when entertainment becomes a toxic relationship: the powerful influence of what we surround ourselves with

Hello! Welcome back to Chickadee Lover Maggie, the blog where I write about what I’m learning, enjoying, and feeling passionate about! Today I bring you a post inspired in part by a conversation I was having with my mom last night.

I was thinking about how detrimental it is when we find ourselves surrounded by people (in real life, on social media, YouTube, tv, etc.) that do not allow us to be the version of ourselves we desire to be.

It’s hindering, painful, confusing, hopeless – when we’re holding our lives up to everyone else’s, it hurts because there will always be someone who has more, less, or different than we do.

“The problem with comparison is that you always feel either better than someone else or worthless compared to someone else.” – Dillon Burroughs

While pondering this topic recently, I was trying to figure out why it’s so painful for me to watch YouTubers who portray leading such a different life than I do. I wanted to understand why watching movies with romantic relationships and best-friend-forever friendships hurts so much, and why Instagram instantly zaps my contentment away.

related post: 11 reasons why i’m not on instagram (anymore)

It made me realize that human beings are designed to acknowledge and respond to what we see.

Long before the age of social media,
digital technology, and photoshop,
what you saw is what you got.

That hasn’t been true for many, many years.

“If comparison is the thief of joy, then our culture is being robbed blind.” – Jon Foreman

The content that comes out online, on the news, in the entertainment industry, on the cover of magazines – it’s hard to pick out anything that even resembles the truth.

I can’t tell you how many YouTube subscriptions I’ve gone through, social media platforms I’ve disconnected myself from, and friendships I’ve allowed to end because they all took from my life instead of adding to it.

Have you ever compared yourself to how someone else is choosing to allow certain things to influence their life?

One time, I found out a YouTuber I watched was subscribed to 800 channels, and I was like, man. I wish I had that many channels to watch. I should subscribe to more channels.

I’ve known people on Instagram who’ve had their account since 2011, which has made me go, gosh I’d love to have a social media account for that long. I should stop deleting my accounts and commit like they did.

Comparison makes you forget why you did what you did.

There’s a difference between comparison and inspiration. Sometimes, what another person is doing can be the push we need to do what we’ve been wanting to for a long time. You can always tell which one is at play in your thoughts: comparison leads to discontentment, and inspiration is motivating and positive!

Comparison makes us want a different reality, but inspiration adds to our life and builds us up.

It is SO important to be aware of what’s influencing us. It’s been hard for me to pull myself away from situations I was getting hurt in, because I’ve wanted so desperately to be part of those social scenes in a way that was positive and uplifting. But I had to acknowledge the truth of what was happening. I can’t force myself to feel differently than I do.

There are situations in our life where we’re not in control of – who we live with, work with, and go to school with, for example. These can’t be easily changed by us in a day (but wouldn’t it be great if we had the ability to unsubscribe from all of that sometimes?). Instead of focusing on what we can’t do, let’s focus on what we can do!

If you feel like you need a refresh on the influences in your life, here are some ideas of things I’ve done (and consistently do!) to get you started.

  • read the blogs that make you smile, inspire you, and are authored by your blogging friends.
  • watch YouTube videos that brighten your day, teach you something, and remind you to enjoy life.
  • pin things on Pinterest that you’re passionate about, plan on doing, and put you in a creative mood.
  • listen to music that you enjoy dancing and singing along to.
  • talk to people online who offer companionship, aren’t judgmental, and who allow you to be yourself.
  • decorate your room with your favorite things that you enjoy and use today, with a color palette that’s refreshing and comforting.
  • write blog posts that encourage positive discussion, personal growth, and connection with like-minded bloggers.

Evaluating the influences in our life that we have creative control over helps remind us that we have the power to change our lives, if even in the smallest of ways! It’s been amazing to me how quickly I’ve started to feel better after doing a social media, hobby, and friendship refresh. I would think that my discontentment had a bigger root than just the influences currently in my life, but that didn’t turn out to be true.

I really enjoyed writing this post! Thank you so much for reading it ❤

How have you benefited from influence refreshes in your own life? Are you going to try out any of the ideas I listed? Let’s chat in the comments!

19 Comments

  1. This is such a wonderful post!! The way you talk about really important topics so eloquently and easily is amazing. I especially liked how you pointed out the differences between comparison and inspiration. Generally as a society, we tend to be self-conscious of how others perceive us, so comparison makes us want to “measure up” to their sometimes unrealistic standards — which shouldn’t be the case. Those quotes you included are also spot on. Again, lovely post!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you Eleanor! That means so much ❤ yes that's definitely true, and unfortunately a lot of what we think others are doing (which we try to measure up to) isn't even reality! That's why it's SO important to think about what's influencing us and really get to know the people that are in our lives, because the people we're the closest to are often the ones who we know the most about. ❤ Thank you Eleanor! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great. I think everyone compares themselves to others to a certain extent, but one thing that I take joy in is that if you blog for long enough(like me,) before long, your blog will be one that others look up to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. You are an inspiration, Maggie. This here was my favorite: “Evaluating the influences in our life that we have creative control over helps remind us that we have the power to change our lives, if even in the smallest of ways!” That is truth. Well done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my word this was such a fantastic post!! You are so so right about it all and we often get sucked into trying to fit a perceived image or maintaining standards that we don’t realise the toxicity around us that’s bringing us down. You are so so so right – absolutely loved this post!!! Keep writing xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you!! I’m really happy you enjoyed it! ❤ yeah that can happen without us even being aware of it. Sometimes all it takes is raising a little awareness about this issue to spark change! ❤ thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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