How the Internet Makes or Breaks Life As You Know It

Much like the saying, “You are who you hang out with,” the people you follow and interact with online have a huge impact on who you are – often without you even realizing it.

The Internet tends to get a bad wrap. It’s said to make people lazy, be a hot bed for debates, speed up the rate of gossip and conspiracy theories, etc. With many of society’s problems, the Internet can be one of the easiest scapegoats.

And all of that isn’t entirely untrue…but I think it’s important to remember that it’s the users of the Internet allowing these problems to happen – not the Internet itself.

The Internet is a tool, and it’s up to us whether we use it as one that makes us or breaks us – both personally and as a society. In my opinion, the Internet is an amazing resource for enhancing our lives and strengthening connections with others. By recognizing how we can both protect our energy on it and take advantage of it at the same time, we can actually improve our lives in so many different ways. All we have to do is stay mindful and use it intentionally.

In my opinion, the Internet is an amazing resource for enhancing our lives. By recognizing how we can both protect our energy on it and take advantage of it at the same time, we can actually improve our lives in so many different… Click To Tweet

Information or Information Overload?

The Internet is basically the library on steroids. Everything you could possibly want to learn is available to you at your fingertips. The problem is, so are a lot of misleading or simply flat-out incorrect resources, too.

How it can break you

It is insanely overwhelming how much information is available to you with a quick Google search – and you have to remember to not immediately believe all of it. My favorite example is the picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars that people share, saying it’s Jesus and that he’ll be sad if you don’t share the photo…I mean, that’s a pretty mild example of spreading misinformation – but that thing went viral. I’m sure you’re aware, but just because something is shared widely does not mean it’s legitimate.

How it can make you

With the Internet, you can literally research, learn, and grow in any field you’re interested in. You can even get an entire degree online if you want to! I’m not saying that it’s the end-all-be-all to success, but it’s a great starting point to allow yourself to explore! It gives you the freedom to follow your curiosity anytime it strikes. By intentionally seeking out information and critically thinking through all of the different resources, you can expand your horizons of all this world has to offer. It’s all up to you!

Social Media or Anti-Social Media?

The world seems a whole lot smaller now that we can talk with anyone in it within seconds. If something happened on the other side of the world right now, you could hear about it within minutes. Realistically, you could even be watching it live on Facebook or Instagram or any other social media live within seconds.

How it can break you

If you’ve spent even a couple minutes scrolling through the comments section of a post on Facebook, I think you know how the social aspect of the Internet can break you. With the thin veil of security that a keyboard and screen provides, people can feel quite brave in saying the most horrible things to each other. Honestly, sometimes it makes me question my faith in humanity! And during election seasons it can get especially vicious. I’ve learned to scroll past social media fights, no matter how curious of a mood I’m in. Although it can definitely provide a good laugh sometimes, it usually ends up feeling more like a waste of time and energy.

How it can make you

Not only is it fulfilling to stay connected with our loved ones, the Internet can introduce us to communities of people who share similar interests. The anonymity of the web also can provide a comfortable space for people who are hesitant to reach out for support in person. Even without anonymity, social media can allow us to more easily and accessibly build each other up and cheer each other on. And on a really simplistic level: humor! Seeing everyone share memes and their own hilarious thoughts and videos is so uplifting – it just feels great to enjoy the therapy of laughter with so many people. It really provides a sense of community with people we may not otherwise talk to or agree with on other things. All in all, the many various ways we can connect with each other on the Internet can add a wonderful depth to our lives.

Is this really the “real” world?

Energy flows where attention goes. Whatever we choose to focus on is what we perceive as our immediate reality. Every now and then it helps to reflect on how we’re feeling about life and if our narrow window of the Internet is impacting it.

how it can break you

Being able to specifically choose which people and news sources you follow is great for tailoring to your interests. The problem, though, is that it can end up giving you a skewed perception of the world. You definitely will have the perceptions of a few worlds inside of this world, but you’ll miss out on everyone else’s perspectives. Obviously this is totally fine – it’s exhausting to try to see from everyone’s point of view all the time. However, it’s important to not become desensitized to other values and opinions. A great example of this is everyone unfollowing their friends who have different political beliefs. I totally get the reasoning, but it’s easy to then completely disregard or not respect where other perspectives are coming from.

how it can make you

The good part about being able to filter which worlds you follow is that you don’t have to let their energies affect you. Just like we talked about last week with energy vampires – even if the person isn’t ill-willed, sometimes they can drain you of all your energy and happiness. As long as you remember that there are more outlooks on life than your own that are also valid, you can’t go wrong with limiting the cyber worlds to which you expose yourself.

Building your self esteem or building your self criticism?

I don’t know about you, but I can be pretty critical of myself without any outside influence. But if you throw some bikini models in front of me, I’m going to feel even more critical. Even when it comes down to life choices that I normally would feel confident in, it’s easy to second guess yourself when you see others criticizing those same choices online.

How it can break you

Comparison is the thief of joy. Depending on who/what you’re focusing on online, you could be spending some serious time subconsciously comparing yourself to others. A few months ago, I found myself extremely obsessed with my weight and eating perfectly healthy – even though I had already lost over 20 pounds and looked great! Thankfully I realized that it was making me so unhappy, and I decided to unfollow any food or weight loss related accounts. I kid you not – within a week or two, I was the happiest I had been in a really long time. It was hard for my thoughts to just drift to that when I didn’t have a catalyst to stimulate it! This same simple act of unfollowing can apply to any other form of comparison or feelings of self-depreciation, too.

how it can make you

Consciously choose who and what you follow online, and check in with yourself about how they make you feel about yourself. It isn’t saying that whatever you’re following is bad. Once you start focusing on accounts & sites that help you feel uplifted about life or laugh more often, you’ll notice a huge difference in not only your self esteem but just your general happiness.

Building your skills/hobbies or living vicariously through others?

Um, have you ever been on Pinterest for even five minutes? There is an entire world of skills and hobbies out there for us to cultivate, and there are millions of people out there who are willing to teach you about them.

how it can break you

I wouldn’t say this would necessarily “break” you, but it definitely wouldn’t make you. Similarly to the overloading of information, the millions of options of skills, hobbies, and crafts you can try can be overwhelming! It’s easy to find ourselves overloaded with plenty of ideas and very little action. Be careful not to live vicariously through everyone else’s lives being posted online, and use it to inspire you to take action in your own life.

how it can make you

The world is your oyster! Whatever skill or hobby you want to try out, or even just a neat craft you want to do, the Internet can help bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. All of the information you need is at your fingertips, and any advice or feedback you need is there too. Just don’t forget to actually do it! (psst I have an entire dresser filled with crafts I want to do and never make time for…this section of the post is definitely me talking to myself as well)

To Internet or not to Internet?

Whether we like it or not, the Internet is here to stay, and chances are, so is our usage of it. Instead of allowing it to be a source of negativity and annoyance, let’s focus on how we can benefit from it.

Next week I will share some of my own favorite websites, YouTube channels, and social media accounts that make my time on the Internet beneficial to myself and more personally fulfilling. I love finding new forms of media to follow, whether it’s inspirational, motivational, or just makes me feel good about life. If you have any personal favorites of your own, please let me know in the comments below or by contacting me!