I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my mind over the past week.
Over the past week, I’ve witnessed some nasty interactions online and then some really amazing heartfelt ones (I also watched 13 Reasons Why, which is maybe why I’m on this rant). Anyway, I guess I just don’t understand the point in using social media as a weapon or to put other people down. Not only does it make that person feel bad, but I’m sure it ignites an unnecessary flame in you as well. So now both parties are angry or disheartened, and maybe so are few others who have jumped into the mess. What’s the point?
The biggest piece of advice I can give regarding social media is to eliminate those who bring you down. Delete the ones who antagonize you, who judge you, who question why you do or feel the way you do. If you don’t like something that you see, get rid of it. If you don’t like something and you have the power to change it, DO IT. That’s the beauty of social media, it only takes a click to “unfollow”, “unfriend”, “block”. Do what’s best for you. Remove the negativity out of your life and your happiness is likely to increase 10 fold.
We can’t please everyone, we can’t make everyone like us. That’s life. But, we can determine who we share our lives with. If they are hurting you, let them go. Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” definitely didn’t live in this generation. So I challenge you, clear your feed and your life of negativity and hatred.
Today I stumbled upon this (shouts to Drew):
Get you some friends who fill your feed with things like this, I promise, it’s worth it.
Last week I wrote about positive ways to use social media. I reached out to some of my fellow mental health bloggers to see how they use social media in a positive way. Here’s what they had to say about it:
“I try to use social media in a positive way by spreading awareness about the issues surrounding mental illness and suicide and sending out messages that will help give others hope and help them to not feel like they’re alone in this world.” – @Spreading_L0ve
“I use social media to spread awareness of Bipolar. It is still a very stigmatized condition and my aim is to help people have a better understanding of it. I share my own experiences in the hope that someone will take comfort that they are not alone, or change perceptions a person may have had. I run a blog entitled Stumbling Mind that focuses on Bipolar and related conditions.” –@NekoBear_ https://stumblingmind.com/
Support & Unity
“Hi I’m Laura. I’m 21 years old, I’m a student mental health nurse and I also suffer from depression and anxiety. Social media has had a huge positive impact on my life, believe it or not. Late last year I started blogging about my mental health, using my Twitter and Instagram to ‘get it out there’, in a way. By using Twitter to promote my blog, I accidentally came across an amazing online community of other people who suffer from various mental health illnesses. It’s a really good outlet, it enables me to talk openly about my mental health, to help spread awareness, but also, it’s always a positive for any mental health sufferer to be able to get something off of their chest, especially to people who understand!” -Laura https://lauralikeschange.wordpress.com/
‘My name is Gemma, I’m 22 and I’m a sufferer of mental illness. I use social media to find likeminded individuals searching for the same relief from mental illness. If I hadn’t chosen to use SM I wouldn’t have many of the friends I do today, I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak about my mental illnesses and in turn I wouldn’t feel empowered and proud of myself. I find my SM to be a very powerful tool, which unites people and strengthens hope.’ –@GemCals
Hopefully you can use their ideas and the ideas from my last post to brighten your social media environment. Please give some love to these lovely individuals by checking out their blogs and their stories. Just another way of creating a safe environment, by supporting one another.
Sometimes social media gets a bad reputation and that’s totally understandable. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites have fallen victim to bullying, harassment, judgement, “Facebook fights”, etc. Although there are policies against these types of things, it’s inevitable. As humans we’re opinionated and sometimes our opinions clash with those around us. Sometimes we choose to act in manner that isn’t exactly appropriate. This is when social media can turn ugly. We’re not always going to agree with those around us, and it seems like that’s a tough pill to swallow. Rather than viewing social media as an incubator for problems, we should use it in a positive way. Here’s a list of things YOU could do to make social media a positive and friendly environment.
#1. Spread love, support, and encouragement
#2. Connect with friends and family members
#3. Share personal goals, strengths, accomplishments, stories, etc.
#4. Give and share advice and recommendation
#5. Educate and inform yourself and others
#6. Share photo, memes and funny videos for a good laugh
#7. Follow and share inspiring accounts
#8. Raise awareness for an organization that you love
# 9. Remember what your mom always told you (the golden rule, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”)
#10. Lastly, think twice before you click ‘Post’, ‘Tweet’, etc.
This one’s for the haters. Who? Those people who don’t like social media, who think it’s poison, who judge you for the hours you spend online. Those who are hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. If you’re addicted to social media, don’t be ashamed. You aren’t alone! Do we have to validate our reasoning? No. But for those who don’t understand, here you go. Here is why I and HUNDREDS of others love social media (as long as you use it in the right ways).
Over the past few months I’ve began this blogging journey and I’ve met a lot of really great bloggers and mental health advocates. I’ve become part of a community that is so loving, supportive, and encouraging. If you’re looking to find a new community, I highly suggest searching different hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc. It’s an easy way to make new friends that share the same interests as you.
My favorite part about social media is connecting with friends new and old. Using social media has allowed me to stay connected with friends from grade school as well as new friends across the globe (shout out to Mark!). I’ve connected with friends from elementary school (I’m 22, this is crazy to me!). I’ve also connected with old babysitters and daycare providers. It’s an awesome tool that allows you to stay connected to those you wouldn’t see or talk to on a regular basis.
