Detox for 2018
Are you a social media junkie?
Do you know the saying ‘you are what you eat’?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about applying that same logic to what we consume as viewers and users of media. My tv habits over the years have been admittedly low quality. As a tired, working mother, the last thing I felt like doing at the end of a long day was concentrating on a show that required my brain space, so I opted instead for mindless viewing, like The Real Housewives or The Bachelor- totally crappy tv, I know!
Prior to having children though, my viewing habits weren’t much better as much as I hate to admit it! Australia’s and America’s Next Top Model were a favourite of my best friend and I as we sat excitedly on the couch, assessing final photos and judging who we thought would be eliminated at the end of each episode. I must defend myself at this point- I also really enjoy watching documentaries about the world, news and international affairs programs, however my past has seen me consume more than my fair share of trashy tv- something that has always come in handy for lunchtime work conversation!
These shows that I have watched religiously over the years, are all based on girls and women being pitted against each other based purely on their appearance. Is it any wonder that someone like myself, someone who was already obsessed with image, applied this to my own life as I found myself comparing myself to everyone else and obsessing over what people thought of me? Was I prettier than her? Did I look good? Were my legs fatter than hers? Were people looking at me? I wish I looked like her… It was like in my mind I was on some sort of reality tv crack. Then when I took a look at the Facebook pages I was following; 28-day body transformations, full of before and after photos of people whose body I longed for, trainers with unbelievable bodies that I could have if only I followed their diet and avoided all carbs…. All of these things kept my disordered thinking alive, my need to diet, my need to focus on weight fed by my own viewing habits, willing me to keep feeling like I could be better if only I tried harder.
This year has been the start of a viewing detox as I take back control of what I consume as a viewer. There is overwhelming evidence that social media sites like Instagram have the ability to impact our self-esteem as we process perfected images of those we follow wearing perfectly fitting bikinis, showing their glamorously perfect lives. I have deleted all the pages I previously followed that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough as I am. I’ve deleted all of the Top Model shows and Real Housewives, and I will no longer watch the Bachelor or Bachelorette or any show that makes me wish I looked any way other than the way I look. No amount of hoping will give me longer legs, no amount of wishing will make me taller or give me a smaller frame. I no longer care to see people’s before and after photos, other people’s weight loss will no longer be my focus. I vow to only consume things that validate, that extend my mind, that fuel my interest in the world and how it works. I will no longer feed poor body image or self-esteem. This is the year of full and complete self-acceptance. I have spent too much time wishing I was like someone else, it’s time to be unashamedly me.
But I just want to ask, how is your viewing impacting you?
What are you currently consuming that you’d like to detox from?