SURVIVING SOCIAL MEDIA IDENTITY CRISIS
Have you ever woken up one morning and had to feel like every moment of the life we live is ending up just for the gram? More like the reason we live life, enjoy all those beautiful moments and sour ones somewhere in the middle has for the gram in it? Well, I did; not just in one morning but for more than a couple of mornings, afternoons and nights.
Towards the end of last year, I started going through a phase of depression that ended up chronic by the time the new year began and before I knew it, I realized I was in this phase where I had begin to question everything that I am, what I can do and what I couldn’t. It had gotten to this place where it felt like the bulk of my validation was coming from the reactions I get and didn’t get from my social media pages; who thought I made sense and who didn’t think I did; who felt I had something to offer and who didn’t think I did; who thought I was a fluke and who thought I was real.
In fact, it had become so much worse that even the positive reactions started looking like foolery – like these people gotta say that just to make me feel like I’m all that. But the whole truth is, I’m all that! It’s just the pressure getting to me. I mean, the pressure to meet a certain expectation or live up to a certain projection of perfection or personality of you people have created is so crazy. Then you want to do some things and be like people don’t have this opinion of Ibukunwrites. Well, damn/screw people most times!
You know, I started asking myself, how did I get to this place where I think about people’s reaction first and let it trump what I want? How did I get to this place where I had to feel like I am not doing enough because I think I’m not really open to many possibilities like some people or doing it like some people? Well, I don’t have a book of my own. Well, I have a lot on my plate but who cares about how much you have on your plate? It just shows how unserious you’re! Yeah, right! The kind of vibes we get; sometimes, these things we hear. But for real, why I gotta let people define and create my own timeline – to write a book, tell my story, heal on anything and everything, start a relationship, etc. In fact, sometimes people wanna tell you how to be woman. The point is, since when did I start validating myself/measuring my speed, growth and achievement with social media?
And then I realized this so called feeling of mine has a name – Social Media Identity Crisis. Mental Health has a name for everything right? But the saddest part isn’t in the name tag or in the feeling but in the fact that, a whole of people go through this shit! One minute you realized you were very secure about who you are and the next minute, you get lost in your social media space and you start feeling like the whole of your life is a questionnaire you have to fill to determine how you really feel about you because social media says, if you must keep up, you gotta really reassess how you see yourself cos you might just be wrong cos girl, look at us!
I realized that on social media pages, especially Instagram, there are different types of people. The ones who had a name before social media and the ones who are busy making a name for themselves on social media. Yea, the latter is not a bad thing if you’re not neglecting what happens in your personal world trying to keep up with your cyber world.
I discovered it’s pretty easy to get things mixed up.
When you think cyberspace is the real world
and you begin to chase a few words
so you can claim a name y’all.
Everything is not in public figure
if you ain’t representing
(a rap line from a song I’m writing – trying rap now with a new friend).
The question is, are we trying to build our real lives just as much as we are trying to build our social media pages? I know really successful people whose pages don’t even have up to two thousand followers or 10k and they really don’t mind and here we are, a generation chasing likes, comments and followings. The new kind of approval.
See, recently, I took a stroll to The Shade Room and there was this post that led me to a couple of beautiful comments that made lots of sense to me not because it was original alone but because it’s the damn truth.Don’t give others the power of defining who YOU are. You are a masterpiece, never forget that – theshaderoom Click To Tweet @straight_lowkey social media can be that “broken window” he’s talking about. That like button is the new self esteem. Click To Tweet
What am I saying?
I’m saying social media should never be a factor in your having a healthy self-esteem. Some people can get lost in their massive followership that they brand themselves by it and begin to live just for it, ignoring the things that need their attention outside the cyberspace. Some people can become so depressed with their little followings that they begin to look down on themselves and trash everything they ever think they are. See, it doesn’t have to be that way and you’re not a psycho for feeling that way either. Feeling that way just means you’re not in control of your social media space(s), it’s in control of you and you can change that.You don’t have to look happy on social media just to be really worse in “real life. Click To Tweet
Let me share a quick thing with y’all.
Very recently, I was thinking of locking my hair but mehn, I realized I wasn’t really ready, so I decided that I was just gonna braid it using some very cool but crazy color cos that’s what I want and when I post my pictures, I don’t want to post it because I expected someone to make me feel good about what I have done, give me the okay, tell me I’m beautiful cos I feel that way already and I post it cos I do it for my page; cos I feel like doing so and not for the opportunity to have someone tell me I’m beautiful or ugly cos girl, you’re merely confirming who I know I am and ugly, I’m nothing close to that.
I discovered it’s pretty easy to get things mixed up. when you think cyberspace is the real world and you begin to chase a few words so you can claim a name y’all. everything is not in public figure if you ain’t representing -… Click To Tweet
The point is, that’s what happens when we allow peoples likes, dislikes and comments to tell us if we are a good writer/singer/cook, etc. or not. There are people who will always think you’re not good enough or you’re not doing enough. But for real, why should someone else’s opinion bother me or set me back? I know it’s easier said than done but you can survive it.
