Is social media hurting us?

Social media helps us stay in touch with friends, is a way to express our identities, and is a useful tool to help us connect the world around us. While life on social media may be a great life to lead, is it pressurizing us to live up to a certain lifestyle?

I see it all the time. People dedicated to making their lives seem utterly perfected on social media. I’m guilty of it. You’re guilty of it. Why do we feel we need to take the perfect ‘selfie,’ to wear the perfect clothes, the perfect filter? The list goes on. Why do we strive for perfection?

With constant images of success, happiness, new jobs, internships, engagements, pregnancies flooding the feeds of online platforms, its hard to not feel bad about yourself. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc all emphasize a highlight reel. Its inherent to human nature to compare ourselves to others and in result, I’m often left feeling bad about myself. The reality is that we are being fed images that evoke feelings of jealousy and inferiority.

Only the best parts of life are advertised online. No one will show their ‘bad’ days. They share themselves looking good, while highly filtered and photoshopped. Everyone has struggles they fail to release on social media. In reality, the images we see are a small fraction of the truth. The idea of perfection and happiness is shoved down our throats in order to compete for validation from our online friends.

Sadly, the amount of ‘likes’ a post gets acts as an indicator of how people measure their self-worth. I’ve seen friends take down a post because it didn’t receive enough ‘likes’. Much of social media is ‘ego-centric’ — such as the person who is trying to build up their ego fails to see how it may negatively affect others. This correlates to people’s self-esteem. Highly confident people do not compare themselves on social media. They don’t ask, ‘how are they so lucky, or why can’t I be like her?’

So how do we save ourselves from it?

While removing yourself entirely from social media may not be an option, you can limit exposure to websites that may be causing the most harm. Remove yourself from sites that cause you to feel negatively about yourself. Limit yourself to certain times you can check your account.

Trust me, its worth a try.