Ever lost a pet? Wanted to sell a product? Fundraise? Spread awareness? Share a funny video of cats? Social media is a great tool for a all of the above. With the number of social media users, things can spread in a matter of minutes. This can be dangerous but at the same time can be very useful. If you want to get the word about something, it’s so easy to post, share, and have others share. I love that Facebook and Twitter allow you to “Share” and “Retweet”. Not only does it allow me to enjoy posts over and over, but it allows me to share posts with my friends and family that might not have seen it in the first place. This also allows me to see new videos, memes, news that I’ve missed out on that my friends share. Thinking about all of the Office articles and memes I would’ve missed without social media makes me cringe.
The irony of this post is that to see it, you’re probably already using social media. You probably agree with the above statements. Share it with those who don’t use social media. Open their eyes to the opportunities. Don’t let them knock it till they try it. And if they try it, and they hate it, so be it. It’s not for everyone.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I’m sharing three of my favorite women in the media today. Check them out using social media in a positive way — supporting causes greater than themselves, empowering women, and striving for equality.
Emma Watson – commonly known for her roles as “Hermione Granger” in the Harry Potter films and “Belle” in the new Beauty and the Beast movie, a HUGE activist for equality, women’s rights, and feminism. She is an ambassador for UN Women fighting for gender equality and women’s empowerment. At age 26, Emma Watson is an outstanding role model and one of my favorite women in the media. I fell in love with her as Hermione and she still continues to amaze me. Here’s a video that I came across today -please watch, enjoy, and reflective. If you’re interested in learning more about Emma or want to hear what she has to say I strongly encourage you to follow her Twitter account. @EmmaWatson
Sophia Bush – commonly known for her roles as “Brooke Davis” in the hit series One Tree Hill and “Detective Lindsay” in Chicago P.D., she’s also a spokesperson and activist. My favorite thing about Sophia is her #MondayMantra that she features on her Instagram account. I was first introduced to Sophia on One Tree Hill and being the social media fiend I am, I followed her on Instagram. She shares so much love and inspiration, if you don’t follow her, I highly suggest checking her out. @SophiaBush
Chelsea Handler – a comedian, author, television host, actress, and activist. I was introduced to Chelsea on her hit E! series, Chelsea Lately. Since then, she has been one of my favorite comedians. She is another one of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow because she combines humor and activism. A bit unorthodox, but continuously hilarious, you’ll find her posting pictures of her bare ass or her breasts or making fun of different celebrities and coworkers. She takes serious issues and puts a fun spin on them. @ChelseaHandler
“National Eating Disorder Awareness Week – It’s important. It’s important to educate yourself and others. It’s important to build ourselves up not to tear ourselves down. It’s important to spread awareness to save lives. YOU are important. YOU are enough. YOU are not defined by a number or what you see in the mirror. This week I support National Eating Disorder Awareness for all of those fighting this life long battle, for those who have lost their fight, and for hope that awareness will save lives.” -Kelsey Howard (that’s me), Feb 2015
“…this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week so wear purple to show support for those who have won the fight, those who continue to fight, and in memory of those who aren’t with us today. Remind those around you that you love them and that they are good enough. Beauty isn’t defined by a number, shape, or size. So hey, if you’re reading this – you’re beautiful. Love Yourself.” -Kelsey Howard, Feb 2016
Well, it’s now 2017 and I’m still a huge proponent of self love, hence #loveyourselfie. This is an important week to support and love yourself AND those around you. The scary fact is that MILLIONS will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their life AND eating disorders have the HIGHEST mortality rate of any mental illness (1).
So, what can you do?
Open your ears and your hearts to those around you.
Remember that everyone is fighting their own battle.
Wellness Wednesday – how do I keep my mental health in check? The secret to my happiness stems from a lot of scrolling through social media, specifically, Pinterest (HEY, HERE’S ONE WAY TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN A POSITIVE WAY! [Look for this post in the near future]). Anyway, if you know me, you know I’m a HUGE fan of quotes. I keep a journal full of quotes that I write in every night and write sticky notes with quotes that I leave next to my bed. They’re easily relatable and yet still steal me away from reality for a minute. Here are some of my favorites:
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” -Marcus Aurelius
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I just wanted to remind you of the most important relationship you have, the relationship with yourself. Today as you spread love to your significant others, friends, family, co-workers, peers, remember to share some self-love. Treat yourself, read affirmations, take a selfie, radiate confidence, love each other, but most importantly, love yourself too. At the end of the day, relationships and friendships will come and go, it’s a sad reality, but it is reality. So, don’t forget to nurture the one that lasts a lifetime. And, if you don’t have a Valentine, that’s okay, just look in the mirror. The only person you need is the one staring back at you. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovely. Now, go treat yourself and don’t forget to #loveyourselfie. <3
Who are you following? Are you following accounts that bring you happiness? Are you following accounts that are thought-provoking? Or, are you following accounts that make you feel bad about yourself? Do you scroll through your feed and feel a sense of self-hatred or a loss of self-esteem? Have you ever considered the type of accounts you’re following?
There are brilliant programmers out there who develop algorithms for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. that show us accounts we might want to follow. They’ll show us posts or ‘people we may know’ based on our likes or our followers or our mutual friends. Have you ever considered that you might be following or ‘liking’ posts that are toxic?