I spend a lot of time thinking about, looking through, and posting on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. Communicating with many of my friends all at once, anytime, both enhances and limits my life. I love keeping up with everyone, seeing their adventures and whatnot but a lot of the time social media is a huge source of my own insecurities.
Not only insecurities of body image, beauty, and fashion haunt me as I scroll but I find myself comparing other aspects of my life to those that I see on screen. Should I be eating at those trendy restaurants? How can these girls afford to buy such expensive cocktails every night? Are they having a better college experience than I am?
They all look so happy.
In a sea of beautiful people, Instagram has become a place of competition. If your picture is poorly edited, you bet it's being critiqued by a group of sorority girls somewhere. If you misspell a word or your grammar is a little off, it's the same. Don't forget the constant need for validation from likes that's even expanded to asking people "is this OK to post?" before showing off another selfie.
I'm absolutely guilty of doing all of these things, but recently a close friend of mine had the brilliant idea to share positivity on social media. Not just a graphic of a quote he found on Pinterest, but a list of small things he noticed throughout the day that he appreciated and wanted to pass on.
"Today I'm Grateful For:"
Like many things on social media, others noticed what he was posting and there was nothing but inspired feedback and admiration by imitation. Soon I started posting lists of things I appreciated as well and so did others on my feed. It was a chain of passing on positive ideas.
After posting for a few weeks, gratitude posts can get a little harder to make. I found myself dedicating time in the day to thinking back on how I spent my time and what ordinary things I noticed. While I composed my ideas every day, Kevin, the man who started it all, was working on creating a social group to post and share these gratitudes called "Marvel at the Ordinary." Watching the group grow on Facebook was just validation of what was already seen on Instagram –– people want to engage in practicing and sharing gratitude with others. The group grew from 11 members to over 600 in about two months.
Posting gratitude on social media a way to ground yourself in meaningful validation. People will comment that they relate or love what you're writing. Instead of a like or a comment on a picture, you will get a more personal human interaction over social media through gratitude journaling.