The highlight reels, lavish lifestyles, and exceptional achievements of both older and younger people alike, are enablers of an internalized success sprint that equally motivates and aggravates me
I made a LinkedIn account just 3 years ago and I’ll be quick to say it’s not my favorite space on the internet. To be fed with someone else’s most recent promotion or hailed accomplishment or excessively profound professional pointers every time I logged on the app– what a feat. How could I not feel the tiniest bit of pressure to “hurry up” or “put myself out there” even more so than I already have? Why don’t I have any interesting career updates to share? I access my account once every other month or so, just to keep tabs with what’s going on with friends and family.
I think a lot about why I feel like I’m falling behind when I have a lot of good things going on for me. I take it that the age of social media plays a role in this cut-throat rat race I’m unconsciously running. The highlight reels, lavish lifestyles, and exceptional achievements of both older and younger people alike, are enablers of an internalized success sprint that equally motivates as it does aggravate me. Perhaps I’m not the only one
A nonchalant stroll through social media will greet you with a plethora of posts that range from someone’s latest staycation to another’s professional milestone. One’s toasting champagne on a yacht, another’s publishing a book, another’s designing a couture line– the list goes on. On top of that, the stories feature reinforces a handful of these posts to appear real-time, all the time. It makes it easy to think everyone is succeeding faster and living happier than you are. Then emerges this falsely motivated version of you who chases highlights and spreads yourself out too thin because you were made to think that you’re not running fast enough– not working hard enough.
To be detached from your feed is a taxing, habitually overlooked skill. But more often than not, someone’s notable accomplishments have marinated over years of practice and failure. No one has it that easy. No one is good at absolutely everything. Then again, it’s not second nature to see that when a premeditated post points to instancy. Authenticity. Effortlessness.
I’m not gloating. I think social media is phenomenal. It’s an exceptional tool to stay connected, document memories, and open doors for opportunities never thought to be possible. I have family and friends who have maximized these platforms and have made a living out of them. I tip my hat off to them. Heck, I’m writing my first post-graduation article for the Inquirer all thanks to LinkedIn. All I’m saying is that the mindless use of these platforms, without any real efforts to stay grounded, can provoke those feelings of pressure and inadequacy.
Reality is, social media is neutral. It’s a tool. How you navigate through it is up to your discretion (albeit the ever-evolving algorithms). This is where mindfulness comes to play; We must learn to be conscious consumers of digital content in the same way we’ve embraced conscious consumerism of material things.
As for me, I’m still struggling with how to detach myself from a space where everyone around me seems ten steps ahead. Twenty, even. However, to claim that I’ll be ditching social media someday is a stretch.
I write this as a reminder to take a step back. There will always be someone ahead of me. Likewise, there will always be someone behind me. In that sense, it becomes pointless to pursue things out of pressure when my pace is exactly that– it’s my own. It’s determined by who I am, the circumstances around me, and sometimes, sheer luck. To run the social media rat race is impractical and unfulfilling. Why sprint when I can stroll?