Some weeks ago, a friend of mine edited a picture using Instagram-filters and in her caption, she had called Instagram an app. Then I thought, Instagram is just an app. Instagram really is just an app – Like the google play store and photo gallery. The only difference being that since we spend so much time on this app, it kinda now has an influence over us, even if we don’t know. It’s affecting the way we act, like that guy who lied to impress his online friends, what we think of others and consequently, how we begin to see and carry ourselves too.
Personally, I don’t understand it. We seem to be deriving some sort of heave or solace in watching the lives of other people – what they are doing, the next award they are getting, their next travel, etc.
In itself, it’s not bad to want to see what your friends are up to, but the moment you realize that it might be starting to affect you (whether it’s by getting addicted to social media or by starting to compare yourself with someone else or even, envy them), that’s when you need to cut the line.
I knew I was going to do this post when last month, someone had put up a picture on Instagram, praising a particular lady for something she had done and somehow, the picture had affected three different people I know, the same way.
So, yeah, our social media platforms are not just applications if we keep letting them influence and affect us in various ways. Maybe later, I’ll write about all the ways we are being affected by social media, but today I’m focusing on only self-esteem.
Without even wasting any time, here are the four ways (I’ve noticed) social media might be affecting our self esteem.
#1: Feeling intimidated by those whose lives seem perfect on social media:
I remember a particular day I was feeling really bored and tired. Everyone who saw me knew I was tired, like my face literally told it all. When I however picked up my phone to take a selfie some minutes later, the expression on my face was suddenly replaced with a smile. It was almost automatic – like the moment the camera caught my face, I just felt compelled to smile and guess what? That smiley-faced picture is what the whole world gets to see when I put it on Facebook or Instagram. No one, except those who saw me physically, would have guessed that just some minutes before that picture and even many hours after that picture was taken, I was very bored and tired.
This is social media for you, guys. We put our best lives online. We edit our pictures with filters and after several minutes of sorting through each one, we pick the best one and post it online & that’s what the rest of the world gets to see – the best one, the cute one, the happy one. I can’t even remember how many times I have told my friends to take my pictures with their phones, simply because their cameras were clearer.
Now, it’s true that some people have got their lives together and when they put up a picture, we are so quick to comment with hashtags #relationshipgoals or ‘ooh, how I wish this was me.’ But then, are we really seeing everything? No. There is only so little we know about each other on social media and that knowledge is defined by whoever is posting the picture.
So, the next time you begin to feel intimidated by those who seem to have the ‘perfect’ lives online; the next time you begin to feel someone else is better than you just by virtue of what they are telling you online, that’s your self-esteem being affected right there and you need to remind yourself that you are not seeing everything – only a snapshot of the reality they choose to present. Of course, doing that alone is not enough, but start from there.
#2: Comparing yourself with someone else:
The second way you know social media is affecting your self-esteem is when you start comparing yourself with someone else. It is one thing to feel intimidated by someone else’s body or achievements when we see them online, it is another thing to begin comparing your body or life with theirs.
Now, you might not even know at the point that you are making comparisons. However, if by the time you scroll away from that picture or drop your phone, you find that your mood has somehow changed and suddenly you feel the urge to sit back and ask yourself ‘What exactly am I doing with my life?‘ That is comparison right there.
Truth is people will always show off their achievements and hot bodies on social media. This in itself is okay. What’s however not okay is if you then start to compare their lives with yours.
This is not healthy o, so the next time you find yourself comparing or even envying someone else, you need to remind yourself that your life is different and that there is a different process and timing in your becoming which you need to respect. You can then sincerely wish that person well and pray.
Since I already shared the ways to curb social media comparison and envy before, I’m not going to dwell so much on it here.
So, moving on to the 3rd way social media might be affecting your self-esteem, it’s when:
#3: You begin to constantly seek your followers’ validation or appraisal:
We all know that social media, especially Instagram is very predictable. Once a person puts up a sexy picture, they’ll get comments such as ‘hot 🔥🔥🔥’ and once a person puts up a picture of doing something significant, such person will definitely get comments such as ‘Well done, baby; Good job; So proud of you; or tons of that clap smiley 👋👋🙌.’
That right there is human appraisal and like the other two I mentioned above, getting the appraisal of your followers or you yourself appraising someone for doing something significant is not bad.
However, it becomes a problem when you start to constantly seek it – so much that you begin to doubt yourself and your works, until someone gives you a thumbs up.
How do you feel when you write a blog post and no one comments? Or you put a picture on Instagram and no one comments? Do you begin to feel like taking down the picture because it is not good enough? Or do you feel unmotivated to write another blog post?
If it’s a yes, then that means you constantly seek validation and appraisal from others, and you need to check that cos it just might affect your self-esteem.
Learn to motivate yourself if nobody else does and to approve of yourself, even if no one compliments you. In the process, find whatever it is you need to improve and work on it.
Finally, you know social media might be affecting your self-esteem when:
#4: You keep Counting Your Likes and Comments Every Second:
You know that moment when you post a picture and voila! your data finishes. What’s the first thing you do hours or days later when you are back online? Usually, it is to immediately check those notifications and see just how many likes/comments you’ve gotten.
Maybe this is ‘just normal’. I mean, once your phone starts buzzing with notifications, it’s only normal that you check them. However, what’s not normal is judging our self-worth by the amount of likes we get on a picture. What’s not normal is counting our likes by the second and deriving some sort of joy in each increase. What’s not normal is comparing your likes with somebody else and thinking they are more influential, simply because they get more likes on their pictures in seconds.
If you find yourself doing any of these at any point, you have to check it. That just might be your self-esteem being affected.
So, those are the 4 ways I’m sharing today. If I notice anymore, I’ll add them. I hope that as you have read this, you’ll be more aware of how social media might be influencing you and try to check it before it affects you even worse.Instagram is just an app. Don't let it influence you so. Click To Tweet You are wayyy more than your likes and comments. Click To Tweet
Till later guys,
PS: If you’ve ever been influenced by social media to do something or you feel like social media seems to be affecting you somehow, feel free to share with me. Will love to hear your stories.