Today was an interesting and empowering day at my job. I was scheduled to attend a university film screening titled ‘The Illusionists” which is about how the media has influenced many cultures about body image. The film was very well produced and showed the distortions that many cultures have adopted throughout decades. All over the world, we have people thinking that thinner, whiter, tanner, muscular, blonder, and nice facial features are the only ways to success.
All of this did not surprise me… Before I decided to do a media diet, I was a victim of media addiction and the damaging self-esteem traps that came with it. I always worried if I looked attractive enough, sexy enough, successful enough, and popular enough. It was always a recurring problem since the age of 15 (now I am 25). For 10 years I was in this trap of the media of me trying to prove something that I am now seeing it was unattainable. Maybe I did reach a level of sexiness, attractiveness, and successfulness. How could I have known? I couldn’t have known because I wanted more!
I won’t lie, I was hungry for attractiveness and trying to sexualize myself more with the sex appeal that I actually ended up in a gym shaping my physique. Again, I am not fit enough or muscular enough! It was not ending! More and more years of this trap and still nothing changed.
I would scroll down Facebook or Instagram and see the friends I used to hang out with posting pictures of their new cars, new careers, and new significant others, I would just feel depressed. I would feel so inadequate that I fell into the comparison trap. It was getting to the point that I lost myself and really didn’t know my true passions anymore.
My first post from this blog was about how I got off social media and the reasons for it. It has been almost three months since I have been on a media diet and it has been amazing! I really have not missed being on social media and I do not plan on going back soon. Part of it is because I am finding peace day by day as I live in the moment, and also part of it is fear. Coming back to social media platforms terrifies me now. I fear that I would fall into the trap again. I fear that all of my insecurities will go back to full panic mode all over again.
At the end of the film, we had a discussion with the producer/film writer via Skype. At the end, she asked the audience to share any experiences or share our struggles with our current media. I had the courage to stand up and share my experiences. I realized that my ex-bf was not the only reason why I needed to get away, but I realized more and more that I needed to cleanse from a lot of things. My self-esteem was really shot down that it needed repair, and it is still under construction.
As I was wrapping up my last words, I turned to the audience and I said: “I recommend you all to media diet if you feel anxious or sad about yourself, and if you are falling into the comparison traps.” I never imagined doing that publicly but I felt like in today’s societies, everyone needs to get away from the media. In reality, the majority of people are not being authentic and not truly living in the real world. Living in the moment means that you look up from your phone, and smile at the people who walk past you. Living in the moment means that you can sit down and have true conversations with people around you. Living in the moment means that now you have the energy and the courage to try something new because you are no longer occupied in the self-loathe of comparing yourself to the world around you. Living in the moment means that you are now capable of regaining your social skills again as taught as a child to stay true to your friends and actually make friends, not virtual ones.
I won’t lie, this experience has been teaching me a lot. Most have been good, but the downside of a media diet is that you feel a bit alone at times. However, I reflected on this idea or feeling of loneliness… In reality, if the “friends” on my social media profiles were really my friends, they would be in touch with me on most days or I would be seeing them regularly without them pressing the “like” button. I realized that my circle of 500 “friends” really came down to like 5. The transition hit me a bit hard, but I think it brought me to a harsh reality check.
If you are finding yourself in this path and this harsh reality, use it as a motivation to get out there. Make new experiences and live in the moment. Why try to base our happiness in a virtual world?
Thanks for reading!