Social media is meant to make us feel included. Having lots of Facebook friends, Instagram followers and Snapchat story views is there purely to make us feel popular and like we fit in, right?
Follower counts, likes, comments. It’s all come to basically quantify our self-worth. You can look at another profile and see that someone’s photo has received more likes than yours, or when we wake up in the morning and we see we have 5 less followers than the day before and we can feel completely rejected.
Do you ever scroll through your feed and feel insecure? Like your career isn’t where it should be, that your physical appearance doesn’t fit in with what’s popular, that you haven’t got the newest designer product? You’re not alone – because social media is a highlight reel.
A lot of people online will only show you the very best of their day, week, month or year – and none of the negatives. They are always on holiday, they have an endless stream of money to go for brunch and buy clothes, they have the perfect relationship and the perfect home. I mean for those of you that follow me, you guys know that I myself do have a lot of lunches and buy a lot of clothes – but believe me, I’m not rich I’m just young and irresponsible (lol).
What does all of that apparently add up to? Nothing specific but, according to our self-esteem, it adds up to more than what we have. We feel like we’re inadequate, completely left out and like our life is missing something; all based on the fabricated reality put forward by someone we may not even know.
So, what’s the solution? Do we simply let Instagram hide likes and think that’s the end of it? Do we fall into that Social Media trap and do whatever we can to compete with the very people that make us insecure? Do we just give up and delete the app altogether?
Here’s what we do:
1) Unfollow ANYONE that doesn’t lift you up
Anyone that we compare ourselves too or that make us feel insecure (and yes that includes me), we remove from the equation completely.
2) Become aware of your social media consumption
We are responsible for our own behaviours and we alone can change them. Notice when someone is making you feel insecure or inadequate and take yourself away from that profile. Practice gratitude for what you have, rather than envy for what you don’t have.
3) Live your normal life
If you start to feel lonely or not included whilst on social media, go and spend time with people in the real world! You weren’t invited to that part? Drop someone a text and just out for coffee. Go out for lunch with a family member. Give your dog a hug (and if you don’t have a dog, hug someone else’s – of course, ask the owner’s permission).
Social Media isn’t all bad for us, we’re bad for it. We have not been educated on how to use it to our advantage, rather how to make us feel worse. It’s up to us to turn it into something positive.
Feeling lonely or isolated? You can talk to one of our trained Digital Mentors in confidence here.