Have you ever left your mobile phone at home and felt something like the dread of being disconnected from something? While you may be on your way to encountering “real people” face to face, you may have felt like you’re still missing out on something. After all, you can’t post on Facebook or Instagram, you can’t read how many people have “liked” your previous video, and you’d be left unaware of what today’s trending topics could be.
It’s a wonder how one little device can affect our entire way of thinking and feeling so much, and how social media has now become a norm to satisfy our social needs.
How did we ever become so addicted to social media? What does this show about our spiritual life?
Our Thirst for Connection
Connecting with other people is one of our primary needs as a human being. We were not born merely to eat and drink and spend our time alone. We want to enjoy the company of other people.
Our social media addiction could very well show how much we thirst for this connection today. In an age where we work separately from the family and friends we grew up with, social media has become a way to keep in touch with each other.
The Endless Pursuit of Approval
Aside from creating and maintaining human connections, social media also satisfies our deep craving for approval.
We seek validation from others through the “likes”, “shares” and “comments” we receive in our social media posts.
Hence, we may fall into the trap of being anxious whenever something we post doesn’t garner any response. Does it mean nobody saw what you posted? Do fewer likes and shares mean that there are also very few people who approve of you?
Our Fragile Self-Esteem
In relation to our pursuit of social approval is our struggle to build our self-acceptance. When many people approve of us, we feel that we can also be more confident.
“Many people like my posts, therefore, many people must like me, too!”
But what if only a few people like what you show online? Does it mean that your self-esteem should also crumble and fall?
It’s no wonder why many people would seem to do anything just to be “viral” on social media. Casting aside the monetary value involved, being “viral” carries with it a kind of status people can hold on to. At least, for a while.
Our Dependence on Fleeting Connections
Our social media addiction could show the needs that may remain unfulfilled through our offline relationships and interactions. It could also point us to our fragile self-esteem that may still be dependent upon external applause and approval.
While social media has its advantages, we should not forget that it is still a tool we should not be dependent on for our primary needs.
We need to strengthen our bond with our loved ones, our neighbors and the people we talk to face-to-face. We also need to ensure that our confidence does not depend on how many people like or share our social media posts.
God as the Source of All Our Needs
Whether it is our need for approval, confidence or intimacy, we should remember that God is the One who can satisfy them all. From Him comes the source of our dignity as human beings, our value as children of God and our firm foundation for a happy and fulfilling life.
God is the One who loves you most! It is your relationship with Him that should be the source of your strength and inspiration each day. Let His love flow to your other relationships. And let social media be a reflection instead of the unshakable joy and peace that you have found!
“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” – 1 John 3:1 (NRSVCE)
“God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us.”—Spe Salvi (Encyclical)
You may also want to read “What Science and Technology Can’t Help You Become”