5 Tips To Not Give Away Your Power to Social Media
I have to be honest, I have a love hate relationship with social media. I am grateful for the ability to stay connected with long distance family and friends, I appreciate the online support it has gotten my business, and I love being able to send encouraging words to others through their posts. However, let’s face it, social media IS a platform to put yourself out there. And like anything that puts you out there, you become subject to judgement. It’s inevitable. There might as well be a button next the like, love, laugh, etc. that says “judged”.
I’ve been on facebook since 2006 and instagram since 2011. When I first created a public facebook page for my business in 2010, I would post images of myself wearing my creations, with my head cropped off. This was purely a protective mechanism and I didn’t even know it. I didn’t want to put “too much” of myself out there for fear of being judged. I did this until one day a follower messaged me and asked, “is there something wrong with your face? You never show it?” That was the aha moment when it hit me. When it comes to social media, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Turns out what I wasn’t showing to try to protect myself from being judged, was being judged anyways. So I decided, what the heck. New strategy; post what you want, and work on your confidence being such that you care less what people think.
This is easier said than done, yes. But I have over the years developed a few guidelines that help me do this social media thing, while protecting my peace of mind, boundaries, and not giving away my power. I know not everyone has to post publicly for a business, however this applies for both, business and personal.
What it comes down to is, taking back control of it and not letting it take control of you. You are the editor and curator of your own social media experience. It’s so easy these days to get carried away with the friend additions (after all, you have all the mutual friends in common right ?), liking pages you don’t understand, being added to groups that are trying to sell you something, etc. I’m sure we could all use a couple days to cleanse our social media accounts and cut ties with things that no longer serve us, or we felt pressured to be a part of. Until you find that time, here are my tips to help break the patterns of giving away your power or piece of mind to social media:
1- Give yourself permission to…
- Unfollow: Did you know you can unfollow friends without unfriending them? Seems so basic, I know, but some people still don’t know that. It’s a great tool. Some people can be totally normal in real life but their social media accounts are a display of them trying to find themselves, or really just needing a diary. It can be painful. If you don’t have positive thoughts towards someone when their updates pop up on your feed, perhaps you are doing them a favor by unfollowing them. On that same note, you can unfollow posts, even after you have engaged. Confession: I do this with EVERY SINGLE POST I engage in. I like, comment, etc. Then I go to the top right, click on the little dots, and select the “turn off notifications for this post.” It keeps me sane.
- Unfriend: This one is so simple, yet so hard. Is it easier to let them be and not stir up anything by unfriending them? My rule of thumb; if I don’t feel good intentions from them, they don’t inspire, uplift, or support me, or they simply disturb my inner peace, they gotta go. I don’t need to prove it to anyone but me that it was a wise choice. I believe in vibe cleanses and if your vibe is not compatible with mine for whatever reason, I cut the tie.
- Delete comments: If someone makes a comment on your post that is triggering you, don’t engage; delete it. Sometimes people mean well, sometimes they are just big smart asses and you want to get in a smart ass battle with them. But in general, remember you don’t have to get stuck defending your point. You shared something, and just because someone feels differently about it, doesn’t mean you have to entertain the discussion. Now if you want to and having these conversations were the intention of the post, then go for it! But don’t let anyone cyber bully you on your own territory.
- Keep your personal life personal: We all have that one friend (or 2…or 3…) we just want to gift a diary to and deactivate their account for a few weeks. Social media gives everyone a voice but how much of that voice should be used for very personal things is not so black and white. If your post serves a purpose, that is different. I know I have shared personal things before, including (but not limited to..) my last blog post. That was a purpose driven post which will unfold more throughout the next year. But if you simply want to vent, maybe go old school and call your closest friends, get a bottle of wine, & you know.. log out just in case you get the urge to post, post wine. Remember when dishing out your personal life on a platform that leads to judgement, whether good or bad, you are going to get it. You will have to accept the consequences. Don’t feel pressured to share anything, ever. Withholding information from social media does not make you fake. It makes you smart enough to know the difference between real life and well…social media!
2- Try not to read between the lines or assume the worst …
Social media leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings. Keeping things in perspective is key.
