Social media self-esteem” is a condition I’m coining and it appears to be at an all-time high, especially in millennials. Millennials have endured and thrived under modern technology. Social media has advanced us in many ways and connected people across continents. Everything is accessible. Everything is now, right now. While we have enjoyed the fruits of social media, we are socially and emotionally affected.
So what is “social media self-esteem” you ask? It is the feelings or thoughts about yourself after scrolling through social media. In my work with millennials, I see this as a common trend. There is a level of anxiety or sadness they feel after being on social media, which leaves them ultimately feeling not good enough. The chatter in their mind says everyone is doing awesome at life except them. The optimistic single person now feels lonely to see someone posing with their new bae, the straight A high school student now feels like a failure because someone posted their college admission letters, or the gainfully employed recent college graduate feels discontentment after seeing a peer post about their “fabulous” job.
This puts people in a constant state of comparison with little acknowledgment of what is going great in their own lives. Instead of conversations with peers that share life events or trials and joys, we only get what appears to be the joys posted on social media and there is no afterthought about the totality of a person. The social media figure is now seen as a fantasy instead of a real person with real life issues. We humans can’t compete with someone that seems beyond real, so comparing yourself to this figure is bound to make you feel crappy.
Here are three ways to keep yourself in check and prevent feeling anxious and sad when scrolling on social media:
1. We All Have Our Own Journey. Know that each of us has a path built specifically for us. We don’t always know what others went through along their path, as their trials were made specifically for them. I often tell my clients, as great as (insert your favorite superstar) is, I would never want to walk in their shoes because I was not built for what they had to endure to get where they are. We are built for our own journey. In short, I may have thrown in the towel trying to walk Beyonce’s path, and she may have quit while trying to walk mine.
2. Everything That Glitters is Not Gold. Social media allows people to present a perception. I mean, who wants to post pictures of themselves on their worst day. Nor do I encourage anyone to do so. So often only amazing moments are captured. Don’t judge yourself on brief moments in someone else’s life that appear fabulous. We have no idea about the moments just before and after the picture is taken.
3. Perspective is Key. Know that many things can be true at the same time. Someone can look amazing in a picture and still struggle with feeling amazing. A couple may take a happy photo and not always be happy. No one is always or never something. So take the posts for what they are, a brief moment in time not meant to disrupt your day.
Social media is fun and a great way to stay connected. Too much of anything is not a good thing, so regulate how much time you spend on social media. Get back to connecting with people and sharing the many layers we all have. Human interaction is a great way to keep life in perspective.
The content on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat, it is for informational purposes only. Please call our office at 404-618-1040 for an appointment or contact a mental health professional in your local area if you are seeking treatment.