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Pinterest is my favorite social media site for art and writing inspiration. Recently, I was looking on the website for journaling ideas, as I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing. There haven’t been any highlights in my life lately, so I’ve been in search of prompts to get me started. I saw some prompts about creating a “new you” and “your dream life.” This made me think about the toxic culture that Pinterest and other social media outlets tend to cultivate. In an effort to inspire and get people motivated to better their lives, it promotes the pursuit of perfectionism, which ultimately leads to burnout. In an attempt to “do it all,” we end up having nothing and being unsatisfied.

If we’re always chasing another version of ourselves, there’s little time to appreciate who we are as of now. It’s wonderful to have goals, but when it becomes an obsession it’s unhealthy.

Many influencers on social media post their picture perfect meals, vacations and work lives. They seem to have it all figured out, leading us to believe that we don’t. It leaves people thinking that they have to be more. More skinny, more pretty, more productive.

How do we become our best selves without trying to be everything? There are always going to be too many workouts, too many diets and too little money to do and be everything we want. 

The key is to start simple and do some self reflection. Focus specifically on the “self” part. Ask yourself where you are now. What’s going well, and what’s not going well? Then ask yourself what your personal needs are. Not what others need from you, but what you need for yourself. Make a list of these things and how they will help you.

Then take a step back and acknowledge that you can’t do it all. Don’t let a list of goals overwhelm you. Everything takes time, so take it day by day. Others’ lives may look perfect, but you don’t know their whole story. Accept that you have control over your own life and have the ability to do whatever you want to be happy and feel good about yourself. It’s easier said than done, but trust me. When you focus on yourself and not what others are doing in comparison to you, it’ll make you much more content with your life.

Catherine Hogan is from the UD class of 2023. She loves psych, lit, and running and is currently majoring in communications with an English lit minor. She likes her coffee black and it took her forever to get her driver's license.
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