How To Survive The Age of Social Media

The thing is, it can be difficult to live in this modern world if you’re not strong enough. Wherever you look, there’s something or someone to remind you that you are not good enough; that where you are in life at the moment isn’t up to par compared to your peers; that you may be losing at life because your most recent photo in social media did not get at least 300 Likes; that you must be depressed or “anti-social” just because you don’t subscribe to celebrity news and gossip; that maybe you’re a failure because twelve months have already passed and you still haven’t traveled anywhere; that perhaps you’re disgustingly impoverished because the last photo of coffee you posted on your feed was already six weeks ago and it wasn’t even from Starbucks.

There are so many trivial things that somehow contribute to our anxiety and our feelings of defeat, disappointment, and guilt within ourselves. For a lot of people, living in this social-media-driven world can be so stressful that it literally puts them in a state of panic, sometimes without them really even noticing.

The unfortunate truth is, if you’re not a vlogger, a social media influencer, a celebrity, or somebody born rich, being on social media can give more stress than inspiration or recreation.

So how does one survive “the age of social media”? This goes not only to the older generations but also to the millennials themselves. So here it is:

You survive by looking at a former college classmate’s epic photo in Mykonos and reminding yourself that as much as sipping cocktails in Greece sounds like a lot of fun, you do not absolutely need to be there;

You survive by developing an attitude of being happy for someone else’s happiness and successes instead of being envious.

You survive by inspiring yourself, instead of comparing yourself.

You survive by skipping the Messenger chat and directly calling up a friend to invite him to lunch.

You survive by taking hundreds of photographs of you and your loved ones on a trip, and having those photos printed out to be filed in an album, even if you only do this once in a while.

You survive by putting down your phone when your parents are talking to you, and actually listening to them.

You survive by taking out the headphones on a solo trip and starting conversations with other travelers.

You survive by going to a concert, or a play, or a music festival, and actually living in the moment, hearing every word spoken or sung, seeing every movement, breathing in deeply and closing your eyes when a gust of wind comes.

You survive by being on the beach to watch the sunset and, even just for a moment, actually seeing it through your eyes and not through the lenses of your phone camera.

You survive by looking at someone straight in the eyes when they are talking to you.

You survive by going for a jog or a walk and actually being present in the moment; by allowing real thoughts and raw emotions come to you while you’re on the move.

You survive by spending less time looking down, and more time looking ahead, looking up, looking sidewards, backwards; just any direction other than down.

You survive by waking up every morning literally counting your blessings, out loud; by being grateful for what it is that you have, and who it is that you are.

You survive by acknowledging that you are the only person you should be comparing yourself to; that you must constantly seek ways to be not just better, but the best version of you.

You survive by giving yourself permission to breathe through the obstacles and breathe in the victories.

Speaking of victories, there are many tiny victories within your day, no matter how terribly you think your day is going — There is victory in you waking up, there is victory in you being able to taste and swallow your meal (and the mere fact that you even have a meal to taste and swallow), there is victory in you having limbs that allow you to walk and lungs that allow you to breathe. And there is victory in the fact that you are reading this right now, with your eyes, which allow you to see beautiful things, places and people.

And so you survive by reminding yourself that happiness isn’t just a destination but a journey; that success isn’t a race but a dance; that having money and fame doesn’t always equal having a good life.

You survive, quite simply, by being nothing and no one else but yourself.

That fabulous, alive, amazing self. 🍃

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Prisoner

As I was lying down on my bed, legs up against the headboard with my back flat on the mattress and my eyes glued to the ceiling, I remembered two things:

1. This position is good for my overall health. My mother told me this releases stress by immediately encouraging blood flow to my upper body and my brain. And if I have enough time or patience to stay in this position for 15 minutes or more, there’s even the chance that my anxious thoughts and negative emotions would entirely dissipate.

2. I am and have always been the only person who truly knows what it’s like to be me. From the earliest moment of consciousness one fateful day during my childhood, all the way up to this very nanosecond, I have been the only one who fully feels, thinks, and acts the way that I do. My voice is the only voice my vocal cords have ever known; my eyes are the only eyes through which I’ve ever seen; my mind is the only mind with which I’ve ever thought, analyzed, overthought; my skin is the only skin under which every single inch of me has ever existed.

And this scared me for a bit. The panic started to creep in. It’s scary to realize that I am literally stuck inside my own body, and that I have to live the rest of my life stuck with my own thoughts and emotions. Just mine and nobody else’s. Forever. I will never know what it’s truly like to be my sibling — what does he think of at night when he lies awake for hours, unable to sleep? Or my bestfriend — what does he see when he looks at himself in the mirror? Or my father — what thoughts does he have each time I talk or act a little too feminine for his liking? Or the barista at the local café across the street — how does she hear her own voice inside her head? Is it raspy? Does she think it’s way too high-pitched? Is she one of those people who hate listening to their own voices? Or Angelina Jolie — what ideas come to her while she’s sitting on the potty at 10AM?

I will never truly know. And even if they all told me the answers to those questions, those are just answers that will be processed in my head by my own brain, through my own ears, taking into account my own experiences. I would still be the me that I’ve always been, regardless of how descriptive and in-depth their answers to my questions would be.

However, as I was capping off the yoga-ish position on my bed at exactly 15 minutes, I decided that I also find this truth comforting: I am trapped inside my own self, my own physical body. And I am also stuck inside my own head, only truly knowing what it’s like to have my own thoughts, desires and understanding. I figured, if my eternal biological prison was myself, that it would be best for me to try and make it the brightest, kindest, healthiest, most decorative prison my mind, heart, and body would ever know. I figured it isn’t too bad that I am stuck as me. This way, I get to choose what and whom I let in, what and whom I let out.