Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been known to affect user’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as an individual’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. The opportunities for adolescents to form and maintain relationships within social media and on the internet has multiplied within the past several years.
A lot of women on social media with low self-esteem issues show their skin and wear revealing outfits to feel “better” about their own body by taking into account how many “likes” on Instagram or Facebook they receive.
An individual will post photos that are outside their character just to seek approval through “likes” from their peers. This may boost an individual’s self-esteem temporarily, but once he or she logs off social media their self-esteem really hasn’t improved.
Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, and decreased social skills.
It appears that everyone you know are in great relationships, taking 5-star vacations and living your dream life. However, what is shared across our social networks only broadcasts the positive aspects of our lives – the highlight reels.
Since we’re only getting people’s highlight reels and comparing it to ourselves, it is natural to have reactions to what we’re watching. How does this impact relationships, dating and our love lives? Men and women, ranging from ages 28-73, that are active social media users found that:
60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way
50% reported social media having negative effects on their relationships
80% reported that is easier to be deceived by others through their sharing on social media
It is kind of nice to be able to feel connected to the outside world without having to actually go out in it. But this new socialization brought it’s own pressures, like the desire to look good online, and to come across as funny and interesting — struggles people have in real face-to-face interactions, but applied to a non-stop, global network of people.
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. We feel anxiety over how many “likes” you get after you post a picture. “If I get two likes, I feel like, what’s wrong with me?” It’s a popularity contest that’s often rigged by advertisers and Internet marketers. When we post something that doesn’t get a lot of likes, we can feel rejected, which causes our self-worth to take a hit.
Social media can give us a false sense of belonging and connecting that is not built on real-life exchanges. This makes it increasingly easy to lose oneself to cyberspace connections and give them more weight than they deserve. We make connections, and even friendships, that aren’t necessarily real, at least not in the sense that real-world friendships have. That’s not to say that you can’t have meaningful relationships with people you meet online. It just means you’re also open to a lot of false connections that don’t have an equal give and take.
The good, healthy things about life, like hanging out with friends and family, learning something new in school, watching your kids in a play, or seeing something beautiful in nature, are often interrupted by our social media lives. We are not fully engaged in the healthy activities of life because we want to document them to make us look interesting on social media.
Take social media seriously. Don’t underestimate the role social media plays in your life “The power of a visual image is so strong. It’s disorienting.” Many says, never knew a world where social media didn’t exist, and for them the things that happen online— break-ups, likes, or negative comments—are very real. When you talk about social media, make sure you’re really listening and be careful not to dismiss or minimize your experiences.
1. Put your phone away when you are walking or eating
Try to enjoy the moment and notice how weird it is when you don’t have your device in your hands. If you feel anxiety over this, remember you are trying to wean off your need for social media.
2. Silence is an option
Put your phone on silent and check it when you want, rather than when it wants you to. That means that you are in charge of responding to texts, emails and social media alerts.
3. You can choose your friends
Block or hide people who post too much or illicit a feeling of envy, or insecurity in you. You don’t need to see their “perfect” pictures all day. Instead, fill your feed with inspiring and helpful people.
4. Pause before you post
In my upcoming new book, I talk about why this is important, in fact there is an entire chapter dedicated to it. The content that you put out to the world says a lot about you. Venting about your experience at the post office or posting a hundred pictures of your recent vacation, can make others wonder what your intention is for posting? If your venting, why tell the whole world? If you need to show off your good time on vacation, why do we need to see every single picture? The more you overshare the less people care.
5. Fight fear of missing out (FOMO)
If you notice that you are comparing yourself or judging someone else, log off. A temporary break will reinforce your brain that comparisons aren’t helping you. Also, when you log off, you can make real plans with a friend, go do something by yourself, and focus on yourself rather than letting your confidence depend on what others are doing.
6. Don’t check social media before bed
It messes with your head. Research shows that it can keep you from sleeping well, and if you are having a case of FOMO before you doze of, it’s likely you won’t wake up feeling good about yourself either.