By Eric Charles, MA., PhD-c
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” ~Hermann Hesse
1. Relationships are being redefined as quantity is better
The nature of a relationship is rapidly being redefined. It seems we are distancing ourselves further from true intimacy; substituting quantity and convenience over quality. Let’s face it, we value immediacy and struggle with intimacy. If we can make a post and get an immediate response, it will satisfy the innate need to feel relevant. It does not matter who responded, but how many responded. And, more responses is always better than less responses. We all want to feel significant and be validated. If you don’t, please let me know. I would love to know your secret.
2. Impulse control: out of service
Checking to see if we have a new comment, like, follow, snapchat or re-tweet has become as common as putting on a pair of shoes. It is best to turn off all notifications from your social media accounts. I doubt you will receive anything urgent on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. So, why let it interrupt your life? We must be careful, as these social media notifications trigger the pleasure center of our brain (nucleus accumbens) making it easy to be on autopilot, anytime a new response is received.
3. Self-worth and responses from others
It is the need for an immediate response to make us feel relevant, noticed, liked or important that is most concerning. Most often, these are responses from total strangers. The danger is that we unknowingly place a value on ourselves, based upon the number of responses we receive. The number of responses I receive from this post could potentially influence my feelings about myself as a writer. So, it is important for me to separate my self-worth from the responses I receive from you, my dear readers. In all social media endeavors, it is important to do the same.
4. Total number of hours spent on social media
On average, people are checking their social media account a staggering 17 times per day. Incredibly, people spend an average of 4.7 hours per day using their smart phone. It is almost as if smart phones have become the pacifier for adulthood. How can relationships stand a chance when this much time is being consumed by the nuances of a modern era?
5. Oh, you’re still there? But, I already have what I need
Lastly, it is necessary to reiterate that social media offers a cheap means for validation. As cheap as it may be, validation is still validation, no matter how deceptively satisfying it is. Why would we need our partner to make us feel significant when we have a social media account that is equally satisfying? In fact, it might even be more satisfying. Our significant other probably won’t “like” every selfie we post even when a complete stranger might. Our partner sees us for who we are, not who we present ourselves as on the internet.
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