Ravonne Cockfield Staff Writer
We have been clipped, groomed, and conditioned by society to appease everyone else’s idea of acceptability. We are so focused on pleasing other people that ultimately, we lose track of ourselves and our purpose. There are many individuals nowadays who are so consumed with the thought of appealing to other people that they tend to forget what truly matters. I hate this. I hate this because I feel like I have been too affected by it. For instance, I found myself slowly drifting into the need to be on social media and the need to have the latest trends. This is all because society has predisposed us to the distorted objective that if you don’t follow through on these needs, then you’re not living your life to the fullest.
I am entirely over these impossible standards, so I did a little experiment. I decided to take time away from my most used social media account— Instagram. I redirected my energy to more productive and worthwhile activities. I was no longer spending countless hours scrolling through a feed of pop culture drama and the newest fashion trends. Instead, I began working on my writing, getting back into leisure reading, and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. This may seem like a lot from simply logging off Instagram. However, Instagram played a big role in my life. It’s how I felt connected to the world and stayed in the loop. I’m sure a lot of you may feel this way as well.
I can easily recall the times I would result to Instagram. Whether it be when I woke up in the morning, when I was bored, on break at work, in between classes and even during classes. Instagram was literally my life. It was funny, informative, and how I stayed connected with my friends. It was my go-to for a lot. Whether I was looking for motivation, inspiration, or a good laugh, my life revolved around this social media platform. I recognized this, and I knew that I needed to take action.
I was logged out of my Instagram account for a few weeks and it was honestly fascinating to experience how much I depended on the application. I would oftentimes catch myself opening the Instagram application when I was bored, just to encounter the ‘log in’ screen. When this happened, I would simply redirect my focus to something more productive. Whether this was through working on my personal blog or reading an intriguing novel.
The thing is, you never know how much you’re living until you’ve completely exposed yourself to life and all it has to offer. You feel better about yourself knowing that you don’t have to rely on the likes and comments of others to feel a certain way. Taking time off from social media allotted me ample time to work on things with more substance.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think social media is awful and holds no value. While social media does have its limiting factors, it’s fair to recognize that there’s a little good in everything. It’s crucial to figure out for yourself what really possesses meaning in life. If we take the time to see what serves a purpose versus what pleases societal expectations, we would be much better off as individuals. There would no longer be that wavering existence of pressure to act a certain way, or to present yourself in a way that does not fully equate to your authenticity.