Remove That Negative Social Media Filter On Your Self-Esteem
Click. Judge. Click. Edit. Post. Constantly wait for likes/comments/retweets/DM’s. What is our obsession with social media? What is it that makes [most of] us have to see everything that happened first thing in the morning and scroll aimlessly for long hours before bed? Simply put, we’re in an era in which our profiles online are our “resumes” for the world and we’re obsessed with adding and maintaining it.
Social Media Presence: At What Cost?
The popular existence of social media culture has led to many of us regarding our perceived online presence as legitimate extensions of ourselves. We not only create and post content to share parts of ourselves with each other, but we also tend to orchestrate this content to ensure we get maximum likes. We thrive when people engage with it; we associate it with people engaging with us. It feels like you’ve created connections that transcend the content – which could be true (many find genuine friends on social media all the time).
But what happens when you place the value of your thoughts, ideas, and self-worth on numbers? What happens when your expectations rise but not your results? Unfortunately, we’ve tied our self-esteem to platforms that cannot always guarantee us happiness. What ends up happening is that people are comparing their actual offline selves to the idealized online selves of others, which can be detrimental to well-being and self-evaluation.
We now put pressure on ourselves to share – to amplify – the big life moments, while leaving out the normal, boring everyday ones. Because of the perceived pressure to post moments just as interesting or exciting as everyone else’s, we tend to exaggerate or mislead.
Things On Social Media that Affect Our Self Esteem
- The Advertisements: Advertising – even before the age of social media – had a clear impact on a consumer’s self-esteem. We sometimes make a conscious effort to avoid excessive advertisements but it’s become harder to believe when ads are well-meaning. Even some of the posts you see from your favorite online personalities are really very targeted advertising, designed to make you think or feel a certain way. By being constantly bombarded, we may start to feel inadequate and/or start to try and replicate these “idols” by spending excessively, losing sight of other priorities, etc.
- The Perfect Life & Online Curating
It’s easy to compare ourselves to others online, which has the potential to send us into periods of self-deprecation where we can only see what we lack. We forget to take into account that a lot of what we are seeing, especially from brands and celebrities, is carefully orchestrated. Social media platforms are where we post the best versions of ourselves and our lives whilst purposely leaving the unsatisfactory “behind-the-scenes” out. We see those smiling selfies with perfect makeup and we forget that there were probably fifty shots before that that were deemed “unflattering”. Our social media profiles are an extension of our identity and that makes our posts, pictures, and activities like virtual possessions or pieces of ourselves. That alone makes us bait for marketers who want to sell us products to make perfect photos, increase our popularity, have the nicest profile, and get the most views and likes. It keeps us in a place where we equate self-worth with stuff, even if the “stuff” in this case, is our social media profiles.
- Getting Those Likes
Since we use social media, in part, to get attention, it can be hurtful when we don’t get that attention. We can equate that attention with approval or self-worth. When we post something that doesn’t get a lot of likes, we can feel rejected, which undoubtedly causes our self-esteem to take a hit.
- It Takes A Lot Out Of You
The good things about life, like hanging out with friends and family and engaging with the physical world around you – absorbing moments as they happen – are often interrupted by our social media lives. We are not fully engaged because we want to document them to make us look interesting on social media. It’s a consuming lifestyle that opens you up to all kinds of negative consequences; physical conditions such as eating disorders and sleep deprivation, as well as mental conditions like anxiety and depression.
Especially as women, I think we need to not let something posted on social media define who we are, but I can honestly say that is easier said than done. Sometimes people just can’t help but compare themselves to others and they can’t see that they are beautiful the way they are.
Stop Social Media From Affecting Our Self Esteem
Limit Your Time On Social Media
A lot of us are probably spending more time online than we should be. With Instagram and Twitter, we kind of snag moments while we can throughout the day. Try to gradually decrease screen time. Consider the small moments of downtime and think about all the things you should be doing, or just relax. Take time to check in with yourself instead of with everyone else.
Look At An Image Without Judging It
Try to be neutral. Look at that picture or post and instead of seeing all the things that you’re not, in relation to it, see the content for exactly what it looks like.
Follow Different People. Seriously.
We pick out the best looking and most popular profiles, most times for nothing but the vanity of it which makes you compare yourself to accounts with huge “production value”. One way to control those comparisons? Unfollow. Or follow more people who actually make you feel good. Remind yourself constantly that people post images of the fabulous parts of their lives —but it’s the moments in between the photos that determine what someone’s life really looks like.
Try and be the you that you were before the app. Everything you are and have the potential to be can be found offline. Social media doesn’t have to be the epitome of your story. Even so, you may choose to seek out individuals and groups that you feel more aligned with, to create a digital community that uplifts you, rather than creates a space that harbors comparison.
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