Unfair Comparisons: The Negative Impacts of Social Media
Are there really so many negative impacts on our lives from social media? I thought social media was supposed to help keep everyone connected!
Social Media has become a place to go to kill time and unconsciously subject ourselves to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues because of the unfair comparisons we place upon ourselves.
It’s hard not to fall into this trap when social media platforms are employing hundreds of people to figure out how to keep us hooked on the screen for as long as possible.
It’s changing how we react to and perceive one another and changing how we perceive ourselves.
We might instinctively know that what we are seeing is curated, fabricated, photoshopped, and filtered but that doesn’t change our need to compare our lives, our bodies, our relationships to what we see on social media.
Look Beyond the Selfie
It doesn’t matter how old you are. On social media, it’s tempting to think that what you see is the whole story. But it’s important to remember that most social users are presenting a curated look at their life.
It’s not that people on social media sites are trying to be deceptive. It’s just that many people document their happy moments. This includes things like vacations, pregnancy news, graduation ceremonies, and weddings.
Most social media posts aren’t going to be about the unpretty, hard, difficult parts of everyday life.
Social Media makes us feel like we are connected in some way to complete strangers. We think because we see snippets of their lives that we know everything about them. That’s simply just not true.
One of my favorite Instagrammers just announced her pregnancy… at 30 weeks! She is a multiple a day poster and constantly creating stories so her followers, myself included, felt as if we really “knew” her. finding out she had managed to hide a pregnancy for so long even though she “seemed” to be sharing her entire life on Instagram was eye-opening.
Social Media is not an accurate representation of real life. Real-life cant be photoshopped or edited. Real-life can’t be deleted, updated, censored, or muted. Social Media can and we have got to remember this when we feel the need to compare ourselves to what we see on a screen.
Why Social Media Can Make You Feel Bad
The downside to all of this curated positivity is that it can leave you feeling like you’re lacking in some ways. You might look at a picture of someone else’s family where everyone is smiling and think that your friend has a wonderful life.
But what she won’t share are the unsupportive remarks her husband makes about her online business.
She doesn’t post about her son’s struggle with a learning disability or talk about her daughter’s crippling depression.
Those things just don’t fit the narrative that she is trying to project socially.
And that’s what Social Media has become, a narrative. We all, intentially or unintentially portray oursevles in a certian light.
While there are account who strive to be “real” and show the hard, difficult, parts of life, they are the exception to the rule.
The rest of us are just trying to look like we all have it together and figured out… even when we don’t.
How Social Media Negatively Affects You
Frequently comparing your life to the lives of others on social media can lead to anxiety and depression. You may find yourself asking yourself questions like, “Why am I not getting as many likes as other people?” “Why isn’t my house as nice/modern/big/clean as hers?” “Why aren’t my children as well behaved?” “Is my life not as nice because I don’t have the experiences that others do?”
Ironically, spending more time on social media means you have fewer conversations in real life. This can worsen anxiety and depression, creating an unhealthy cycle that leaves you unhappy and isolated.
The good news is that you don’t have to stay stuck in comparison mode. You can disconnect from social media when you notice that you’re feeling bad about yourself or your life. The more you do this, the easier it will become to break social media’s effect on your outlook.
However, connecting might not be as simple as it seems. Remember how I said the platforms are created to keep us hooked? That means staying away becomes even harder! Its important to take steps to help yourself and stay off social media when you find yourself feeling negatively.
The Self Confidence Journal can really help you work through how you are feeling and why. Grab your Free Journal below!
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