I recently began cross-stitching as a hobby and method of self-care. I have little to no talent with thread and needle so it was, and still is, a challenge to get everything in place and operating smoothly. Nonetheless, I jumped in with the meager instructions that came with my kit.
This is how my first cross-stitch ended up:
I felt proud and accomplished to create something legible from scratch. But as I flipped from front to back, I found myself wanting to hide the disorganized chaos that was on the back as if it somehow took away from the artwork on the other side.
On social media, we typically choose to show only the finished and polished product of our lives and hide the mess and difficulties that happen behind the scenes. We only see the “put-together” versions of each other – the highlight reel. We’re often left feeling inadequate, “behind”, or just not as capable as those we follow.
I’m not here to tell you that social media is bad. As someone who lives far from her family and friends, it connects me with the people that matter to me and allows me to celebrate the milestones in our lives together.
I’m simply here to propose this question: What is your intent?
Why are you posting that picture of your vacation? Is it because you want others to make assumptions about your lifestyle? Or is it because you truly are enjoying yourself and want to connect with others?
Why are you scrolling through newsfeeds before bed? Is it because you’re looking to check in on your friends? Or is it because you’re lonely and trying to escape your daily life?
By asking ourselves what our intent is, we assume responsibility for the impact that social media has on us. It allows us to take ownership of who, what, when, where, and how we use social media. If your intent is positive and uplifting, go for it! If your intent is because you’re lonely and avoiding the present moment, maybe it’s a good idea to set some boundaries and limits.
Social media presents a sliver of our lives. That sliver couldn’t exist without all of the other slivers, just like my cross-stitch couldn’t exist without the threaded mess on the back. Now, it certainly could be neater and more organized, but I’m proud of it so who the heck cares?! My mess is mine to own and be proud of, just like you and your mess.