5 Ways Social Media is Killing Your Dream

5 Ways Social Media is Killing Your Dream

I took a Facebook break recently.

I’d actually been cutting back for a few weeks before I announced it. And I did that mostly in case a potential client tried to reach me there. I was fine using Facebook for work, but I’d had some friendship breakups and seeing their posts on mutual friends’ pages was rubbing salt in the wounds.

I was also addicted to Facebook (again!) and needed a break.

While on the break, I had some epiphanies as I suddenly had more TIME. The thing I constantly complain about not having enough of. Time for my family, time for the friends I still had, time to work and most of all: Time to dream. I came up with 5 ways social media is killing your dream.

As there are two sides to every argument, I will follow up with a blog detailing five ways you can use social media to further your dream. Social media is a tool. You can use it or get sucked in.

Here are the ways social media is killing your dream:

1. Comparison is the thief of joy.

How many times have you browsed your newsfeed and felt jealousy? Based on whatever stage of life you’re in, you’ll see other people getting the things you want. Whether or not they were even YOURS to have, you can still feel it. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

If you find yourself wondering why someone else has the baby/marriage/career you’re hoping for, take a break. You have plenty to be thankful even if it’s as commonly taken for granted like a roof over your head.

Focus on YOUR path. How far you have come. How far you would like to go. Wanting something is almost more delicious than getting it if you can live in the moment and have faith that what you’re supposed to get will come.

2. Time is the only thing you can never get more of.

Everyone I know is busy. Busy, busy, BUSY. We all wish we had more time to do the things we want and need to. But we don’t realize how much time the innocent-seeming news feed scroll can eat up. They’ve built the site with the purpose of trying to KEEP you there.

It’s like being ADD. You go on to message a friend and suddenly you’re watching videos of baby marmosets being brushed by toothbrushes and seeing photos of Kim Kardashian’s planet-like rear.

I have more time to edit. More time to photograph. More time to talk to clients.

I’ve tried to make it a habit to leave my phone in the kitchen and then cuddle with the kids upstairs. We have the most hilarious conversations and the most loving interactions when I’m actually THERE with them.

I have more time for friends in the real world and when my phone is on silent in my purse, I can truly listen and see their lovely faces. We all do it. We all know we should do it less. You really do have more time than you realize.

3. You lose focus. Focus. FOCUS.

No dream is EASY. It takes CONSTANT nurturing. You have to ground yourself and wave away outside distractions. Distractions breed comparison. That breeds fear. If you lose focus it’s easy to feel like your dream is out of reach.

So focus! Get a check list app. Make time to talk about your hopes and dreams with your partner. Thoughts become words, words become intentions and intentions are powerful things.

4. Emotions are contagious.

It’s shocking when I feel myself in a crappy mood and realize I read no less than 10 doomsday stories about abuse and death. I haven’t watched the news since I realized it affected me after 9/11. I don’t REALLY need to know every intimate detail of every loss.

There are plenty of loved ones in my life who have recently lost someone and I’d rather be able to try to send them love than feel like I’ll never make a difference.

There have been numerous studies that emotions are contagious. And social media is the place where you’re suddenly faced with SO MANY people’s emotions. If you find yourself feeling down and not knowing why, put your phone done.

Take a walk. Cuddle a child or pet. Hug your spouse. Feelings change. Sometimes it doesn’t take much more than the thought, “I want to feel better.”

5. Social media is reality the way reality TV is “reality”

We’ve all seen it. The friend who’s crushed in private but posts happy posts online. The perfect mother who never acknowledges publicly that she hid in the bathroom to pee alone. The professional who’s career is always booming. I do it too. We try to put our best faces forward.

But it’s not reality.

You can never look at someone’s timeline and truly know them. We are all flawed. We all have times we’re sad. We all have things we have failed at.

This is another argument for being careful how you’re spending your time.

I’ve had to scale back my interactions and ask myself: If I had a totally crappy day, would this person listen? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know”, then I really don’t need to spend a ton of time commenting on things. I’ve made so many friends through social media that I’ll continue. But I don’t feel the need to respond to every comment and like and I don’t have to reciprocate unless I really feel I add something to the conversation.

Even the dream process is skewed through the eyes of social media. You don’t see how many times that person failed but kept trying. You don’t see the doubts in their head that their dream might be out of reach. You don’t get a realistic sense of their dream process.

If you admire someone for their dream, reach out to them. Start a conversation. In real life, most dreamers are happy to share the process so you have a realistic expectation of how to achieve your own.

Iman Woods
Feel Beautiful.

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. info@imanwoods.com Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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  • I have a slightly different view of this based on the fact that I am an old techie who has been kicking it around on the Internet since 1993 and was into it full-stop during my divorce in 1997/1998. At that time it was AOL: chat rooms and AOL messenger with a little program called ICQ were all the distraction.

    Being online in a social way is a wonderful connection tool when you are a single mom (or person) coming out from a marriage or long-term relationship, especially if you have children underfoot. It allows you to have a social life once they have gone to bed and it’s relatively cheap. At least, it was that way for me back in the day, and I had a wonderful group of online stranger-friends who supported and consoled me during my divorce.

    I dated from my online connections before it was monetized by dating sites for the masses and I am still friends with the men I met today (minus two of them). I can look back on some absolutely fabulous times.

    I also made some amazing women friends who became like sisters to me before that was ever considered “normal” online. We have watched each others kids grow up. I have even traveled to visit them and they have come and stayed with me.

    Being social online in those early years was responsible for exposing me to blogging (AOL journals) where I started my first blog, A Week in the Life of a Redhead. I began to write again after 20 years of silence and heal my own painful memories from my father’s death and the tragic events at the end of my high school years.

    That so-called “AOL addiction” in its day brought me to the amazing career I have now and forever changed my life. Facebook connects me with people like you who continue to change my life and impact me in so many positive ways that I do not have words to fully express my gratitude.

    What you have gone through with social media is not unusual for someone who has gone through a painful divorce, and now that you have rebuilt your life anew, it is natural that Facebook will become less important for full-time emotional support, as chat rooms and messenger did for me back in my divorce days.

    It changes and becomes something different now.

    And that’s OK too.

    Love, Cath

  • Remy Gervais

    I gave up Facebook for lent this past year and it was challenging. You use the word “addicted” which i saw more as a habit for me, but I understand your experience and have felt the same about seeing toxic relationships play out in front of you. Time is the one resource we can never get back – if FB or Linkedin or Twitter or ….or ….is a time suck, evaluate the result it’s getting you (like you did with business contacts) and make changes….for sure…I am happy your life is moving in the right direction, towards your goals, and towards your Dream life ;)