File picture: Bonile Bam
File picture: Bonile Bam

#YouthDay: Do what makes you happy, even if it’s not trending

By Rakhi Beekrum Time of article published Jun 16, 2019

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One of the greatest struggles of youth today is that they are being raised in a  world that is constantly connected. While this digital age has its advantages, it  also has a downside.

Because the youth are constantly exposed to the lives of everyone around them,  they easily fall prey to ‘comparisonitis’ – comparing themselves to everyone  online. This is often a downward social comparison, because the reality is that  most people only ever post the highlights of their lives on social media. 

So if one  compares their ordinary day to someone’s highlight reel, they’re bound to feel  that other’s have it better, because they’re not seeing the other person’s behind- the-scenes. 

So we need to be more realistic about what we see on social media,  realising that nobody’s life is perfect, and those who have achieved anything  worthwhile have had to work hard. No one is immune to suffering. Instead of  feeling demotivated, youth should rather feel inspired by reminding themselves  that if others can achieve something, then it means that they can as well. 

Be  mindful about who you follow on social media and how their feeds make you  feel. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel unworthy or incapable.

Be mindful of your social media use. Monitor your time online. How much of time  are you spending online and how exactly is that time benefitting you? If there is  no direct benefit, then you need to think about reallocating your time more  purposefully.

The pressure to keep up with the Kardashians, Kandasamys, or whoever is  trending at the time is also great for teenagers. There is nothing special about  everyone dressing the same, having the same hairstyle, or going to the same  restaurants just because it is instagrammable. It means that we are not being  true to ourselves but are just ‘doing it for the ‘gram’ to use social media speak.

What makes you different makes you beautiful. Don’t be afraid to embrace your  authenticity. This means doing what makes you happy; what feels good for you –  even if it’s not trending. There is nothing special about you if you are the same as  everyone else. Br proud to be who you truly are. 

Sometimes we are afraid that  being ourselves may mean being rejected. This is a valid fear. However, it also  means that you will attract true friends into your life – the friends that accept the  real you.

Remember that if you are just living for social media, then you are not truly  living. Think about your future goals and dreams and spend each day taking a  step closer. It may mean missing a few parties, but there is no need for FOMO  when you are building your dreams. 

True and lasting success comes when you  are willing to trade in temporary and impulsive pleasures for consistent effort  that will lead you to your dreams.

* Beekrum is a psychologist in Durban North with over 10 years of experience in marital therapy. You can follow her on Facebook (Rakhi Beekrum - Psychologist) and Instagram (@rakhibeekrum)

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