappy. Or I could have 10 million followers that I bought that don’t even interact with me in real ways. Does that number really reflect the impact I have made on people’s lives? Does that number really reflect my character, my sense of humor, my caring nature or my persistence? No, it doesn’t show anything at all except for society’s constructed view of status. So I decided that the conference I thought might be good for me, actually wasn’t aligned with my goals, because social media has become increasingly less and less important to me over time.
I used to obsess about the number of likes I had, how many followers I had in terms of other people, or if I was posting too much or too little. I won’t lie and say that these thoughts never cross my mind anymore, because they sometimes do, but I know now that my self-worth is not determined by a number on social media and I know now that even though someone has millions of likes or followers, it does not equate to happiness. When I first started blogging and posting on social media, it was exciting for me and I would find time to post every single day on social media. But to be honest, life has happened in so many ways this past year, that I think more about growing my business or being there for my family, than I do about posting or scrolling. I’m not sure if I am at the point where I am taking a break from social media, but I do know that I will only post when my heart tells me to (which is often only once a week now) and that if my following grows, it will grow naturally.
If you have been feeling overwhelmed by social media, whether you feel the need to post for your job, or you have been struggling with comparing your life to your friends who seemingly look to be living the perfect life, or you simply have just lost the desire, it is more than okay. There is no rule that says you need to post or scroll or even have an account.
I think it is healthy to take breaks from social media, and to set realistic boundaries for yourself. And it is even more healthy to realize that no one’s life is perfect, despite all of those people who look like they are living perfect lives by constantly posting their successes and their travels to Bermuda and the Bahamas. Trust me, everyone has something that they are going through at any given time. Social media just shows a snapshot of a moment, often a moment that is a highlight. A moment that is constructed so carefully with filters and by constantly handing back the phone to the photographer to retake the photo for the 15th time until we look just right. It is a moment that appears to be perfect, full of a timeline of other seemingly perfect moments. But around those moments are real life experiences, that can be full of pain and sadness that we often don’t want the world to see.
So recognize what bothers you when it comes to social media, and recognize the strength you already have within you to make the decision to set boundaries or to take a break. Although social media can be good for growing your business or for seeking out motivational pages to uplift your spirit, it’s okay if it has become too much for you. It’s okay to say no to opportunities that ask you about your social media following. Because who really cares. I’d rather be remembered for my character and for all of the actions I’ve taken and lives I’ve changed, then for some number on a screen.
So, hello, my name is Ivy, I don’t care how many followers I have or how many followers that you have, because I think we are pretty awesome as we are, without numbers attached to our status. Take a break if you need it, set boundaries, your mental health will thank you, and you deserve to honor what your body and mind need.