Media Beware

We are our own worst critics. I have met so many women (in my personal life, professional life, and through my photography) that see themselves in the mirror in a much different light than the rest of us see them. Why is that?

How we view the world is largely impacted by what we surround ourselves with. Social media, movies, magazines, advertisements, and the people around us are large influences in our self-image.

Last year I realized that I was following a person on social media that are beautiful and kind, but for some reason would trigger bad thoughts about myself. I tried to adjust my frame of mind, but I was still struggling with self-image when seeing this person’s posts and I decided that it was time to unfollow her profile. I had decided that my mental health was more important than viewing the images of someone I didn’t really know. At first I felt guilty, but then I realized that it was the best decision for me.

A lot of the movies that are screened involve a love interest that is thin and tanned. Magazines include covers with women in revealing clothing to show their petite bodies. Advertisements include celebrities that very obviously train regularly to achieve a particular body shape. Many people (men and women) either repeatedly verbalize their own body insecurities or mimic others due to their bodies. Although all of these women are gorgeous, only seeing one or two body shapes being celebrated continuously can negatively affect anyone’s self-esteem and you need to decide what is/are the most important change(s) that need to be made to improve your mental health.

It’s okay to admit that something in your life affects your mental health. What isn’t okay is to ignore how it makes you feel and continue to allow those things to negatively affect you. You deserve better than that.

Take care of yourself.

Love Always,

Elizabeth

Let’s Talk IRL

Communication is an incredibly fluid item in our society. We have reached a time when we have the opportunity to not only speak with others face-to-face or via phone call, but can also text, email, instant message, and DM. This is both incredibly convenient for our busy lifestyles and potentially risky for our social skills.

When speaking with someone in-person, there are countless non-verbal ques to be interpreted. If someone has their arms crossed and eyebrows furrowed, they may be frustrated or upset. Even when you are on the phone, you can hear the person’s tone and volume to help translate the conversation’s meaning.

Now let’s think about texting. It’s such a fundamental part of many people’s days. With conversations via text messaging, it’s difficult to interpret meaning at times. For example, the word “okay”. If you are speaking with someone in-person and they respond with “okay” in a cheerful voice and a smile on their face, you will interpret that the conversation is going well. On the other hand, if you are texting and someone writes “ok” in response to your remark, you may think that they are being short with you or are irritated when, in actuality, they may have meant it as a simple response. There is so much left to assumption and previous encounters with a person when text messaging.

Sure, there are punctuation and emoji options, but everyone has a different perception of what those mean. For example, some people (yes, I mean people like me) tend to add exclamation points consistently throughout messages. I worry that if I don’t add that particular punctuation in my responses, my messages will come across as too serious or uninterested. Other people, however, never use exclamation points in their text messages. The same goes for emojis. Oh, and don’t even get me started on abbreviations. For example, “TBH I’m ROFL RN. I just posted the video.” may make sense to you,  but for someone who doesn’t know that TBH= to be honest, ROFL= rolling on the floor laughing, and RN= right now, it might just be a bunch of random letters mixed into your conversation. (Abbreviations aren’t my thing -for the most part- but I definitely know people who text like this and sometimes I have no idea what they are trying to say). Everyone has a different interpretation of the appropriateness of these additions to sentences and the frequency in which they should be used. This can lead to misunderstanding in conversations.

Technology makes it incredibly easy to connect with people around the world, but there is no connection quite like a real life in-person relationship. I 100% prefer a face-to-face conversation over a written one. This leaves much less to the imagination and is exponentially more personal. The written language is a very powerful tool, but I think we have a social obligation to uphold which includes containing more spoken word in our conversations.

The increasing success of electronic forms of communication have not only decreased human contact, but have also negatively affected the social skills of the most recent generations according to Liberty Classical AcademyNew York Behavioral Health, and The Odyssey (to name a few).

What will this mean for the generations to come? Do you prefer in-person or virtual conversations? Why do you think that is? Did you always have this preference or has it changed over time?

Break outside of your comfort zone today and have a (face-to-face) conversation with someone new.

Love Always,

Elizabeth

Social Media

We live in a world that has us logged in at all times. Whether we are scrolling through Facebook, checking Instagram, Snapchatting friends,  or Tweeting throughout our day, we seem to always be connected to some platform. It’s an addictive cycle. Social media creates a dopamine high with every positive interaction we face. Every “like” or comment releases a bit more dopamine that leaves your body wanting more. It’s hard to imagine going a day (let alone a week) without any source of social media. Our bodies crave that feeling of acceptance and validation.

 

Not to mention that most of what we see on social media isn’t true reality. We see the highlight reels of everyone’s lives. We see their workouts, their vacations, their nights out, and their achievements. What we don’t see is those people’s real life struggles and frustrations. It can be difficult to not hold your life in comparison to the lives that you see on your social media sites. Just know that although those people may be happy and experiencing success in their lives, they are not perfect. None of us are perfect.

 

I have learned that if following someone on a social media site makes me feel badly about my life, I need to unfollow them. It doesn’t mean that I’m not happy for them, but somehow their posts trigger feelings about myself that I don’t wish to subscribe to. There is nothing wrong with taking care of your mental and emotional wellbeing. That includes checking out of those social platforms at times.

 

There is nothing wrong with enjoying social platforms. They can be informing, interesting, and fun. I love seeing what family has been doing, posting about my life, and keeping in contact with friends. There is a problem, however, with feeling that you have to be on social media at every free moment. I personally have deleted the Facebook app from my phone. I still have an account and check it pretty regularly, but I actually have to go through the process of going to the website and logging on. And not seeing the Facebook logo on my phone every time I unlock my screen makes me less likely to find myself scrolling aimlessly for hours. It’s all about balance.

 

I challenge you to pick a day and do not use any form of social media. Just for that one day. During that day, ask yourself these questions:

-How difficult has it been for me to stay off social media?

-Why do I think that is the case?

-Do I feel more free or relaxed?

-What have I been able to accomplish today with my free time?

-Will I be more apt to use social media sites less regularly?

 

Free your mind and remember your self-worth.

 

Love Always,

Elizabeth