I recently had the absolute best conversation with a friend about self-help with social media as the subject matter catalyst.
As I may have mentioned a time or two, I have issues with social media. I struggle to disconnect from the quick hits, the external validation. I use it as a frequent distraction, a way to procrastinate. And I’m acutely aware of my problems with this too, and still struggle to find my way through them.
On this day, my friend had posted some Instagram Stories related to the topic. Basically, she curated the hell out of her feed so not a single thing showed up that would bring her down or elicit negative or icky feelings or spirals of inadequacy and comparison. She talked about how it’s important to recognize the stuff that makes you feel badly, and do what you need to do to remove that from your sphere of influence.
Now, our conversation got interesting, because, first of all, I totally agree with her. I’ve been working hard to purge my feed of things, brands, people who make me feel less than, like I’m not keeping up, like I’m not good enough, envious, straight jealous, whatever. Even that is difficult though, because sometimes, it’s people I actually know and am close to. (Luckily, social media is a whole different beast than a real-life friendship and I can still be real-life friends with these people without following them on social media.) We agreed that social media purging can feel difficult, no matter your relationship with the account, because it just gets to feeling personal somehow.
That also, then, leads to these feelings like we should be strong enough not to be affected by something so seemingly trivial as social media. But the reality is, not everyone can detach in that way that easily. We all have our stuff, right?
For me, it’s the feeling that I’ll lose touch with the world. But, at the very same time, I know damn well I will actually get more connected to the world. And, more importantly, to myself. I mean, I tell myself and journal and talk till I’m blue in the face about how I want to build my business and my life in a certain way, and then I still look to what other people are doing, try to figure out trends, and ultimately end up questioning everything.
So, so, stupid, Kourtney. Not helping.
Which brought us to comparison. Which is another really hard thing. And honestly, it’s another thing that all the people are out there saying is useless and not worth our time and bullshit and WE KNOW THIS. But, sometimes, some damn days, it’s impossible not to. As my friend said, to just look to “make sure.” We find it easier to get rid of the people who repel us for various reasons – we can tell it’s fake, we don’t identify with their message, we straight up don’t want what they have to offer, whatever. But the ones who make us feel inadequate? It feels impossible to tear ourselves away. To hit the unfollow button.
Basically, we admitted that, especially for all the people who run closely parallel to us, it becomes even harder not to get caught up in their worlds. It crushes us. We can’t see past it. And again, this feeling that we should be stronger than this – that we shouldn’t have to cut out the influence completely. That we should be able to rise above it and not have to purge it. And that it’s weak to have to make that move.
And as two people who don’t shy away from growth work, ever, I love that where we were able to get is a firm base of, you know what? That’s fine, and it’s an option, but I choose to bypass this entirely.
I think there are times when it’s worthwhile to dig in and really go for the root. But also, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to understand exactly what’s at play, ie: this feed is making me feel inadequate and jealous – and exercise the option to cut it without further examination.
And I also think that’s the double-edged sword of the self-help movement. It’s important to be open to understanding feelings and different approaches, and of course, that’s appropriate in certain situations.
But, sometimes, it’s not actually that complicated.
There are a lot of schools of thought out there that are saying you always have to go all in on dissecting every single feeling, figuring out the meaning behind why you’re feeling those feelings, and I just don’t operate or coach that way. I’m more selective in using each approach. I’m sure it’s the Aries in me that isn’t afraid to close doors and walk away, but it can be freeing not to have to analyze everything, you know? There are times when that’s the most self-helpful thing you can do.
I talk all the time about how I don’t read a lot of self-help books or follow a lot of the gurus, and this is why. I didn’t build my practice based on a system, and this is why. I think there is a lot of YOU NEED TO DO IT THIS WAY out there, and I’m not here to tell you what you need. I just want to nudge you to figure it out for yourself.
The point of self-help is to help your Self, right? I’m not here to rag on it as a concept or a movement – I do it and I’m part of it. But I am here to say that I hope you stay open to trying on all the approaches in all the situations. I hope you know there are options, and you get to choose what and when to use and bypass.
And you probably already know more than you think.