Daily, I happen to routinely scroll through my contact list’s WhatsApp status updates as I go by my day to day activities. At times I may spend more than 30 minutes while sipping my cup of coffee looking at what’s new, what’s going on in people’s ‘lives.’ It sounds like being nosey right? This has never been my intention, though; we all get caught up in one way or another in this modern day social media frenzy.
We live to be in the know of what is happening on the other end of the world. Plus there are some who will always keep you posted on everything that happens in their lives, even some stuff that I find to be more personal. Some do it for clout while some do it for the love of sharing their exciting experiences with the ‘world.’ That’s when I get to see people posting photos and status updates about them gracing fabulous charity events, brunching at the newest hangout joints in the city (just read that Starbucks is coming to Kenya soon! Lol!) or sipping Madafu (Coconut milk) at Diani Beach resort in Mombasa. All these come with perfectly filtered photos that will leave you in awe ‘asking’ for more. Thanks to the stable internet connectivity that we enjoy in most parts of the country, these friends’ day-to-day activities have become part of us to some extent. This evokes a jittery feeling inside me, getting me to ask myself; “Am I living my life to the fullest?”
Just recently, I received a 9th-anniversary notification from Facebook, and it took me back a little bit on how things have changed as the years pass on. Looking at how I used to interact on the same platform then and comparing it with how I do it today, I noticed lots of things have changed.
Looking at some of the profiles of people that I used to/still interact with on the platform I realize that what we see on our screens is simply a “highlight reel” of our friends’ lives. At times we’ll wonder why our social and personal lives aren’t as robust as theirs. Making us question if there is a way one can achieve all that balance and stability of living a productive, desirable, and robust life, all while remaining in the best state of mind. Always that leaves us living the best part of our lives trying to catch up with what is happening in the lives of the so-called ‘elites’ in our social circles. We, therefore, tend to live with a form of fear; Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
FOMO is that feeling that arises when you feel there is a more exciting prospect that is happening elsewhere and unfortunately, you are not there, or maybe your social status cannot allow you to be there. This feeling will pressurize you to be doing what everyone else is doing, attend every event, and share every life experience. A friend of mine Darren notes,” It can evoke anxiety and disconnection with the real world.”
The “Fear of Missing Out” is real. And the truth of the matter is that you probably aren’t going to be missing out on much. Get real and admit your problem, whether affected as a ‘content creator’ or someone who is always on the catch up ‘follower.’ Personally, I accept that I cannot afford to be everywhere at all times and always be doing the coolest things ever which I am perfectly OK with. Recognizing and admitting that form of anxiety gives you an edge over everything else; you’ve acknowledged your problem and the burden is now off your shoulders.
For God’s sakes, also learn to live without your phone. Learn to start your morning without you logging in to Instagram to “Keep up with the Kardashians and the Sidikas.” It may not be possible to deactivate your social media accounts; because they are also essential to some extent, but you should learn to limit your activities. Control your social media handles, do not let them control you. Keep the content you consume and the content you always share on the check. Find a system that works for you and stick to it.
To top it all off, always practice mindfulness; this is a therapeutic technique that will help you create a very intimate bond with your surroundings, beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity. Listen to the silence. It has much to say than the social media trap that we all have ourselves so immersed into.
Exercise regularly, Go out and talk to friends occasionally, listen to music that feeds your mind and soul, eat well, read good books, watch all the movies you love, get involved in group activities, work on your spirituality, smile more and ignore the social media buzz! Do all these without letting the whole world know what you are up to. Create your own space and enjoy the beauty of your private life!
Whereas I did my best to come up with this article, any errors and omissions published are subject to changes. Feel free to contact me on the same and give your comments and suggestions .
The images used belong entirely to copyrighted owners, the author thereby does not own some of them.
Authored by Clinton C. Obiero