Giving You The Best Version Of Me: Social Media In 2017

Giving You The Best Version Of Me: Social Media In 2017

Our social media accounts show that we sketch the life we want to live.

Social media, the thing we eat, breathe and sleep. Around for years now, it's slowly seeping into the lives of everyone around us, including us as a whole, and digging in deep to facade the lives we actually live. Whether you used MySpace back in the day or are now up to date with the endless platforms of this day in age--Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.--social media really cuts you to the core.

I don't think I've ever gone a day without checking at least one of them, which is the sad, harsh truth. We're in the year of 2017, brand spanking new, fresh off the cutting board, ready to face what this year has to come. We're off posting pictures on Instagram, tweeting the ever infamous "new year, new me" tweets, and checking our Facebook feeds as if it's our last thing to do on Earth. The effect social media has is tremendous in the year of 2017, and it's only going to become more influential in years to come.

The various platforms give us insight into one's life or, at least, the parts they show us. Who they are, what they're like, how they carry themselves, who they want to become. People strive for it. They live for that day by day post from one of their friends, their crush, a family member, or even themselves.

We live in a world where something funny or amazing or cruel will happen, and someone goes "Oh my gosh, I have to tweet that." What happened to the phone calls instead of texts? Or the emails instead of DMs, or the letters instead of defining everything through the millions of wireless transmissions buzzing through the air from one iPhone to another?

I never really grew up in a time where there weren't social media and there weren't cell phones and you actually had to pick up the phone, call your friend, and ask them to come over. I never grew up in the vast world of love letters or letters to loved ones far away. I never got to experience a life without the itch at my skin to check social media.

There is such a vast effect that social media has held over millennials over the years, and it's only going to continue to grow. Sure, one can say it advances your relationship with another, constantly having them there, constantly checking in on each other's lives. But what happens when you face the real world and they're not the person they claim to be in their hundreds of Instagram pictures and thousands of tweets?

Our social media accounts show that we sketch the life we want to live.

We only ever give the good stuff. People only ever see the posts you give them. So, is that really us? Or do we hide behind the hundreds of pictures and thousands of tweets?

Everyone is always so strung up on the number of likes they get, or the number of favorites their post will get, or the "Is that post was really good enough or should I delete it?"

According to NPR, UCLA conducted an observational research project in 2016 where they observed 32 teen's brains while scrolling through an Instagram feed. Vedantam states: "We found that when a photo had more likes, it generated greater activation in the reward centers of the brain. This was true of all photos, including photos the kids had taken themselves." So, if that's the case, how do we fix it?

The fact of the matter is, really, that we don't. There's no plausible way to fix something that makes you feel good, something that feels rewarding. Social media has such a dig in one's life that it's hard to just take a step back and say, hey, maybe my run is done here, the show is over.

So we keep the tape rolling, lengthening out the credits longer than what they need to be. It's a never ending cycle, a never ending movie. People are so strung up on it, so indulged. People dig into social media like a chocolate molten lava cake from the fancy restaurant they could be dining at, had they taken a break from the world of other people for just a minute.

So we live our lives vicariously screen to screen when 30 years ago, people lived their lives face-to-face. The effect of social media soars through the world, one device to another. We can't stop it from growing, and we definitely can't stop it from changing. The world we live in is so prone on that next post you're about to give, or that next picture you're about to Instagram. We wait for someone to post a Snapchat story, or wait for someone to tweet something. We get our hopes up, only to be let down, and sometimes it really hurts.

Social media has its good to it, and it has its bad. Sometimes we see things we don't want to see, and we know well more than we should or care to. Coming from me, a teenage girl with friends in college hundreds of miles away, social media is a bliss. It truly is a great way to keep up on the latest dig, keep in touch with friends and family, and just to check in. But sometimes, just sometimes, it almost feels suffocating in a way. You can never really catch a break. It's always there, constantly asking for your attention, needing you to spark the energy with the tap of your finger to make it come alive.

Maybe sometimes it's better to take a step back. Maybe sometimes the show really is over, but we just try to keep on living it.

Cover Image Credit: Uproar

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The One Cheesy Saying That Everyone Should Actually Live By

Trust me, not all cheesy sayings stink

Whether you’ve heard it from your parents, you’ve seen the Barney episode dedicated to it, or you’ve read it off that glossy rainbow poster your teacher had purchased and hung on the corkboard, I would bet that you have heard one of the following sayings before:

"It's what's on the inside that counts."

"If you fall off a horse, get right back on!"

"Shoot for the moon! At least then, you'll land amongst the stars."

"Be yourself because everyone else is already taken."

Sayings like these are so overused that they have become the verbal equivalent of songs feat. Nicki Minaj. While these quotes all hold consistently relevant advice, I can’t say that any of them have substantially contributed to my outlook on my ever-changing life as a 20-year-old. Except for one, and that is:

“Life begins where your comfort zone ends.”

