October 23, 2017
We've all been there, in a pretty good mood, going about our day, waiting in line at the grocery store or at the car wash when we decide to pull out our phones and scroll through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and suddenly our mood changes.
Maybe we get excited because a post is getting tons of likes, or maybe we see a picture of a group of friends, arm-in-arm and we think, why wasn’t I invited? Did I do something to upset them? Do they not like me?
Whatever people are doing on social media these days, it’s rarely congruent, authentic, or their true selves but it’s not their fault. We’ve been raised in a society where the focus is without not within. When Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self," millions of people weren’t at our fingertips. Back then, you actually sat down and talked to a person face-to-face not thinking about how to capture the moment to share on social media.
Gandhi spoke from his dedication to truth. He coined the Sanskrit word, Satyagraha, meaning "truth-force," his overall method for non-violent action. The word “Influencer” was definitely not part of the zeitgeist. I’m pretty certain you cannot be an “Influencer” and your authentic self at the same time. To be an “Influencer” you must have a carefully cultivated image that appeals to the masses. It is not who you truly are. It might feel like who you are but really it’s just aspects of your personality. Today our lives are so disconnected from our true Selves, it’s no wonder we suffer from anxiety and depression.
We spend so much time focused on the outside world that we don’t know what is authentically us or how we actually feel. I truly believe people want to be happy and that they believe by posting pictures of the themselves helping others, on vacation, looking sexy, doing yoga, losing weight, that they will believe the image they are creating and then find happiness.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way.
The true self that Gandhi spoke of is that quiet and still place within that does not change. It is your inner voice that is forever constant and it’s essence remains stable no matter what happens around you or what shape you take. So, the picture of your friends being together, does not upset the true self, just the ego.
The more attached we are to outside influences, letting them decide our worth or value the more suffering we endure. It then becomes clear that the more attached we are to “likes,” friends, etc. the more we are bound to suffer.
So what are we to do?
• Don’t believe the hype. Remember you’re posting your best moments, so are they.
• Unfollow people that constantly trigger you. No need for a big drama by unfriending them on Facebook, just stop following them so they don’t show up in your newsfeed.
• Get connected to that still place inside yourself before reaching for your phone or sitting at the computer.
• Take a one-day challenge of getting off social media and see if you can find that illusive true self that Gandhi referred to.
• Practice non-violence to yourself and others. If you start feeling bad put down your phone or walk away from your computer.
• Post what feels real to you, things that you love and inspire you.
• Be congruent, see if you can align what you are posting with how you feel inside.
Social media has so much to offer from staying connected to friends, making new friends, knowing about events, inviting people to events – but just like everything else in life, there needs to be a balance.
I challenge you to put in as much time in searching for your true self as you are spending on social media by taking yoga class, going for a walk, reading an inspiring book, journaling, taking three deep breaths, 5-minute meditation, or having coffee with a friend (no pics). It’s a game changer. It will relieve depression and anxiety.
You will feel better, and when you feel better, you are healthier.
Stacey J. Warner is a certified life coach, equus coach and yoga teacher. She received her bachelor of arts in drama from the University of Washington and currently resides in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Intensives for Radical Healing, Consciousness, and Grace. Her one passion in life is to lessen the suffering of others through deep inner work and laughter. To learn more, visit: www.staceyjwarner.com.