THE BLOG

I'm Finding My Voice After Experiencing Social Media Anxiety

12/24/2015 01:48 EST | Updated 12/24/2016 05:12 EST
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Man typing text message on his smartphone, focus on hands and the phone device.

This morning I spent an hour browsing social media before leaving bed; a normal occurrence on any regular day. I began on Facebook. There were no notifications waiting for me yet I continued scrolling down my News Feed. And then I moved onto Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat, and finally Instagram once all the others were too boring for my tastes. A terrible habit nonetheless; a new year is approaching and I sense a resolution is in order.

It has been 14 weeks since I last posted a photo on Instagram and my Facebook profile hasn't changed since last March. I hardly tweet nor do I update my status. Yet I'm always refreshing these websites searching for something I can't describe. My online presence is hardly visible which is hardly an accurate representation of my addiction to social media.

There have been countless times in 2015 that I've wanted to post something and didn't bother. Occasionally these posts can be found in my drafts but most often they are deleted. Why do I let this happen? Surely someone must care for what I have to say? But then I think again.

Not everyone lives a perfect life as it may appear through the tiny screen in our hands.

This hasn't always been the case. For so long I pursued my passion for music. I posted YouTube videos that I filmed in my bedroom with a shitty camera, myself, and the piano. There was no need for anything more. And people listened! I used Twitter trying to spread my music and was able to gather quite a large following. And then one day I gave up. I became so caught up trying to be perfect; trying to post things that everyone would like rather than what I liked. I became fearful of what others thought of me and their perception of the things I posted online. And so I disappeared.

The online world can be quite a toxic environment at times as it has been for me. As a society, we are constantly sharing the best and most important parts of our lives for our friends and family to see. We are constantly comparing ourselves to these moments; subconsciously competing with each other. It is difficult to remember that what we see online is only a small fragment of the entire picture. Not everyone lives a perfect life as it may appear through the tiny screen in our hands.

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It took me too long to realize this. So many years I wasted fearful of what others thought of my posts. Fearful that they wouldn't measure up to the works of others. Fearful that if I didn't share what was happening in my life that others would never believe it actually happened. Always trying to prove myself to others.

Today I relinquish this fear.

The struggle with my confidence has been a long and lengthy battle. Being a part of today's generation doesn't make things any easier. The battle doesn't end here, but I'm hopeful that with small steps things will get better. That is the message that has gotten me through time and time again.

Tyler is 20 years old and studies Media Production at Ryerson University. This post can also be found on his blog, "Sincerely Tyler".

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