I know, I know; CRINNNGGGEEE. That saying sounds so cheesy that it could turn anyone lactose-intolerant! But this rhyme is Nicki Minaj-free and it’s safe to look past the surface and actually apply the lyrics to your life on this one.

Let me start explaining the importance of this saying by giving you my relatable story in a nutshell:

  • Growing up I was comfortable in my own skin
  • In middle school, I became so comfortable that I was awkward beyond words
  • In high-school wanting to change, I became so self-conscious that I rarely ever spoke
  • Come senior year, I dreadfully regretted that I didn’t share who I was with all my classmates
  • During my collegiate career, this saying was re-introduced to me by my friend Piper (if you’re reading this, hey girl!) and I have taken my college experience BY STORM.

Prior to adopting this way of life, I knew that my comfort zone was in the back of the room, on my cell-phone, absent from any group conversation. I was so far in that routine of existing in only small ways, that just me speaking out once in a large group was a drastic change.

And after finding my lost voice, I have: Been Risk Chairman for my Sorority, was nominated by them to run in the Miss K-State Pageant, was President of Phi Eta Sigma, and currently, I’ve busted my comfort zone outside of the U.S. and am studying abroad at the University of Liverpool! All of which that girl sitting at the back of the room would never have the chance to experience.

Allow me to use that word again; EXPERIENCE. That’s what life is!

The second I pushed myself outside of my comfortable boundary, I was quick to learn that it is only in vulnerability do you find your true self. Not only this, but it seemed to me as if people (job interviewers, acquaintances, even men!) were more interested in me when I was making myself vulnerable than they were when I was in my comfort zone.

Everyone has a comfort zone. Maybe you are already out-spoken, but you’re afraid to ask that person out on a date, to expand your group of friends, apply for that job, etc. Whatever it is! If you don’t try it, you aren’t experiencing anything; and in turn, you aren’t LIVING.

Yes, it’s easier to sit in the back of the room; and of course, that first step is extremely difficult and scary. But in the worst case, any experience is better than no experience.

In short, “life begins where your comfort zone ends,” is a cheesy quote on its surface, but it is the Starship of them all; and one that is definitely worth living by.

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Do What's Best For You, Even If It Hurts

Be selfish and put your happiness first.

Doing what is best for yourself is never easy because usually it hurts someone along the way.

Yes, I know this from experience and it sucks to say the least.

Past relationships have taught me that your happiness comes first, whether it be a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, a friendship, or even a relationship with a family member. Sometimes it’s good to not be selfish and sacrifice your own happiness for someone else but how can you make someone else happy when you’re not happy?

I’ve watched it happen MANY times, not to mention I’m talking from experience.

What’s best for you is what needs to be done, if you’re in a toxic relationship with someone who claims to “love you” then letting go of that relationship to grow as a person is what’s best, if they truly love you and if it’s truly meant to be, the universe will see it through.

The saying about setting something free and if it comes back to you then it was truly yours and if it doesn’t it was never yours to begin with is true here. Don’t let another human tell you how to live your life, do what YOU want. Realistically speaking it isn’t fair if you’re unhappy but the other person is happy. That isn’t healthy. Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t want the best for you or doesn’t push you to be the best version of yourself.

Friendships can be tricky, sometimes you have those manipulative friends who want to see you fail. Sometimes you have those friends who are too immature to be in a healthy friendship and only want you to be their friend. I’ve not been close to anyone like this, but I have seen it happen. These are the people you need to distance yourself from, they’re toxic and will only cause conflict in your life.

Family who doesn’t want the best for you is a hard topic to tackle. They’re your family and they’re always supposed to love you right? This is true, but it can definitely make things difficult when what you want out of life is different from what your family wants for you out of life.

Disappointment is a big fear in life, but you have to do what you know is best for you even if that means letting your loved ones down. Because success doesn’t come easy and it isn’t cheap, in the end your family will understand your decisions.

My biggest family dispute was my decision on college, only one family member supported my decision to go away for college, everyone else was against it. But now that I’m here, doing well, everyone is proud of me and happy for me, I couldn’t let them cloud my judgment when making one of the biggest decisions of my life.

The moral of the story is to do what is best for you, no matter if it hurts or upsets someone. If you’re not happy at the end of the day, then you’re doing something wrong. Be selfish for once in your life. Don’t let someone cloud your judgment because they think they know what is best, only you know what’s best for you.

But why? Why is it that other people expect you to put their happiness first? I will never understand this way of thinking and I refuse to break my back to comprehend the ignorance, but I do encourage everyone to sit back and look at how others influence their lives and if it’s a positive or a negative influence.

Be your own person, the only people you have to answer to is yourself and god. Be strong and move forward because the world won’t wait on you and everyone who negatively affects your life will eventually leave too. So be you.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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