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Social Media Can Destroy Your Life... If You Let It!

Being in Theatre, you get used to all of the constructive criticism (and even the harsh “criticism”) from local peers for your performance on the stage. You are being vulnerable , and people will judge your performance one way or another. I would say I like this aspect of the Theatre/Performance world. I am constantly wanting to grow and improve, so I welcome any critiques. Back when I was first on Facebook after High School, I don’t remember social media being a place of negativity. It was a cool place to keep up with people. I would say in the past 5 years, the social media world has exploded, and I have to admit that it has become very hard for me to be on it at times. This is one of those times.

Of course, there are pros and cons to social media. I am connected with so many people I can’t see very often, including many family members. You get instant updates on news, performances, etc. I use it myself to market any productions I am in and to post pictures. I find awesome ideas on social media for crafting - I love throwing a good party and scrapbooking. I can instantly watch videos to learn new music or to see amazing performances! But lately, I have seen social media become much more of a negative place. Now, with Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, I feel so much pressure to act a certain way or look a certain way, and subconsciously, I have created these unrealistic expectations in my head that I cannot obtain, which has created a great source of anxiety for me. It has left me feeling very unworthy and sad. That is not healthy!

Don’t get me wrong - I know I put myself out there when I post things, and as a result, I will be judged based on one photo or comment or “like." I am guilty of doing the same thing to others. But, whatever happened to real, face-to-face conversations? I created this blog as a place for me to discuss things like this. People who are interested will read it, and people who aren't might pass on it. It is more of a “safe place” for me. But, is it really? Honestly, on social media, your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The hard lesson for me is that not everyone is going to like me - I can’t please everyone, and people WILL be harsh sometimes. They will hide behind their computers, judge you, or talk about you with others, and it has become extremely vicious. Social media is majorly affecting relationships, friendships, marriages, work life - you name it. Facebook has especially become the playground for debates, and I refuse to participate. It is usually just an argument, and no matter what, someone will be offended. Always. And it does not change anything.

I love fashion and all things girly, but my end goal is not to be "Instagram Famous," as you might call it. It is to encourage and help others who are struggling with mental health problems. It’s a huge problem for so many people. Of course, you want people to think you have it all together - you have all this money, this “picture perfect life” by posting the “perfect” picture with clever captions & filters. But, it is NOT REALITY. I don't have it all together. I am broken, and I cannot keep finding my worth from social media. There is one thing (and one thing only) that gives me worth and purpose, and that is Jesus Christ. It has been said that “Comparison is the thief of all JOY” - and it IS.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2

The Lord does not want us to live in a state of envy for others or feeling bad about ourselves. I don’t need social media approval to have a fulfilling and honest life. This is my current struggle, and little did I know that after I launched the blog, it would become worse. Am I posting enough? Do people like it? Do they care? But, that’s where I am off. That is NOT important. But I am growing - growing in my faith, as a person, and putting it all into perspective. After all, I am a work in progress!

As a person who deals with anxiety, it is a daily struggle. But that’s only if I let it. These thoughts come into my head constantly, but I am learning to re-direct them to a more positive place. Your mind is a battlefield! You don’t even realize you are thinking these thoughts until days later. I’ve been stuck in a world where I’ve let others dictate how I feel about myself, when in reality, none of that matters.

I am working on having a more healthy balance with social media - taking a break for a few days, being intentional with all relationships (no phones when talking!), and not staying on it for very long. Every person is different, and it may not affect someone else like it affects me. That’s ok. I know social media is a way to reach out to people - that’s my end goal. I would encourage & challenge each of you to evaluate your time on social media. It could possibly be affecting you or your relationships and you don’t even realize it. Do what works best for YOU but know that you are loved & WORTHY with or without social media! <3

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth." Psalm 139: 15-18

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