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Tess Brigham


OK maybe the above statement is a little rash and hysterical. There are certainly many things on Facebook that cause us to smile and laugh. I do love that video of the dog teaching the puppy how to walk down the stairs.

What I am talking about is how Facebook and all the other social media platforms that exist today can really take a toll on our self-esteem and make us second guess our lives. Most of my clients are twentysomething women and I can see how difficult it is for them to keep their sense of selves and remain confident in this social media crazed world.

One good thing about being over 40 is I didn’t have to go through my 20s with Facebook, Instagram or any social media for that matter. It is hard enough to figure out who you, what you want and what you want your life to look like. But to be simultaneously inundated with images of my friends posting pictures of themselves looking carefree, happy and without any doubt of who they are and what they want? I know it would be hard for me.

I can imagine you must have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I do. While FB keeps us “in the know” and up to date with friends and family, it can also feel like you are dodging “look at how wonderful my life is” bullets from those you love.

So what do you do? Quit Facebook? Cancel Instagram? Close your all your social media accounts? What!?!? Just kidding...kinda.

I know going social media “cold-turkey” is not realistic, especially if you have to use social media for work purposes. So if we can’t escape it, let’s get real about social media. Here is a quick “one, two punch” way to deal with social media overload:

1) Facebook (and all forms of social media) are all smoke and mirrors. People post pictures, videos and updates of the best moments of their lives. We post pictures of incredible meals we are eating. We don’t post pictures of going through the drive through at McDonalds. We post pictures of us looking fabulous at the latest club on a Saturday night, not when we are in our sweatpants eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. It’s our perpetual “first date, job interview, dinner with the in-laws” selves. It’s not real life.

Now that you are more realistic about Facebook, start to think about how to make it work for you. Facebook was created with the idea of keeping in touch with friends and family, to create communities, to share information and have a few laughs. When you are depressed do you call every single one of your friends and tell them about it? Probably not. While scanning through your news feed is not broadcasting all your problems to the world, it is inviting others – their highs and lows –into your psyche.

2) Create some social media ground rules. Don’t look when you are feeling really low, don’t look late at night, don’t look after a terrible day at work or a fight with your partner. Don’t look when you are feeling emotionally fragile. If you need a laugh or something to lift your spirits – this is not the place. Search Jimmy Fallon videos on Youtube or Google inspirational quotes.

I try to think of looking at Facebook or Instagram like reading “People” or “US Weekly.” The pictures are pretty and glossy and it is a nice escape for a while but it is not real life. I don’t read these magazines when I feel bad about something and need real encouragement to keep pushing forward. There is so much content on the Internet now. Take control of what kinds of information you take in and recognize it for what it is: a fictional account of life.