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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

It's on You


Recently, I posted a blog entry entitled Smartphone and Media Addiction in which I controversially stated:


Although many of my mental health peers may disagree with my perspective, I don’t consider the existence of smartphones and social media to be corrupting elements within society. This is because I maintain that people have agency and can own their shit by taking ownership for their own self-disturbed outcomes.


Since the time of posting, I’ve discussed my perspective with a number of people in my personal and professional life. Although I’ve received valuable feedback, I’ve learned that some people apparently adopt a victimhood mentality regarding social media.


Some of these individuals have expressed understanding of my perspective, though added that they maintain irrational beliefs about how people supposedly aren’t able to improve their behavior associated with TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms.


This is because complex algorithms are said to manipulate users to a degree whereby people are essentially rendered helpless regarding their ability to form healthy boundaries around use. As this argument goes, individuals are thus held captive to social media and are somehow not responsible for unpleasant consequences they experience (e.g., wasted time).


Given my approach to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I disagree with this proposal of defenselessness in relation to social media. In fact, I consider the assertion downright disempowering.


My stance is likely unsurprising to those who’ve monitored my blog throughout the years. In one of my first posts, I stated:


If you are someone who is engaging with others in an unhealthy manner via social media, or you find that exposure to mass media sources has begun affecting your life in a harmful way, there’s help available. You don’t have to allow media full control over your life.


Rather than eschewing personal responsibility and accountability for one’s behavior in relation to social media, an individual can dispute self-disturbing beliefs and empower oneself to change unproductive behavior. Regarding this matter, I think of the phrase “it’s on you.”


According to one source, this expression places attribution on the subject to whom the phrase is used. For example:


Person 1: I stayed up too late watching TikTok videos last night and now I have a headache.


Person 2: It’s on you!


At first, my use of this expression may seem antithetical to what the late psychologist Albert Ellis, who developed REBT, maintained about blame when stating, “In [REBT], we accept mistakes and wrongdoings as unfortunate facts of life but never blame anyone for anything.”


However, my advocacy for people to take personal ownership of their unfavorable beliefs, which cause unpleasant consequences, isn’t intended to serve as criticism (blame). When advocating an “it’s on you” approach to wellness, I’m inviting people to admit that they have personal agency—retaining the power to fulfill potential.


Therefore, if person 1 stayed up too late watching TikTok videos and person 2 responds, “It’s on you,” the response of the latter advocates person 1 having the power to learn from past behavior, challenge unhelpful beliefs, and alter current and future outcomes.


Regarding this matter, in rapper Jon Connor’s song “The Addiction,” featuring rapper Flawless Real Talk, Connor states in the hook:


We just be laughin’ about it, at how the attention’s a hell of a drug (drug). Addicted to anything, as long as it keeps the algorithm goin’ up (up). People is fickley, coincidentally, so is they memory, too. That 15 minutes of fame ‘bout gone! What’chu gon’ do (gon do)? Turn up for the camera, turn it up for the camera, girl, it’s on you! [x4] Yeah, it’s on you, you, you, you, you, you!


Social media doesn’t force people to hang from the top of tall buildings, angling for a flattering selfie. Whoever is foolish enough to chase 15 minutes of fame in this regard is responsible for behaving in such a manner.


Equally, social media platforms aren’t accountable for reckless actions of an individual who plunges to her death, all because she was turning up for likes. It’s on you!


If you experience difficulty with setting and reinforcing healthy boundaries regarding us of social media, understand that you aren’t powerless. You have agency. As such, you can own your shit and change behavior which is impacted by your beliefs. If you’d like to know more, I’m here to help. If not, it’s on you.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW




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