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  • Writer's pictureJulie Fitz-Gerald


The Social Media Hamster Wheel

What I’m doing today is enough. We rarely – if ever – give ourselves permission to say this phrase, let alone actually feel it. With intense competition entering every crevice of our lives from parenting to work to our limited free time, we can easily begin running on overdrive, lacking any real sense of accomplishment. As soon as we achieve a goal, a new Facebook post will appear, gloriously showcasing an acquaintance who has just raised the bar even higher. At what point do we jump off the hamster wheel and tell ourselves that what we’re doing is enough? When do we give ourselves a break?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do our best and push our boundaries; we should. But with the explosion of social media networks, our desire to compete with each other in every facet of life has skyrocketed. Suddenly a good old ham sandwich in our child’s lunch is just plain pathetic when stacked up against his friend’s gourmet sandwich cut into cute little shapes with love notes tucked into his lunchbox. Why do we feel the need to overachieve in every area of our lives, right down to the tiniest details? It’s simply unsustainable and not realistic. We are driving ourselves into anxiety-filled days trying to make every detail Pinterest-perfect to prove that we are really exceptional people.

It’s virtually impossible not to fall into this trap at some point. I certainly do on occasion and I have a few more gray hairs for doing so. It’s important to remind ourselves that we don’t have to be a participant in this infinite race to continually raise the bar. The amount of love that I have for my children is not represented by how elaborate their lunches are; it’s represented by the time we spend together and the way we comfort and encourage one another. The type of parent that I am is not characterized by the number of goals they score in hockey; it’s shown through the way they rush to help a friend who’s hurt and crying. The caliber of person that I am is not dictated by how many achievements I’ve racked up, but by how I treat people and my willingness to give back to others without any expectations.

Seeking validation through social media needs to stop; otherwise we will lose ourselves in a distorted reality. Guess what? Everyone has bad days. Everyone has days where they feel the tasks at hand are just too great. Sometimes we are simply trying to get through the day. And that’s okay. It’s called “being human.” I think it’s time we give ourselves a break and acknowledge that what we do today is enough.



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