Self-Esteem in Media Social Era
On a great holiday trip? Snap a photo to Instagram! Got in a relationship? Post it on Facebook to make it official. Got an award and feeling so happy? Tweet it out. Thanks to the technology we have today, just with a few clicks (or taps), we can instantly share our lives with the rest of the world. Same goes the other way around though. It’s very easy for us to take a peek — or stalk- into other people’s lives through their social media accounts. While it’s a great way to keep us connected with our friends, it can also cultivate an unhealthy impact on our self-esteem.
People began to see social media as a portfolio of their life events, a competition to top each other who’s got the most interesting life stories. Some began to edit their lives to present themselves online as someone they are not in order to gain respect from their peers, or to be seen as the smart, quirky one. After all, with all those little news of our acquaintances being shoved down to our faces, most of us can’t help but to compare ourselves when we see all the exciting lives and experiences we never had and probably never will.
Moreover, social media is a way for us to present our ‘image’ to our peers. Will I be the weird one if I post something like this? Will people comment or ‘like’ it? Will I get more responses than others’ posts? Will I regret this later? Those questions often pop into my mind when I’m about to post something online, which results in my reluctance to be active in social media to prevent the embarrassment altogether. Each piece of ourselves we post online compose a whole image of we are in other people’s eyes, so of course we should worry about what we post. Nothing is really ‘deleted’ off the Internet once you post it, anyway. In these days when everything we do can be competed against the masters in the world across the globe, we unconsciously or not turn to seek approvals and compliments from our surroundings.
We like to be praised. We like to be cared for, and to be heard and to be given attention. It’s only natural. Social media provides a stage for that. I often see people that would go to fish for compliments by ‘beating themselves’ up first, and sometimes I’m guilty of that too. For example, an aspiring artist posting their work, giving the comment “My art is crap.”, despite it actually being a great work that clearly shows skill and effort. Whoa, if your art is crap, so what is mine? Such posts tend to put other aspiring artists down, especially those with great sense of insecurities. Or sometimes girls will post their selfies, captioning ‘don’t look’ or ‘I’m so ugly’. If you really think so, then honestly, why are you posting it? Out of boredom? Or the desire to receive comments of assurances and compliments from other people? I don’t know what they truly thought, but that is how it looked like. Our source of self-esteem often comes from validations of other people, which are not dependable as eventually, there’s always someone who will find your flaws.
I do not know if what I feel will be able to be related with other people, but I would like to share my thoughts and what I felt. If you happen to be one of them, I’d like to give a quote I read from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project blog:
‘You can’t compare your deleted scenes to someone else’s highlight reel’.
We shouldn’t let other people’s posts make us lose confidence about ourselves, and we shouldn’t measure our self worth with the amount of comments, likes, or notifications online. Behind the screen, everybody’s got their own problems and issues that they may not show in their ‘online persona’, so we shouldn’t ever assume that someone else’s life is perfect and yours is much worse. We should be grateful for who we are, and seek ways to improve our own lives without basing it on other people’s lives. If looking at other people’s posts or obsessively editing your own profile to make it look ‘more interesting’ make you feel bad about yourself, then you should probably take a break.
For those who often criticize themselves, I’ve once received advice that we should treat ourselves as if we’re talking to our best friend or someone we hold dear. When you start having negative thoughts of yourself, imagine saying it out loud to someone else. Will you actually be able to say those things, or would you feel rude and unreasonable? If you think you shouldn’t be saying that to others, then you should refrain from repeating it to yourself too. We only have one life at the moment, and we must learn to love our own selves instead of hating it so we can live in peace. If you truly feel dissatisfied with your current condition, then you should seek ways to bring positive changes into your life. Take up a new hobby, go for a vacation, whatever suits your feeling that can bring you to your truer self. The advice ‘be yourself’ is rather cliche, but really, the moment you stop being constantly worried of what everyone will think of your actions is when you can start enjoying your life.
It is of course easier said than done and I’m still often struggling with it as well, but I wish this little sharing can be some food for thought for those who can relate. Social media is supposed to bring us closer together and make us happier, so we should try to use it in the most positive way and help others to do the same.