Time for some #WellnessWednesday. Topic of this week: social media and mental well-being.
Australian Teen Instagram celebrity, Essena O’Neill, has been causing a stir in the social media world by quitting social media (back-story here). She explains that her life is far from perfect and that social media is a means of covering up authenticity – i.e. social media is a lie. She was incredibly unhappy and felt as if she was living a deceitful and manipulative life.
While I’m glad she had the courage to come out with this confession, voice out her opinions, and move towards living a more fulfilling life, I can’t help but think that this has very little to do with social media and much more to do with her own insecurities and choices.
Zack James on Facebook wrote an angle that describes exactly what I am thinking:
Essena O’Neill is wrong; Social Media isn’t a lie.
Social Media can be whatever the user desires it to be. Allowing yourself to become pressured into a false life that you’re uncomfortable with is the result of your own actions and intent. The inability to define yourself, your life, your own sense of confidence comes from a lack of trying to understand yourself.
Blaming Social Media, calling it a lie, further shows your lack of attempt to understand yourself. Yes, deleting your Social Media is a step in the right direction. Disowning personal responsibility for your own happiness and shifting the blame is a step backwards.
I, and many others, have found a greater understanding of ourselves through our Social Media careers. The ability to explore unlimited opportunities, to create what our hearts desire, to speak with our own true voices. We found ourselves through Social Media because we made that choice to do so.
You decide to take money for a dress? That’s your choice. You decide to spend hours taking the right photo? That’s your choice. You decide to live a life that you feel is a lie? That is absolutely your choice.
Deciding to use Social Media as a tool to tell people Social Media is a lie contradicts that very same notion. Social Media is there to be used for the truth or for the lies. Essena O’Neil needs to find real help instead of redirecting personal responsibility towards mankind’s greatest communication tool. I truly hope you do, because Social Media isn’t a lie, you were the lie.