How social media can affect your gratitude

BeStillPost

Image: Caleb Landon.com

Checking in with social media has become a mindless, obsessive habit. You tap the Facebook app only to realise you looked at it just two minutes ago, and there was nothing much going on so you closed it. And here you are again.

But when a friend’s status catches your eye, there’s a sense of purpose to your incessant scrolling. Your thumb abruptly halts while you absorb the contents of the screen.

In these constant distractions from the given moment, we enter absent-presence; a state that’s more familiar than we care to admit, and yet a state we observe in others while they thumb-flick their way through the day. And all this, just to see what others are doing with their lives?

Discontent, be it boredom, procrastination or curiosity, prevents us from owning the moment. It prevents us from sensing the joy in acknowledging all that is good in our lives.

There’s a paradox in the satisfaction we get from a fruitful Facebook scroll that simultaneously leaves us dissatisfied with own lives. It’s a false comfort zone where we compare ourselves, we judge and measure ourselves against what we see on the screen while we float into a void of envy, desire and FOMO.

How can we cultivate gratitude and experience the joy it brings instead of the autopilot of absent-presence? We can first practise awareness, of ourselves and others. When we allow ourselves a greater consciousness of the app-tapping and thumb-flicking we can begin to recognise the habitual patterns that exclude us from the beauty of stillness.

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Comments
3 Responses to “How social media can affect your gratitude”
  1. Eshita says:

    I don’t know how much relevant my example is- I opened an account on facebook at the end of 2007 and I have never used it regularly. I just opened the account not to stay behind than others. I haven’t done much without sharing some photos before.

    When I came to study in Australia it completely changed my use of facebook. Because, culturally we are very family oriented people. We meet at least once a week with our family members eg the cousins definitely, uncles and aunts. Now, only facebook helps me to keep that old practice. I have never used facebook like this before. Now, I check facebook 3 times a day, post at least one status evrytime I log in, I comment on the close friends’ posts on a regular basis. So, after these years I have realized how useful facebook is. Without this social media I don’t think I could continue to stay here 🙂

    • sarina says:

      Hi Eshita, it sure is relevant. Your example shows that we all use social media in different ways, and while some use it to kill boredom, yourself and others use it as a tool to connect with people you are missing back at home. Thanks for sharing!

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