Social Media and Self-Esteem: Is The Internet Killing Your Self-Confidence?
As a 20-something millennial woman, I find social media to not only be a way of life and information source, but it can also very distracting. A simple check of a notification on social media can easily change into a lengthy timeline stroll saturated with photos and videos of perfect hair, perfect makeup, perfect bodies, and seemingly perfect lives. It usually ends with a new list of body, hair, makeup, and life #goals. Perfectly normal, right?
This was never a problem until one day I found myself doubting my appearance and looking at certain flaws I've had for years in a different light. If I posted a selfie and I only received a few likes, I felt myself feeling a little insecure and started comparing myself to strangers on my news feed. It even got as bad as deleting a photo that I loved (at first) because it only received 11 likes. Was the internet really killing my self-confidence?
Social Media Validation
The world of social media has increased the pressure of capturing perfection. I don't know how many times I have seen or have been guilty myself of taking a selfie like 50 times before I found one that was just right. Sometimes that photo even undergoes app "plastic surgery" with filters and editing after that. Then we finally post it and periodically check to see how the likes and comments stack up. It is like we subconsciously equate likes and engagement to how well we look. A pretty twisted situation.
According to a team of French researchers in PLoS ONE, this act of social media validation leads to depression in youth. It is detrimental to the mental state. We put ourselves in a competition to gain more followers, get more likes, and create the perfect photos. All for what? To create a facade for people you don't even know or to validate yourself.
How to Cope With the Pressure of Social Media
Understand that what seems real may not be reality.
We have to remember that social media only displays what people want you to see. It is not often their reality. If you think you go through a lot editing your photos, imagine what these social media "famous" people go through. It is all a game. Manipulation of reality for popularity.
Don't let your inner jealously win.
Sometimes it just simply boils down to jealousy. Social media allows you to see the beauty of the world. Things that you may not see normally in real life. You have open access to seeing the most beautiful women in the world, beautiful companionship, luxury material things, and places you only dreamed of traveling to. This can definitely uproot some jealous feelings. Get over it. Setting goals are healthy, but if it is starting to negatively change your confidence in yourself then you may need to utilize the block and unfollow buttons.
Take a break and focus on yourself.
If you feel yourself going down a rabbit hole of destruction due to social media, just shut it down and take a break. Stop letting social media validate how you are going to live your life or how "beat" your face must be daily. Take some time to really focus on yourself and fall in love with you!
Relieve yourself of the pressure of trying to look a certain way and/or live a certain life. Pump up your confidence by working out and finding all of the things that compliment your natural beauty. Do something new with your hair. Go some place new. Do all of this without social media for a while.
Social media should never deter your self-esteem. So I ask again, is the internet killing your self-confidence? Don't let it have that much control. It's just a game.