Last December, after more than four years, I finally graduated college. My college life wasn’t that bad: It honestly gave me some of my best memories. However, it also brought me close to the most toxic people I have ever had the misfortune of meeting. Luckily, graduating allowed me to start anew and leave all the toxicity behind—not only by physically fleeing from my university but also by going through a social media detox.
The anxiety I get when it comes to social media isn’t rooted from the fact that the whole world can see my posts. TBH, I’m fine with that. Rather, my concerns come from the awareness that a more curated, hyperreal version of me exists in the consciousness of these people.
I’d say that I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. For example, I still treated some people as friends despite knowing they have a tendency of talking about others behind their backs. Although after finding out that they sent screenshots of my posts to their private GCs, I knew that it was time to cut them off. Knowing this hurt me. I became too self-conscious of what I posted, and I ended up overthinking everything I do with my public accounts. From the memes that I share, to the daily rant that I post on my Twitter feed—literally everything. It even got to the point when I uninstalled all my apps because I couldn't handle the anxiety that came with it.
Life coach and licensed psychologist, Beth Morales, says that our use of social media is very critical to how we perceive our offline life, and excessive use of online apps have links to our mental health. In the past, she always made it a point to ask her clients—especially those who were younger—about their social media activity. “When you spend so much time online, you’re unwittingly modifying your brain to become more aware of the opinions of other people,” Coach Beth told Cosmopolitan Philippines. According to her, this hyperconsciousness may lead to several mental health struggles, such as anxiety and depression.
Through several moments of contemplation and self-reflection, I realized that I can control who gets to see me, know me, hear me—and the first step to doing so is by filtering who gets to read what I share on my social accounts.
So, I cut those people off—especially since they no longer contribute to my growth as a person. I’ve also decided to put all of my social networking accounts on private so I can take full control of who gets to know me. I might have lost a couple of followers and people might not be able to retweet my hilarious content anymore, but I’m glad that I’m finally at peace. I can share my thoughts without fear of being judged.
Coach Beth Morales is a Registered Psychologist with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and a Certified Specialist in Clinical Psychology with the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP). You may contact her through her website.
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