Covering up the Social Mirror
Updated: Mar 1, 2019
"Frustration is a function of our expectations, and our expectations are often a reflection of the social mirror rather than our own values and priorities."
- Stephen R. Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
This is one of my favorite quotes and reminds me of another quote from Bill Murray, "Social media is training us to compare our lives, instead of appreciating everything we are. No wonder why everyone is always depressed."
Both of these quotes highlight the issue of social comparison. By getting caught up in social comparison, we can lose sight of the things that make us unique. Instead, we feel pressure to live our lives by the standards we see all around us rather than living out our true passions because they may not be as widely accepted. There is a lot of pressure to live up to the expectations society has for us and social media is a driving force.
The social media world connects people in a way that was never possible before. This kind of connection allows for people to have more influence in the world today, and with that influence, it creates the ability to spark change and growth. In this way, social media has truly changed the world.
Through this significant influential power, social media outlets also put far more pressure on people today to live up to society's standards. Social media and advertising campaigns create the criteria we have in our minds of a successful and fulfilling life, so we feel we need to show the world that we fit the mold. We alter our appearances and sometimes get caught up over-documenting our experiences rather than living in the fleeting moments of them. And why? Because we now we have "followers", a term that gives us a sense of power and influence that is dependent on how those followers see us. Not only do we feel like we should fit the mold, but we feel pressure to measure up to what our friends and family are doing as well.
When you think about all the ways in which we are pressured to compare our lives, it's easy to see how this can become a rabbit hole that leads us further away from creating our own perspectives of the world and understanding what we, as individuals, truly want from it based on our own values. Our own values and principles come from visceral experiences and introspection, but it becomes more difficult to honor this journey of self discovery if we are caught up refining our appearance in the social mirror.
By taking the time to thoroughly define our priorities and dive into our true passions and not the manufactured ones, we bring focus to the vision we have for our lives. With a clear vision, we can create long-term goals that fulfill us instead of put pressure on us. Breaking down those long-term goals into short-term goals that seep into our daily routines with intention make us the trailblazers of our own growth.