Often time’s magazines and television are blamed for portraying an ideal body image that causes many people to question their looks and to lose self-confidence. But how has social media affected the way we perceive ourselves? Does it play a role in manipulating our attitudes towards the way we look and ultimately our self-confidence?
The power of social media can be very destructive in terms of self-esteem and how we see ourselves in comparison to others. Unfortunately the more time that we spend on social media the more likely people will self objectify.
Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills.
I wonder what causes this paradox?
Social media can potentially be toxic for body image and self esteem. It is highly visual and interactive, and appearance is the focus for success. The stories and photos we share are positive and are often taken at times when we look and feel our best, in the best light and at our highest moments.
And it is not just the exposure to these images that is damaging. It’s our interaction with them—the pressure to have the perfect profile pictures, the comparisons we make with others, and the dangers of the constant scrutiny of our own and others’ bodies.
In addition, collecting “likes” and followers provides an immediate distinction of achievement and popularity. These “likes” immediately feed the users’ sense of self-worth.
It is not unusual for people to spend a great deal of time thinking about their next “selfie” opportunity and planning the perfect pose to capture their best self. They will often edit or add filters to their images, take many selfies before choosing the perfect one to post, and worry about the reactions of others.
People can become trapped in a vicious cycle of the anticipation of “likes” and feedback from others, then feel hurt and disappointed if the desired response is not obtained. This will then make them feel even more self conscious about their appearance.
While social media is not necessarily the cause of low self-esteem, it has all the right elements to contribute to it. Social media creates an environment where disordered thoughts and behaviours thrive.
7 Ways to Keep Social Media From Affecting Your Self Esteem
Understand the reality of people’s lives
Understand that we all struggle, we all have challenging days, and we all have our issues. There is no perfect relationship, life path, career, family or body. Our challenges may not be the same, but we each experience them differently.
Stop wasting your energy on comparison
If you took all the time that you use to scroll through your ex’s Facebook photos, and talking bad about him or her, and instead put that energy toward working on what is holding you back from moving forward, you could be a much happier person. If you start to use your time constructively to work on yourself, your goals, and your relationships, chances are you will not even have the time to waste on the admiration of others’ lives.
Stop fabricating the truth
What is the point of telling everyone your life is perfect? I am not suggesting that you have to go talking about everything that is wrong in your life, but there is an element of truth and realness that allows you to be vulnerable and truly connect, whether it is with yourself, your partner, or your friends. If you pretend that you live in a dream world, I would imagine that the stress of keeping up that perfect image is exhausting. Relax, let go, and be OK with being vulnerable and authentic.
Embrace your imperfections
This goes beyond what you are telling others; this is how you view your own life. If you are incredibly hard on yourself, you have to learn to be more loving to YOU. If you are ignoring the challenges in your life, they will tend to pop up in other unhealthy ways. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid and face it, own it and work on it.
Learn from your imperfections
If you were truly perfect, and your relationship was perfect, and your job was perfect, what would be the point of progressing forward in life? We grow and learn through struggle and life lessons. Relationship challenges are incredible mirrors to our own personal struggles, and can allow us to truly feel whole if we embrace it. Just because life isn’t perfect does not mean you can’t enjoy it and be happy. The only way to truly value your strengths is to be vulnerable and own your weaknesses, as one day these weaknesses may become your strengths.
Be proactive instead of reactive
When you start comparing yourself to others in a negative way, you’re only reacting to the situation. Instead of feeling down about the way your life is going, do something about it! Decide what your goal is, and then take action steps in the direction that will get you to that end goal.
Send the person you’re comparing yourself to extra love
Comparison often comes from a negative place of judgment and criticism. When you are genuinely happy for people, even if you don’t know them, you will shift your energy to a positive place.
About the Author
Karen has over 20 years of combined experience as a personal trainer, nutritionist, transformation expert and holistic health coach. Her holistic health coaching offers an individualized process to help you move forward in life and to end the diet/binge cycle for good. Karen has had tremendous success working with people of all walks of life including high profile athletes and executives. She truly believes that every […]Read Bio Read Posts