“What’s up with the long face?” Uju asked as she dropped her bag and sat on the bed beside her friend.
“Why am I so unfortunate?” Tejiri asked back with teary eyes. “Why is my life so stale and backward? Look at my mates and how great their lives are. I am just here wasting away,” she continued lamenting.
“Where is all this coming from?” Uju asked, really concerned. “When we both left for work this morning, I was with a bright and cheery Tejiri. Who are you now and what have you done with my friend?”
Tejiri tried to smile amidst her tears. “Uju, I feel so bad. I hate my life and the fact that at this age I haven’t been able to make any real accomplishment. Why am I such a waste? Look at Chizzy, Ada and even Ngozi that just came to Lagos few months ago. She not only owns a car now but is paying her rent herself. I have been here for the past 5 years and still, I have nothing to show for it.”
“What nonsense is spewing out of your mouth, this evening?” Uju asked, getting angry. “I can see you have been on Instagram and Facebook again. I think it’s high time you got off social media for a while because it’s beginning to mess with your mind.”
Same advice goes to most of us who feel the need to compare our lives with others all because of what we see on social media.
Why do you feel all these people you come across on social media have it all sweet or rosy? Who says these people are living their best lives? Do you know their actual story or just the story they have crafted for you to see?
Now your self-esteem is so low that you feel worthless. Why are you suddenly on the comparison scale and feel your life is so useless?
Social media has found its way to become an all encompassing part of our lives. WhatsApp statuses, Facebook, Instagram have caused a lot of people more harm than good because they don’t know how or where to draw the line between being grateful and getting greedy.
How about getting off social media for a while to clear your mind and get your head back in the game? There’s a chance of an increase of happiness when you do this.
In her research in a recently published study conducted in 2018, Sarah Eichmeyer, researcher in Stanford’s economics department, studied Facebook de-activation. She followed subjects who got off of Facebook for a month and measured how they felt afterwards.
“We find that being off Facebook left our participants feeling happier and less anxious, on average,” she told Bustle. “But the overall emotional impact, while meaningful, is quite small.”
Eichmeyer was shocked that there was impact at all.
“It’s surprising to me that Facebook has a detectable impact on people’s happiness,” she told the publication. “Our study shows that deactivating Facebook indeed causes people to be happier — although not by as much as correlational research might have suggested.”
We each differ in strengths as well as weaknesses. Social media in itself isn’t a bad tool. In fact, any communication or social tool can be positive or negative, it’s all contingent on how it is used. Understand these platforms and their effect on you and then make the necessary adjustments.
“Like anything, social media are not inherently good or bad, as that is up to the user,” psychotherapist Dr. Lisa Larsen, PsyD, told Bustle. “Some people use them to stalk ex-lovers or promulgate troubling beliefs, while others use it how it was probably intended — to keep in touch with loved ones and friends.”