The internet loves authenticity, so why is everyone trying so hard to be themselves?
Darcie Wilder (Self-proclaimed America’s sweetheart on Twitter), published a guide on The Creative Independent. The guide was titled, How to put yourself online. Her article is an all-encompassing guide on how to maintain and create a healthy presence in digital spaces.
Her guide actually inspired this article.
Do You Put Yourself First While Online?
For whether reason you find yourself frolicking in the digital world, chances are you're not thinking about putting yourself first while you're online.
Try answering these questions to determine if you’ve been putting yourself first when you're within the digital world:
- Why are you online?
- Are you happy with the way being online makes you feel?
- Do you open your phone as soon as you open your eyes?
- How does it impact your day if the first thing you see on social media isn't so positive?
Wilder points out something I’m sure so many of us have felt, “To me, Instagram feels like the party I just had to go to, and once I’m there it’s fun enough, and there are some people I like there, but I realize I probably could have stayed home.”
More questions to help center yourself while online:
- Do you have any goals for being online?
- Are you unfollowing accounts that give you the “Ick?”
- Could you do more to stay present in your physical life before heading online?
- How often are you comparing yourself to others, and then subsequently picking apart your own 'self-diagnosed flaws' based on that comparison?
A lot of us find ourselves interacting online for professional reasons. Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter- we might enjoy those spaces but we’re also susceptible to interacting with them in disingenuous ways.
Wilder calls us out on even this, “Even if your reasons for being online are primarily career-driven, in my opinion, there should always be some crossover between professional and personal. This simply means bringing your personality out and sharing some nonsense or other small talk. It’s not a call to air your dirty laundry or the dark corners of your personal life, but to be yourself in the most palpable and enjoyable way to others.”
When you enter into a digital space, putting yourself first is done by being yourself, is essentially what Wilder is saying here, “It’s nice when people treat their social media accounts as extensions of themselves, rather than as ads for themselves.”
But we’ll have to go further than authenticity to keep ourselves mentally well.
Carve out Little Moments To Reset
“[...]But nobody can force anybody else to get help or be better. No hand is reaching down from the sky to guide you along. There are only little moments of peace, ones that you carve out for yourself. There are only beams of clarity and what you decide to do with them.”
Reflect on what you see when you're within the digital world before you internalize someone else’s energy.
Let’s say someone is trying to get in shape, they wouldn’t just eat any meal someone puts down in front of them. They would ask themselves, "is this meal in alignment with my goals?" Is the social media you’re consuming or the time spent online in alignment with your own energy? Are you consuming anything-and-everything online and feeling icky afterward?
If you want to put yourself first in the digital world, you have to do three things:
1. Be selfish
2. Be self-aware
3. Be a picky media consumer
No one else is going to look out for your mental health while you're online.
But What If I Have To Spend A Lot Of Time Online?
If you’re a content creator or someone trying to build your digital presence, you may believe you need to think about others all of the time in order to create great content. And while that’s true, it’s also fundamentally flawed logic.
It ignores the fact that you have to put yourself first to truly succeed in creating authentic content.
Wiest says it another way, “If your goal in this life is to be selfless, start with yourself. When you're taken care of, everybody else can be too.”
Do This One Thing Every Single Day As An Act Of Self Care
“What do you need to do every single day to feel good about yourself?”
Try honestly asking yourself questions like these. Reflect on your responses and then act on them every single day before you step into any digital space. This is one of the most important acts of self-care you can easily carry-out every single day. Stay in touch with yourself and protect your energy.
BCRX Content Writer, Klarrisa Arafa