Social media is part of our lives, there’s no denying it. It has become one of the pillars of our culture and it’s the easiest way to share your life with people. However, researchers are finding that excessive use of social media may lead to low self esteem and depression, especially in young people.
And it’s not difficult to see why. When we spend a large amount of time staring at other people’s seemingly perfect lives, some insecurities are bound to arise. Why not me? What am I doing wrong? How can I compete with that? The good news is that you can still enjoy social media without taking a hit for your self esteem. It just requires a little shift in perspective, and you will end up more confident as a result.
Have you ever heard the phrase “The reason we are insecure is because we compare other people’s stage performance with our behind-the-scenes”? This is doubly true for social media, because people curate the best moments of their life to post about on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other site. Nobody Instgrams a picture of that bunion they are taking care of or posts a Facebook status on their grocery shopping. (And if they do, they are annoying contacts and you probably block them). So keep this in mind: Nobody’s life is as good as their Facebook timeline.
Another thing you have to keep in mind is that happiness is not a limited resource. And neither is success. Other people’s achievements do not diminish your own, and just because somebody has a happy life, that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy as well.
Now, being aware of those simple truths, you can start shifting your attitude towards social media. Turn comparison into inspiration. Instead of beating yourself up because your makeup is not as great as that one girl’s, pinpoint what is it that you like about it, and think of a way to incorporate it in your life. Instead of criticizing yourself for not volunteering at a pet shelter like that old friend of yours, ask him how you can get involved.
But the most important thing you can do is focus on your life and be proactive. Realize you have things to be happy about too and be grateful for them. Researchers show that gratefulness is one of the things that set happy people apart. Make a list of all the things in your life you are grateful for. Make it a habit to remind yourself of them when you are feeling down. And maybe post about them on social media! And if you still feel like you don’t have enough Facebook post material, get it. Figure out your goals. Invent new goals, start projects, get involved in new hobbies. Realize that happiness is not the trophy for reaching the end of the race before anyone else. It’s something you can find every day if you make that choice.