In the June copy of Women’s Health UK magazine I came across this article called “Selfie Esteem” and it really hit a chord with me. The premise of the article is discussing whether ‘selfie culture’ is affecting the way we think about ourselves and damaging our mental health. It is very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself or being jealous of other people, simply by looking at their social media platforms.
The Oxford Dictionary definition of a selfie is “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.” The purpose of a selfie is for it to shared online and to be seen by other people, therefore subjecting yourself to judgment, so why do we do it to ourselves?
“‘Selfies are generally linked to a need to measure popularity,’ says Andy Phippen, a professor of social responsibility in IT. ‘There can be a compulsive element to sharing them – you’re seeking validation from other people that you measure up, that you’re attractive and popular.'”
Of course when we see the nice comments about our appearance and likes flooding in after posting a selfie it gives us a boost of self-confidence, however I am not sure if it really makes us happy. The confidence boost eventually wears off and we seek validation all over again with more photographs. Alongside posting on social media we scroll through it, seeing hundreds of carefully picked and edited images depicting a ‘perfect’ lifestyle which could be completely made up!
We have to remember that everything we see has been curated to go online to portray a specific lifestyle or ‘aesthetic’. What we see does not portray how that person is feeling in real life, and it certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have their own real-life problems going on as everyone does. We never know what is going on behind an Instagram feed so we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that their life is any better than our own.
I feel comparing ourselves to others is a huge issue when it comes to social media. We can dismiss our own accomplishments and moments of confidence as someone out there has it better in our heads. Instead of feeling down about ourselves it’s time to re-evaluate our self-esteem and be grateful for what and who we are. At the end of the day, comparisons and jealousy won’t change you, it will make you bitter and lack self-confidence.
We need to be kinder to ourselves and take care of our self-esteem so that social media does not affect us negatively. How? Below are some tips for when you can feel yourself getting sucked into the social media comparison trap:
Put the phone down!
Take a break from social media, whether that be for an hour or a day, take some time out to do things that make you feel good.
Think about everything you are grateful for in your life and realise you should be content with these things instead of feeling jealous of what someone else has. These negative emotions will not change anything after all, apart from your mood.
However small, take the time to celebrate your own achievements and think positively about yourself. We can be far to harsh on ourselves so allow yourself to feel pride.
If you really want what someone else has you have to work for it, so make some goals whether that be in terms of a fitness regime or a savings goal. We cannot expect things to just happen to us without some work being put in.
Use social media responsibly
Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad and find new ones to follow that focus on positivity. I am trying to make my own Instagram account into somewhere to spread self-confidence and positive thinking.
How does social media make you feel, and have you ever ended up feeling jealous of someone else as a result? Let me know your thoughts below 🙂