Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a productive and fun weekend. Before diving into today’s musings, I thought I’d point out a small change to the blog. You may or may not have noticed that the fitness category officially morphed into health. Why you might ask? Because, honestly, being healthy isn’t just about exercise. It’s about the whole person; the mind, body and spirit. I realized I could just focus on one piece, but then I’d be missing out on some of the most important aspects of what we really need to be healthy. You can be in perfect physical shape, but if your heart and mind aren’t being cared for in the same manner then, chances are, you’re not truly whole. So on that note, this post focuses not so much on the physical but more on the mind and spirit.
Social media has been in my thoughts a lot lately. I’m not talking the technology driven, blog enhancing, high school sweetheart stalking side of it. I’m talking about the way it can change the perception of ourselves and the people around us. Is it just me or do you sometimes feel like we have more ways than ever to communicate with one another online, and yet we’ve never been more distant and separated? Do you ever scroll down the homepage of your Facebook, glancing at all the happy posts and smiling faces and feel as though you’re the only one struggling with problems and challenges? How about the fact that looking at all that perfect happy living makes you feel like you can’t talk about the problems in your own life or the struggles you might be enduring because, after all, why would anyone want to hear about your drama when they could be looking at the cute puppy video that Bob posted earlier that morning?
Now don’t get me wrong. I love posting stuff online as much as the next girl, but I think we need to remember to put it in perspective. More and more we rely on these services to keep up with the people in our lives. We assume that if we hit “like” on their post or they on ours, that we’ve communicated in some way. The problem though, as I see it, is that clicking a heart or thumbs up isn’t authentic communication. No actual words are ever really being exchanged and even if you decide to add a sentence or two, is it really a replacement for face to face contact or a phone call? Despite all the chatter and information sharing, the internet can become a pretty superficial and lonely place if you let it. True friendships require voices and face time. Being open and vulnerable with your emotions is the key to human connection. Share your real self with another person and I guarantee that bond only becomes stronger.
As we spend less time making true connections and more time posting online, it also stands to reason that we think less about others and focus more on ourselves. Let me throw out the example of the humble selfie. We’ve all taken them at one point or another. And what do we do with said selfies? We put them online of course. And why do we put them online? To see how many of our friends like us and maybe even comment; a surefire way to help us to feel better about ourselves. We don’t do this with malintent, but the results are a turning inward rather than outward. We end up thinking less about others and more about ourselves. We start comparing against each other, noting that person A has more friends or person B has a more beautiful home or person C seems to always get the good luck.
We forget that true happiness isn’t about how many friends we can amass or how much money we have compared to our neighbor. It’s about being fullfilled with who we are inside and out. It’s accepting our flaws and imperfections as well as those of others and recognizing that no one, not even the cute guy with 1,000 facebook friends is perfect. It’s liking people, truly liking them, for who they are and the qualities they have to offer. It’s getting off the internet and getting out in the world to share the beauty that’s in all of us with one other.
There’s a place in the world for social media and you can be sure that I’ll be using it just as much as next the gal. But from here on out, it will be done with a renewed awareness and the prospective scheduling of a face to face coffee date with a friend the minute I disconnect.