“SOCIAL MEDIA IS OUR NEW REALITY”
News flash— Instagram is the worst social network for self esteem according to survey.
Rates of anxiety and depression have increased 70% in the past 25 years, and of course, social media has been linked to this.
Statistics say it all–social media can be as unhealthy as eating junks if not handled or managed properly. The issue of whether social media has caused more harm than good is probably not necessary anymore, because whether it has or not, it is now necessary. As people say, "it is now a necessary evil". On the bright side, it has been in numerous ways, of great value and use to a lot of people, however, it has also caused multiple negative effects. Effects that need antidotes before things get chaotic.
The questions I asked were about social media and it’s effect on one’s self-esteem, confidence, and how people self validate themselves. Knowing how toxic social media has become, it’s a matter of continuous strong will and determination to prevent it’s negative effects from breaking one’s confidence and esteem into pieces. One needs to keep making conscious efforts into ensuring that the negative effects of social media don’t take a toll on them.
"The perfect body", "the perfect relationship", "the perfect lifestyle", "the perfect house", is there really anything that is a 100% perfect in reality? No. But on social media?… I’ll leave you to answer that.
Instagram is the worst social media network for self esteem for a reason–it projects things a lot of people think they are not and want to be, and what better way to project these things if not through well taken pictures and videos.
When one spends a lot of time there obsessively wanting and wishing to be like a particular person, or wanting to have "the perfect relationship" like that person, it begins to leave room for unwanted self doubt, pressure, anxiety and even worse, depression.
I got a few opinions from different young adults about social media and it’s effect on one’s self worth and esteem.
"Do you think social media has affected people’s self esteem, and if yes, in what way?"
The first person said;
"Yes, social media has done a lot when it comes to self esteem and validation. Let’s start with the "likes", you post a picture that seems good but then, it doesn’t get as much interaction and likes you hoped it would get, then it’ll be like you’re not good enough or beautiful enough or hot enough, thereby bringing your self-esteem down".
Asides the pictures and videos that get people feeling down due to the need to have or be these things they see, there are other networks that cause the same havoc. I got a different opinion from someone else on how social media has affected people negatively, and this person used LinkedIn as his point of reference
"Yes it has affected people’s self esteem, it is quite obvious because people only post their successes on social media. People compare the hardship they’re having against the wonderful things they see on social media, and this begins to lead to sadness, low self-esteem and even depression. For example, LinkedIn, when people posts their achievements and all that stuff, you begin to feel like you’re not doing enough, like you’re not achieving anything, and it reduces your self esteem”.
I asked what they thought about social media being used as a yardstick or measure by a l ot of people to self validate themselves.
The first person replied––“Yes, people use social media as a yardstick to measure their lives. Social media is our new reality. For example, relationships. People posts pictures of them and their romantic partners, depicting ‘relationship goals’, and then you see people saying "God when" jokingly. It may be a joke, but some people actually feel slighted and insecure because they don’t have that ‘perfect relationship' they see on social media”.
The Second person said:
"I have been where I have used people’s ‘every thing' to judge myself, from looks to achievement. It just starts happening, you wont even realize that you are losing yourself and are becoming someone else.
For example you see a skinny model who’s rich and famous, and you don’t know how she got there, but you want to be her––skinny and rich, not knowing if it’s in your Gene’s to be big or chubby and if your riches and fame will take time to come, but you don’t even care. you want to be that. You start taking drugs for weight loss, you start starving, start depriving yourself of what you like, you start scamming and creating a fake life for yourself, because you can’t stand your ground and say "I like myself the way I am, and if I want to be skinny, rich and famous, I’ll take it easy, I’ll do it my way and I’ll do it right. I’m doing it for myself and nobody else”.
One of the interviewees added; “The one that gets to me is when I see people achieving things and then I feel like I’m not doing enough and it brings my self-esteem down, for example, LinkedIn, I don’t like to go on LinkedIn because I begin to feel down, because it feels like I’m not doing enough. But, I’m working on it”.
I also got solutions from them;
He said; "It’s about setting your own goals, working at your own pace. Our goals are different, so are the processes. So it’s about setting your own goals and setting plans to achieve them. Also, taking breaks from social media is important”.
And for those who struggle with weight loss and are obsessing over having the perfect body, here’s what someone in that situation decided to do;
"I want to lose weight so that I can wear certain type of clothes and look good for myself, and be able to run when I feel like, without shortage of breath, but on my terms, not because someone keeps shouting I’m fat or it’s not healthy. I want to be rich but I won’t steal for it or catfish, i’ll work and start a business, I would invest and wait patiently, that’s how its supposed to be”.
Social media is now part of our reality, so are the negative effects it’s caused, and rather than crying over spilled milk(the harm’s it has produced), we can and should prevent more milk from spilling.
The first and most important thing is to work on yourself, by building your self-confidence, and self-esteem, know who you are. Also take breaks from social media once in a while, it is quite necessary to say the least. And finally, remember that you’ve got a life outside social media, so don’t get too stuck over there obsessing over things you can achieve if you just trust the process and believe in yourself. If you want to loose weight, then start making plans towards achieving it, if you want to be a little more fleshy, make plans as well and execute them, if you want to acquire more skills, set your plans right, whatever it is you want to do can be achieved. And like the motto of the famous “Nike” wears says, “JUST DO IT!!”.