So, how do you cope?The question is, are we trying to build our real lives just as much as we are trying to build our social media pages? I know really successful people whose pages don’t even have up to two thousand followers or 10k and they really… Click To Tweet
First, just like me, you gotta be sure of your motivation – why am I posting that? To get a feel good?
Unfollow some accounts that are not adding to you or inspiring you. You’re not always obliged to follow back just like people aren’t always obliged to follow you back. I tell myself a lot of that these days. You owe no one a follow back. So, unfollow that account that makes you sulk (or is peppering you like someone put it to me recently) and if they unfollow you too right back, you gotta be cool with it. Get over it!
Don’t pay attention to that like button – I know it sounds crazy but just see it as a kind of compliment. People give compliments because they want to; it shouldn’t define you! You’re awesome with or without it.
You can deactivate that comment section to avoid having to deal with the comments at all – both the good and the bad ones. People who follow you will still follow you and people who feel you will still feel you. You’re not a coward or weak for deactivating your comment section. you’re just taking your process as it comes; when you’re ready, you’ll take that step.Have you been feeling off a little lately? Does social media seem boring to you than usual? Are you finding it unbelievably difficult to fit in? Does it feel like you have no idea of who you are anymore? You should read this post! Click To Tweet
In all, don’t be afraid to live. Just do you. I used to write a lot of notes to myself during that period; you can try that too. Don’t ever think you’re not doing enough because everyone on your social media page(s) seemed to be living the best of their lives and rising in their career according to their social media feed. Don’t ever judge your real life by your social media page. In as much, let it tally with who you are on the inside and off that world. Don’t let people decide who you are; decide who you are and who you want to be. Give yourself some break. Cut yourself some slack.
I tell myself, well, I’m doing the best I can do; with a level of confidence that is actually true. I’m creating possibilities for myself and embracing opportunities no matter how little. And hey, I may not be doing so much like I dream but I’m doing right enough. I’m running my programme (that’s a step forward in my career), I’m healing, working on my book, writing, contributing, I’m right where I need to be. Don’t let people dictate how dreamy that dream is.Don’t ever think you’re not doing enough because everyone on your social media page(s) seemed to be living the best of their lives and rising in their career according to their social media feed. Don’t ever judge your real life by… Click To Tweet
I’ve had a lot of people talk to me in this period. I’m so thankful for my soul sister, Funmi. Grateful for a follower now friend who I hooked up with recently; he’s been amazing in his thoughts lol and to my client turned friend, Ify who had really inspired me (I don’t take that relationship for granted). Remembering her words made me laugh hard to tears. She said, Ibukun, who’s peppering you on Instagram? 😁
Sometimes, the motivation behind a thing is how we know if we’re merely investing in our dreams or getting pressured and becoming desperate. Click To Tweet
Also, take it from me, you’ll be fine. Allow yourself to go back into that space where you were in control and not it in control. Do your thing. Publicise your thing your way, don’t be pressured. It’s your dream, not their dream!
Go out. Have fun. Throw some make up on, glow, enjoy nature. Mingle and at the centre of it all, remember your personal relationship with God.
For me, I realized, I’ve not really lived. I’ve been going through all my life, hurting, surviving and pushing through and in all of those things, I deserve to let my healing take its course, take its time and while at that, I deserve to live and I think the only reason I’m writing this is because I’m in a good place. Yea, I wiped my instagram page, my page right! But don’t worry about me, I’m good. I’ve always got myself, God’s always got me and this time, I realized I need to step up in that responsibility, so I’m doing that.
Finally, ask yourself these questions;
Will I still feel good about myself without my comment section?
Will I still feel exceedingly dope without a single like button?
Can I be very fierce about not getting lost in the social media world?
Do I care who thinks what about me?
Will I walk away from my dream because a certain person I adore online didn’t think I have what it takes?Have you deactivated your social media a couple of times just to reactivate and deactivate again? Well, you might just be going through Social Media Identity Crisis and this post is just for you! Click To Tweet
Like I always said and like my mantra goes, the person you strive everyday to show you are on social media better be who you are outside it, not because someone is coming to expose you but because life itself has a way of giving us some reality checks and at the end of the day, it may become really hard to keep up with the faces again because we spent a long time neglecting what matters – our life outside cyberspace.
I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome
Then she finally got to Rome
And all she did was post pictures for people at home
‘cause all that mattered was impressin
Everybody she’s known
. . . I know a girl that saves pictures from places
To post later and make it look like she still on the go
Look at the way we live
I’m exhausted and drained, I can’t even pretend
All these people taking miles when you give ‘em an inch
All these followers but who gon’ follow me to the end?
I guess I’ll make it to the end and I’ma find out then. – Drake, Scorpion “Emotionless”
By the way, Drake’s album is lit af. My favourite track is emotionless; so don’t go too far wondering why I quoted the track.
I do really hope someone found this article helpful cos this is what I live for! 😉
Have you ever gone through Social Media Identity Crisis before? How was your experience like? Or are you currently going through it or know someone who is? Did you find one or two things helpful? What’s your take on the subject and this post in general? I’d really love to read from you. So, please do make use of the comment section. ❤
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Cheers to the friggin weekend😘