Self Care in the Age of Social Media

SOCIAL MEDIA (140x140)

In the age of social media it can feel as if everyone is living a fast-paced, glamorous life except you. We instagram everything – our dinners, gifts, vacations and lovers. In such overt displays of “happiness” we can find ourselves (sub-consciously) aiming to match our friends, or even trying to best them at their game.

I think I’m a pretty secure person. Years of therapy have proven that I am quite honest when it comes to myself. I’m able to see my flaws, able to say yes and no for the most part and mean it. But lately, I’ve had to realize that I have given into this need to be living “that” lifestyle. I was starting not to remember the last time I said no to an event or gathering, immediately determining that my life and my finances came first before my desire to please.

It feels as if I am surrounded by marriages and babies. If a person is not announcing a pregnancy, best believe they’re announcing upcoming nuptials. These events are draining. Let’s be honest. They’re happy moments filled with love and promises of a greater future, but everything leading up to them can surely take a person out. I have two friends who are having a destination wedding that I was initially excited to attend. I am way overdue for a vacation, and who doesn’t want to support their friends on their important day?

But as time wore on, I realized attending could do me a great disservice, especially financially. In January, I made a list of things that I wanted to do, items that I wanted to replace and places I wanted to visit. I placed it near my vision board right under my self-care section. I created a budget and savings plan for myself to make sure these goals would be met with little to no cost to me in the long run. As I tried to weigh in my friends’ destination wedding, it slowly began to dawn on me that their plan did not mesh well with mine. Plane tickets, resort, gifts, wardrobe. Was I willing to give up my plan for new furniture, software or loan repayment to meet those expectations? I wasn’t sure.

At first I lied to myself. “I could put that on my credit card.” “I can delay the purchase of this.” I was looking for ways to cut corners to make it. All my friends seemed to be going! I didn’t want to be the one left behind! I didn’t want to be the one who had to appear having less than because I decided to sit out the festivities. But I couldn’t deny that this trip simply did not fit into the plans nor budget I had created for myself in January. And so, I had no choice but to admit that I could not go.

Believe it or not, the moment I did come to terms with these facts I felt a major weight lifted off of me. I was no longer bound to finding a solution to making all the pieces of this puzzle fit into a complete image. The solution was simple, I could not go. In facing this truth, I realized it is hard, yet necessary to put yourself first. People will remember the one “no” you extend them out of the hundred “yes” you’ve gifted them. A fear of that should not stop you from living in the best possible way for you. Lucky for me, my friends understood and respect my wishes. But even if they did not, their reaction could not steal the joy of the lightness and love I feel towards myself for living within my means and my truth.

Valerie Charles is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She blogs at You can follow her on twitter @Vivaciously_Val.


  1. If it is one thing I know personally, it is that people only show the pretty online. I know folks with jacked up lives, marriages and kids out of control, yet when they go online they post happy family pics trying to appear as if all is peachy. For some reason the net makes people put on performances, though I do not know why. The need to over share has essentially turned folks into liars. Honestly, I just keep my personal life to myself and I have no problems or no online Joneses to keep up with.

  2. To the author, I am glad you did what was financially best for you. A lot of folks go broke trying to live up to other people’s standards. In the end you would have had to deal with the financial fall out and I can almost assure you that friend would not have bee there to help.

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