An Antidote for Stress
There's a clip of an interview by Simon Sinek that went viral lately discussing how social media addiction is a strategy for millennials to numb out in response to stress, and that in fact, many in that generation haven't learned how to deal with stress in a healthy way. I first shared my thoughts of it here, and have this to say as a follow up.
What I'm interested in is what is below the strategy of using social media. It's kind of ironic that many people I see are saying they're going to reduce their social media use, because it's akin to saying "I have digestive problems so I'm going to eat less" - it focuses on taking away the symptom, hoping that it will solve the problem.
Less social media still avoids addressing the depth of the issue which is exactly what the social media is a strategy for in the first place.
As Simon Sinek says, the depth and the root of where the addiction to social media comes from is the lack of deep and meaningful relationships. Reducing social media won't necessarily address this.
As humans our natural built in stress reduction technique is connection with others. Connection with others that is face to face, with no distractions, where we are seen and heard for who we are. Where the stress we put on ourselves for who we are and who we are not is taken away by the space held by someone else and radical acceptance. The connection with people who know that the things we make up about ourselves by no means define the incredible person that we are.
THAT is the type of deep and meaningful connection I am talking about.
It's not always easy to go to that depth. It can be absolutely terrifying to strip away the walls that you've built up to protect yourself and confide in someone else.
Sometimes it's easier to post a photo on Facebook and see how many likes we get. It's easier to not confront the things we're afraid of about who we are, and we don't actually have to do that by lessening our use of social media. It creates the space for that to happen, and we all still must do something to create a different result.
It's actually perfect that social media is the strategy for a deeper connection. The very things we avoid is usually the thing that we yearn for the most, and people are crafty in trying to circumvent going through the discomfort of opening themselves up and still get the reward of connection. I know that all of us want to be unconditionally loved. We want to feel like people "get" us, and to feel part of a community. To not be lonely.
Instead, my invitation is for you to think about how you're going to create the deep and meaningful relationships in your life.
What do you actually want to say when someone says "How are you?"
Show up authentically.
When you do that, it gives other people permission to do the same.
This is the place that we start to cultivate connection and stress resilience, and as a byproduct, create more meaning in our life.
It's a bold act of courage to go first and be open with yourself. I know the pounding heart and sweaty palms of vulnerability. You might do it wrong, you might mess it up. I can't promise that it will go perfectly. But you know what? You keep going. Because it's worth it.
Connection isn't a destination. It's something you continually grow and develop.
Let me know how it goes. You got this.