The Psychology of Social Media: The Road to Unhappiness

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It is disturbing.  The more time people spend on social media, the unhappier they get.  Why?

The answer is that most people put only their happy moments on social media.  It seems that they all travel, have fun with family, make new friends, get spectacular jobs and so on.  It seems that when you log on, the whole world is wonderful and everybody is having a great time.  Everybody, but you.  Have you had that feeling?

The issue is that you never hear about people not having money to travel, suffering from health problems, having had fights with their family or having been rejected by their friends.  Life seems always awesome on social media.  Sometimes it seems that the whole world is becoming rich, famous and successful.  Everybody , that is, but you.

The cause of all this apparent happiness is the delusion social media creates.  In a competitive society, nobody wants to reveal their defeats, sob stories or depressive moments.   Honesty is overrated.  Social media is the happy pill to make everything and everybody appear greater and larger than life.  Everybody, but you.

If you remain on social media, the belief that everybody’s life is great, but yours, can destroy your life.  It leads to jealousy, envy, sense of inadequacy and low self esteem.

The remedy is to realize that it is all a made-up world.  Life is challenging for everybody at times.  We all get beaten down into the mud.  You are not alone down there.  Yet, what is important is not that you are down in the mud, but to realize two things: 1) You are not alone and, 2) You can get up.

Here is a helpful exercise. Look at a picture of somebody who inspires you.  It can be a religious figure, a mythological being or a real-life person.  I use the Greek Goddess, Sophia, for this exercise.  Ask the being what you can do to make your own self happier, wiser, stronger and better.  Listen to the voice inside.  Whatever the voice says, do it!

The point is that you should stop looking at other people’s fake happy lives and create your own.  Stop the delusion by getting off of social media whenever you can and spend time making your own life happier.  The social media happy pill will just make you miserable.  It will give you the feeling that everybody is happy, but you.  Instead, ask what makes you happy and do it.  Happiness is not a matter of competition.  It is all about you.

So, ask the picture what makes you happy!  Then, log off and do it.

I hope this piece of wisdom has helped somebody out there!

M. J. Mandoki

 

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