Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., social media has become a major platform of engagement for most internet users. But according to mental health consultants social media has become a major anxiety-provoking factor. My question today is WHY? As entertaining and beneficial social media can be, people’s constant need for validation can make social media a bit unbearable. There is this constant continuous never ending everyday pool of selfies oversharing every moment, even the sacred moments. (excuse the grammatically incorrect sentence). Then the braggadocios over the top grandiose post of every little thing good that happens to you. Just so you know, we talk about you and we do judge.
Beyond it being annoying, there are reasons seeking acceptance and validation through social media is wrong. I’m done bashing and shading . lol!
SEEKING VALIDATION ONLINE DOESN’T BRING AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS
How many people “liked” your post today? Would social media be a thing if there was no way to show your likes? Pressure to be socially accepted and celebrated can be too much to handle, and can adversely affect the self-esteem of many social media users. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others and measuring your self-worth by the number of likes your posts get, then I’m definitely talking to you. One thing people have to be reminded about is, social media is not real life. What you see is not always what you get.
But is there anything wrong with craving that virtual attention? Is it so different to the approval we seek in every day life? You may seek social connectivity, acceptance and approval, and can do so more often than when face to face. When out to dinner talking to a friend, you probably don’t tell a story and then ask them to “like it” or “rate it”! There’s a very simple reason a like on social media feels so good. It gives us a high – a real, physiological high – and it’s fundamentally the reason we keep going back to it.
“It’s a reward cycle, you get a squirt of dopamine every time you get a like or a positive response on social media,” explains psychologist Emma Kenny. The social media like triggers that reward cycle and the more you get it, the more you want it,” she says of the theory that’s been scientifically researched in depth.
And that’s the problem; while social media provides a short term high, it’s often then followed by a crashing low. Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at mental health charity Mind, explains: “While low self-esteem isn’t in itself a mental health problem, the two are closely linked. Low self-esteem could in turn contribute to depression or other mental health problems, so it is vital to use social media safely, and recognize when it might be having a negative impact on your mental health,” he says.
“If you’re feeling vulnerable or are spending too much time on social media, it might be worth taking a break for a bit or set aside some time each day to do something else like reading a book or doing some physical exercise.”
The online world is one of virtual reality, not actual reality; and while it can put on a good show when it comes to catering to the social interaction we innately crave as human beings, it’s nothing in comparison to the real thing. We’ve psychologically trained ourselves to become dependent upon positive reinforcements from online sources, which impact our mood and influence our behavior. But if we all put as much effort into our real life interactions as we did our online ones, who knows? Maybe we’d find ourselves a whole lot better off.
Don’t let social media rule your life and decide how happy and healthy you are. Don’t beat yourself up if your new upload didn’t get the response you were hoping for; if you were happy with it, that is all that matters. You are much more than your online personality.
LEARN TO APPREICATE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ITS TRUE INTENTIONS
Social media is a major channel of communication and an important part of daily life. There are so many positive aspects – not only does social media allow us to easily connect with loved ones and catch up with friends, it also provides entertainment, breaking news and hottest trends from virtually anywhere around the globe. Social media certainly has its benefits; it can create opportunities, help people to maintain relationships and can also prevent loneliness for people who might otherwise be very isolated. Likes and follows do not define your self-worth. In a world of Instagram models and accounts with paid followers and likes, I can see how one would feel the need to measure up. In the grand scheme of things, unless you’re utilizing social media to promote your craft or business, your likes and follows have no real impact on your life, achievements, success, education or happiness.
My ultimate objective in sharing this today was to help some see past the likes and applause from people you haven’t spoken with in years. Social media just doesn’t give you the support you deserve. When seeking validation, you’ll want to work on this within yourself and with people close to you who genuinely want to help you achieve and be great in life.