I have to admit, I have been guilty of reading between the lines before. What can that look like? Seeing your friends act a certain way towards other friends, and not towards you. Seeing your friends like others’ every move, complimenting and encouraging left and right, and you are lucky to get a random like every now and then from them. It’s confusing. Why are they a cheerleader of others and not you? I don’t have the answer to that and I can’t say that sounds like a good friend. But what I can say is that it’s not worth your mental energy trying to figure out people’s social media activity (or lack there of). Some people will give positive encouragement to those they feel need it and will enviously look away from those they think have it going on. That’s just life. Some people will simply not like what you are sharing. Doest it matter ? Not really. The reason why leads me to my next point.
3- Lead with the power of intention …
Do you ever stop and ask yourself why you are posting something? The WHY you are posting something should be the most important thing. What inspired you to share something? If you focus on the why, you focus less on the how it’s received, or how “popular” your post is. At the end of the day, it has served its purpose; you shared the laugh, the beauty, the inspiration, the memory, etc. One of my strategies to enforce this has been that after I post, especially on Instagram or my public facebook page, I close my apps and disengage for a bit. That allows me to make sure my goal was to simply share something, and I can be content knowing I did that, regardless of how it’s being received. Sure it’s important (and fun) to engage and I try not to suck at it (although I have room for improvement on instagram) but I wanted to share an experience, message, pretty picture, memory, outfit, etc. and I did. My job is done. The rest is really not up to me.
What does it look like to have a mis-directed intention in a post? Well, what comes to mind is selfies with deep inspirational quotes attached to them. Notice I did not say selfies altogether. Do what feels right in the moment or what you gotta do when you’re traveling solo! But, I prefer women say, “hey, my make-up looked dope today!” or “I got my hair done.”..or “I am here, doing this…” (and actually be there doing that). If you feel really pretty one day and just want to celebrate and share that, THAT IS OK!! That is your intention. No need to disguise it with a quote about making the world a better place. Chances are your selfie will not accomplish that (sorry to be the bearer of bad news). You don’t need permission to share your pretty self.
The power of intention … keep it simple, keep it real, and as far as I see it, if that is in line, your social media accounts are lit!
4- Take time off …
I LOVE my social media cleanse months! I sincerely don’t know what I would do without them. Even in between, I take days off at time. I have to post for my business, which can make it feel like work. So like with any job, I need time off. That brings the enjoyment back and it keeps me from becoming jaded by it. I strongly recommend it for everyone. Come up with a plan that works for you. It might simply be to log off after 6pm and focus on your family, or unwinding. I typically start off the year with January off social media to plan and strategize my year and it truly recharges me. It is hard to hear your own thoughts when you are surrounded by outside noise. Come back and get in touch with you before you try to keep up with everyone else.
5- Learn to accept compliments, for you and others …
Compliments used to make me very uncomfortable. Like, extremely! I started asking myself why. After all, I’m sure silence, or insults wouldn’t make me comfortable either. I realized that I had a deep rooted fear that getting compliments meant I would come off as full of myself, or less like-able. So my strategy to offset that was to water down every compliment with a comment making fun of myself. That became exhausting (& I’m sure just as obnoxious). Acknowledging and accepting is still humble. A simple “thank you”, is enough. On that same note, learn to accept, and give, compliments to others. You telling another woman she looks beautiful only makes you more beautiful. Look at an outpour of compliments on someone else’s post as a sign that social media is still a positive place for uplifting others. One of my favorite things I do is have a model promo shoot for all the real women and models that walk in my fashion show, Fierce In The City. I love to see how their friends react to their fierce pics, and knowing what effect that is hopefully having on their self confidence. By uplifting others, you are only uplifting yourself. Choose that route. Don’t get into a competitive streak with anyone, especially not your friends. Learn to genuinely be happy for others. Social media is a wonderful place to put this into practice every day. Positivity is contagious and you will see that people will start to be happy for you as well. Spread the love.
Remember most importantly that your inner peace is priceless. Do what you need to do to keep your social media profiles and activity as a safe place with boundaries that never rob you of the joy it is mean to have. I hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading & following!