A world full of opportunities at a standstill.
For the past year I have been trying to steer clear from Social Media when it comes to personal moments of endless scrolling. Which is a pretty hard thing to do when 75% of your job and side projects need you on Social Media. And I’m not saying this is a typical ‘I hate Social Media’ and ‘It’s such a waste of my time’ phase we all know and go through once in a while.
I found that if I want to stay mentally healthy, keep up my mental strength and self-confidence, there is one thing I don’t need in my life: happily smiling beautiful looking women stating ‘this is your moment!’ and/or ‘don’t let anybody steal your dreams, you can make it happen!’.
Back in 2014 I had to accept the fact that I’m not invincible. My head was a mess, I couldn’t remember simple things and I started doubting everything — mainly myself. It felt like someone took off my rose-colored glasses and now I had to face reality. I hated the new me. I wanted back my old-slightly naive-down for everything-not afraid to ask. But she never came.
At the end of 2016 I finally felt like a snake that completely shredded it’s old skin and I felt comfortable in my new suit. I even tried some new moves, testing my new shoes and without realizing it the doubting stopped. In the beginning just for short periodes of time, but as I seized more control over the new me the doubt vanished for days and even months at a time.
However the doubt is still there, hidden inside of me. And once in a while it takes a walk outside. It knows my weak spots. When I’m tired from work, when I’m just about to have my period, when I’m confronted about something. And then I go through the phases I’ve become so familiar with:
– First comes a feeling of paralyses
– Second is a strong urge to flee and hide
– Third is me realizing what is happening
– Fourth is me being mad for allowing ‘it’ to happen again
– Fifth is me remembering it’s not the end of the world
– Sixth is acceptance and rest
– Seventh is the feeling of gaining headspace again
– Eight is figuring out a game plan and returning to the scene
The first time this happened it took me a full month to go from 1–8, but nowadays I go through the motions faster. Not because I’m not allowing myself to give every move a proper check, but because it naturally happens faster. Now I can hear you think: ‘so if you got this down, what has Social Media got to do with it?’.
We live in a world of balance. We — as the world, our society — have gained so much from our individualism, automation, feminism and education to all. But it has and is costing us greatly as well. My friends and I grew up with the opportunity to follow a higher education and get a job that women before me couldn’t. I didn’t have to take over the family business and it is not expected of me to be a stay-at-home mother.
But these so-called ‘opportunities’ are putting a paralyzing pressure on our generation. I am a 27 year old woman that has been working as a freelancer for over 7 years. In the early days I felt like I could make a change, I’m special and I could do whatever I wanted. Over the years that feeling turned into a misplaced feeling of responsibility. A big part of that feeling comes from within, but the other big part comes from society — more specifically from Social Media.
If we want young women to thrive we need to stop promoting ‘this is your moment!’ and ‘you can be anything you want, don’t sit around and wait for it!’. It may get them up from their seat, but it will backfire once they hit a challenge. If we want equality and fair chances we need to accept that we shouldn’t be pushed. We need to be understood, accepted and supported.
But until that happens, I will steer clear from Social Media on my weaker days. I draw strength, motivation and inspiration from having dinner with friends, walking the dog, going to a petting zoo, calling my mom, reading a book and movie night with my man. And maybe a little bit of wine and chocolate…
Photo by Xavier Sotomayor — Unsplash.com