Hello, fellow millennials. First, I would like to challenge you all to toss your phones aside for a couple hours each day, to get out in the world and be a f***ing human being! Do I sound like your dad or what? I’ll try not to get ahead of myself because if I’m being practical, probably none of you will read this article and decide to suddenly end all of your connections with the technological world. However, I do hope that it will at least make you think differently about it.
1. You jump to conclusions when you don’t receive instant gratification.
More than likely, you’re a human being who’s obsessed with instant gratification, and that’s not your fault! We grew up in a society that pushed us to be the best that we could be, yet all the while we were awarded for, well, not being the best that we could be. How many of you received ribbons for coming in last place? Probably quite a few of you. While it’s a great thing to boost the confidence of others, giving too much credit to those who may not entirely deserve it decreases the work and value of the person who deserves it the most.
While being in this society proves to foster the desire to be rewarded, it also reinforces the idea that whatever we want to be answered, will be, at the snap of one’s fingers. The other day, I texted my mom about a great job opportunity that was presented to me and her reply back was a little less than enthusiastic. At least that’s what I thought. I automatically jumped to conclusions, worried that she was upset with me. The moment that I asked what was wrong, she was confused because, well, nothing was wrong! I just didn’t get the response that I wanted. She later went on to explain to me that when she was younger, it wasn’t entirely a big deal to get a job, it was just expected. This can be tied back to any situation involving social media when you didn’t get the response you desired. No emojis? Must be mad. Not enough likes? Must not be pretty enough. No response? Must be ignoring me. How you react to a situation can be altered, so please, take a deep breath the next time you’re not instantly gratified.
2. You may have a lack of appreciation.
Back in simpler times, as many parents and grandparents might like to say, there was a greater sense of worth to almost everything. That is not to say that many people today don’t appreciate the incredible joys that this world has to offer; however, we have made it easier to enjoy them, and thus, appreciation levels have diminished.
Technology is a pretty incredible thing, but not when it runs your life. I saw a quote the other day, a quote that really made me sit back and reflect: “Spend time with your parents, treat them well. Because one day, when you look up from your phone, they won’t be there anymore.” It hit me hard. This is a quote that is easily relatable to anyone, whether it’s your parents that you might be neglecting, your siblings, or simply your friends. There is nothing I hate more than being with someone whose attention is constantly on their phone. How many times have you looked down at your phone to scroll through social media, but told the person talking to you that you were “still listening"? I hope that is not the case for many of you, but I have definitely had more than a few people say that to me. Engage in life, appreciate the small moments before they’re gone and continue to be thankful for everything you are blessed with. Go tell someone you love them right now! Don’t text, don’t call, tell them. Be present!
3. You have mainly surface-level relationships.
Social media can be credited with building many friendships; however, most are only surface level. Ask yourself, how many true friends do you have? How many people have you born your soul to? How many people have you had effortless, electrifying conversations with? How many people know your middle name? I can almost guarantee that it is way less than the amount of “friends” that you have on social media. And if I’m wrong, kudos to you.
4. You are distracted.
I know that this is the biggest battle of all time for many of us. Personally, I leave my phone in my room when I have a lot of studying and homework, because let's face it, sometimes the temptation is just way too much. Whether it’s continuous texting, checking up on Twitter/Facebook, stalking your ex, or my personal favorite, editing pictures, our phones can be the greatest source of distraction to our lives, our futures, and our success. Imagine how much work you could get done, how much art you could create, how many recipes you could learn, how many people you could meet, how much of literally anything you could do each day, each week, each year, to better yourself and further your success, if you only put your phone away for everything except the necessities. Just imagine the possibilities.
5. You have FOMO, or you fear that you are not succeeding as much as others.
FO·MO /ˈfōmō/ noun: FOMO
- the anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
Da-da-duuuum. Fear of missing out. Fear of failure. How many of you have one of these feelings the more time you spend on social media? At the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, researchers carried out a study about the effects of social media usage on the moods of users. They concluded that the more time adolescents use social media, the more likely they are to be depressed. It’s easy to look at a person’s Instagram and assume their life is perfect, what’s not easy is to know everything that is going on in their life. People want the world to think that they have the riddle of life solved and that they are succeeding in all areas of life. But guess what? That is more than often not the case! Social media is impersonal a majority of the time, remember that.
Okay, sorry for basically telling you that social media will ruin your life. It won’t. Throughout all this wisdom comes a lot of hypocrisy. I, too, have most definitely had my fair share of social media obsessions (if you know me at all, it’s pretty easy to see how active I am online). To be completely transparent with you all, I’m still completely hooked on Instagram, but I try to place the blame of that obsession on my love of art and photography (of course, it doesn’t hurt to stalk all of my friends and cute boys, too.) I’m not trying to say that social media is a means to an end, but I do believe that it can become a means to a beautiful beginning; one where we can learn to appreciate the world through technology, all while taking a break and genuinely, full-heartedly, experiencing the world for ourselves. Social media can be amazing in many ways, but it can be just as destructive.
Don’t forget: The climb is what makes the view worth it!