These days our senses are bombarded with noise and data. Our relationship with this external noise undoubtedly plays a significant role in our enjoyment and engagement with life. If we believe our experience is a true reflection of reality we are bound to suffer. How can we support ourselves and others to have a healthier relationship with what is going on around us?
Of course, anyone of us can fall for the insidious trap of believing that what we are seeing is a true depiction of life. According to current research, young girls in particular are struggling in their relationship with social media. In its quest to feel like a separate identity, the ego ends up working overtime in an attempt to keep us ahead of the game. It drives us to want to feel special and we end up comparing and judging ourselves against characters in stories that aren’t real. It also seeks to protect us against failure and criticism, which leads us towards unhelpful and unhealthy behaviours, like quitting something that we enjoy but may not be very good at compared to others.
When we compare ourselves to characters in a video games or to acquaintances on social media it is easy to believe that everyone else is having more fun, earning more money, being more successful, and has a more perfect body image. We feel dissatisfied, our life sucks… but we potentially miss that we are competing with a completely unrealistic ideal, a doctored image of reality. We do this unconsciously.
The answer, therefore, to the earlier question of how to support ourselves and others, is to become more aware, more conscious of how the system works, and in particular to see the innocent role of the ego in falling for this simple but pervasive trick of the mind. You don’t need to compare yourself with anyone else. Irrespective of circumstance, it is never you against life. You are a unique expression of life itself.
In this 4th episode of the Designed to Thrive Podcast we explore the role of social media, computer games and other activities on our mental wellbeing, particularly when the sense of enjoyment and fun in doing them is lost or replaced by more negative emotions. We are simply caught up in believing that what we are experiencing is true. We are comparing life on the inside (how I see myself) with life on the outside (how I see others) and we will always fall short in this comparison.
If you’re curious about this you can read more about it in my book, “More than you think”.
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If you would like to have a conversation to explore this further why not consider contacting me for personal coaching.