A few weeks ago I reached a breaking point. I was done with social media, done with looking at other people and questioning why I wasn’t like them. I tweeted about it and amongst the replies, @EnigmaGirl81 told me I needed to read this book. I had seen previous books of @matthaig1 but hadn’t read any so this was my first experience of his writing. I ordered the book the next day and waited for it to arrive. Amazon delivered it quickly and I sat down to read it.
The book is described as being a ‘personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century’. It was written based on Matt Haigs’ experiences with anxiety and panic attacks, linking what he felt to the world around him. Matt includes many honest recollections of his own experiences’ and coping strategies, which I’m sure many people can relate their own anxieties to.
There are a number of sections but it was the section on social media that really resonated with me. I have spent hours and hours scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, comparing myself to other student nurses, to other girls and wondering why I couldn’t look like them. I’m 30 years old and having self-esteem issues because I don’t look like the streams of girls looking perfect on Instagram, so how do 15,16,17-year-old girls feel?! I’m more than aware that the pictures are sometimes filtered and edited but that doesn’t stop me comparing myself to those girls and wishing I looked more like Kim Kardashian and less like me.
In the book, there is a chapter where Matt Haig asked his Twitter followers – ‘Is social media good or bad for your mental wellbeing?’ and one tweet, in particular, I really related to.
@deansmith7 I can find myself comparing my behind-the-scenes footage (loneliness, anxiety etc) to people’s highlights reel (socialising, success etc). I know it’s not a true reflection of their lives but it can still get to me.
People choose what they want to post online, so it’s natural to only choose the good moments. Posting the pictures where you look your best. discarding of the 50 other ones you took before you were in just the right angle for the perfect selfie. Talking about the good days and achievements, leaving out the rubbish days or ‘failures’.
Life appears to have become a daily struggle to validate ourselves through the likes and comments from other people.
I would recommend this book to anyone, a perfect manual on how to navigate the modern world and to keep your own head. Funny, honest and real – Matt Haig is a fantastic author with a unique writing style.
There are so many quotes in the book that I could include, but here are a few of my favourites:
- We are all connected to each other but we often feel shut out.
- In a world of a million distractions you are still left with only one mind.
- In an overloaded world we need to have a filter. We need to simplify things. We need to disconnect sometimes.
- Accepting where you are in life makes it so much easier to be happy for other people without feeling terrible about yourself.
This is my favourite page 👌
You can purchase Notes on a Nervous Planet here.