“I may not be much, but I’m all I have.”
Once the dust settles on the day of the social butterfly, she’s by herself. She’s in her own company with her favourite book and television shows, whilst glancing occasionally at her phone – now, let’s pause right here.
How often do you look at your phone, or go online when you’re alone? We have a million social networks and apps, as well as social circles that have the ability to cross continents. We never need to be alone with ourselves, and maybe this is what’s making being alone so damn difficult. Not to say it’s the sole reason but it’s definitely becoming more and more of one, particularly in this generation.
The problem with too much emphasis on social media is that we find ourselves becoming more insecure, introvert and pretty socially awkward in reality. I mean, I still don’t know whether to shake someone’s hand, or give them a hug, or a man-hug, or a fist bump (apparently, neither do these people). Damn you, social etiquette.
On the flip side, you could be that aforementioned social butterfly, but too much dependence on other people’s company and social acceptance in circles could also leave you being your own worst enemy in isolation. The combination of both pretty much sums up my life.
I’m an artist and I crave attention. I love getting praise for my work because it provides me with a sense of accomplishment. It makes me believe that the art I’m creating serves purpose to the world. Ultimately, it’s appreciation for what I’ve created and the desire of having that appreciation. So when something I post up or send out gets little interaction, I feel absolutely useless. I feel like an outsider looking in, yet weirdly unsure of what I’m looking at (or for). At times I want to escape out of my skin and be somebody and somewhere else. My mind becomes infested with negative questions: “why aren’t you good enough?”; “why are you even bothering?!” – it becomes a living nightmare. But then – immersed in all of those black and white questions – sparked a light bulb: the reason I found it hard to brush things off wasn’t because of the context of which they happened, but rather due to the questions I asked myself, after it. It wasn’t people not accepting me, it was ME not accepting me.
I’ve been working on spending more time with myself, and it’s getting easier. I talk to myself and explain to my head why certain issues aren’t in fact issues. I explain to my head why I am a decent person, and bad things happen so better things can come into life. I tell myself I am here to serve a purpose, and it’s alright that I don’t know what it is yet. This process is gradually turning me into a complete person, as opposed to the ‘life-debate personified’ thing I have been as of late.
Another thing I decided to do was to stop focusing so much on social media. I wouldn’t look at it. I moved the apps into the other window of my phone so I wouldn’t check it as frequently. I removed the tabs from my browser, and turned all notifications off. I would check my messages once a day, as opposed to continually refreshing throughout. The space I freed up from doing something so simple was unreal: it allowed me to have more conversations with people, read the newspapers, books, have dinner with friends and actually enjoy it. Most importantly, I accepted my own company. It’s not exactly clear sailing now, but it’s definitely a lot better and I’m learning to handle situations with a calmer mind and overall mentality. It is what it is, and we live to be the best. So be the best for YOU, and you’ll be the best for everyone else.
- don’t check your social networks before you sleep. Read a book, exercise or meditate for half an hour instead
- take up a random hobby for no apparent reason whatsoever
- turn off social network notifications on your phone (unless it’s your job, then #soz)
- every day, speak to someone you’ve not spoken to in a long time.
- instead of calling friends, arrange to meet them
- read fiction, and let your imagination have a field day
- eat, exercise and rest well. It’s the root to some of our biggest problems, and it’s probably the easiest to overcome.
- every day, do a good deed. Whether giving words of wisdom, carrying someone’s bag, giving up your seat, smiling, whatever. One little thing every day will almost certainly pick up your mood and energy.
Some relevant quotes to leave you with. Until next time, folks:
“If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” – Edison
“When we are unable to find tranquility in ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” – De La Rochefoucauld
“Silence is the essential condition of happiness.” – Heine