This is the world we live in now.
A world where followers, retweets, reblogs and likes seemingly determine your worth and value.
Social media (Instagram and Facebook, specifically) create this monstrous environment of men and women clawing for the attention by any means necessary. “Look at me! I’m setting myself on fire! Aren’t I awesome? Please validate me with a double-tap!”
The ‘Gram also cultivates an unhealthy culture where we subconsciously compare ourselves to our peers — and ultimately — some of us reason that we don’t measure up. The heartbreaking part about that is that a vast majority of the profiles on Instagram are not a true reflection of the user’s reality.
Many times I’d hear, “Oh my god! I can’t believe they broke up. They looked so happy on Facebook!” WELL. What did you expect? For them to post photos of snot dribbling out of their noses from crying so much during a fiery argument?
This social media nonsense, honestly, is all too much for me — the staged and doctored photos, all the attention-seeking, and the elitist attitudes is just too damn much. And that’s why I keep a safe distance from it all. It’s what keeps me sane! Let me give you a quick history of my background with social networking…
Back in the Myspace days, I had thousands of “friends,” hundreds of “likes,” and many admirers. I was a teen, and the indescribable feeling of seeing this on my homepage everyday was addicting:
It was like being engulfed by warm, affectionate hugs by hundreds of people — and getting a few thousand forehead kisses, too.
But the dependence on these social media notifications started to get way out of hand. If a certain photo didn’t get the likes I expected, my self esteem would plummet down to the depths of the earth. I also started to compare my popularity to other women on Myspace and seek to outdo them by being sexier, more provocative and more risque.
While I got more likes, more messages, and more attention, my self esteem would maybe stick its head out the turtle shell for about a minute, but then retreat right back into a dark, depressed state.
I had all this attention, but I was miserable.
I realized that validation from Myspace — or any other social platform — wasn’t going to make me happy. I had to find my self-worth from within. That way, even if I didn’t get hundreds of likes, it didn’t matter — I like me. And that’s all that counts.
From then on, I treated all subsequent social media profiles like my online banking account — I barely checked it. The same goes for Instagram. If you check it like your daily newspaper, you could be the most tough-skinned person on the planet, the desire to be validated will eventually get you.
And being on both sides of the spectrum, a former social media maven and a barely-there user, I can tell you that even the famed public figures battle self-esteem issues on Instagram. Followers, retweets, reblogs and likes is NOT an antidote for low self worth. I learned that the hard way.
Yes I still use social media, but sparingly. And I am happier than I’ve ever been. I am simply focused on myself — not what other people are doing. And that has saved my self esteem. 🙂