Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
I love following bloggers on Instagram and could spend hours watching their makeup or home DIY tutorials. In fact, I love it so much that it’s starting to interfere with my lifestyle in a significant way. Ever since I discovered the world of bloggers on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest who share their beauty recommendations, cooking tips, or home decor projects, I’ve become somewhat obsessed – and not in a good way. I’ve become overwhelmed with perfection and making sure that my life looks just as good as theirs on social media. I’ve crossed a line of comparing myself and my life to what I see these “perfect women” display. My husband and friends all tell me that everything from my home, to my clothes, to the gifts I give are “Pinterest-worthy” and that I’m always admired. But for some reason, it’s not enough. I keep comparing myself to these ladies. Without knowing any of these people personally or #IRL (in real life), I make this assumption that, somehow, they are better than I am. Maybe it’s their crazy high numbers of followers or the seemingly never-ending amount of positive comments they receive daily or how put-together they always look. Whatever the case, I just don’t know how to pull myself away from this obsession.
People seem to be spending more time on social media than with practically anything else in their daily lives. At this point, it almost seems strange to NOT have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. And if you’re a kid, you can barely survive without Snapchat or TikTok! After all, social media connects us, entertains us, and keeps us informed of what’s happening with our friends, family, and the world. So, it does have its positives. However, some people take their social media presence too seriously.
Not Always a Good Thing
Have you ever posted a photo of yourself on social media that received a lot of likes and comments? It’s nice to see that people are interested in you. In fact, you probably got a little boost in your self-esteem, which is great! But for some people, that boost can leave them wanting more…and more…and more.
Social media can have this effect: it gives users constant pressure to share and appear perfect with the goal of being socially accepted. Let’s face it, there’s a certain amount of risk involved in “putting yourself out there,” and the closer to perfection, the lower the perceived risk. Additionally, this drive toward “perfection” is impossible to attain and can simply be too much. This was the case for Essena O’Neill, an Australian social media powerhouse who, in 2015, after amassing hundreds of thousands of followers, quit.
For years, O’Neill shared pictures of herself in her seemingly “perfect” life, and in the process, it earned her over 600,000 Instagram followers and very lucrative opportunities with sponsored posts. What a great life! Or is it? Before deleting her account, she had one final post. In her tearful video, she revealed she was miserable and anxious. Simply stating, “This isn’t real.”
Making a Change
Social media can be a fun outlet, but for some, it can simply be too much. Our Tampa psychologists and counselors believe the following information can help you make a change:
- Limit Yourself – Quitting social media cold turkey can be difficult, but slowly distancing yourself from it can be easier. Start by disabling notifications or turn your phone off when you’re busy at work or out with friends. You will avoid distractions, and with that, you’ll likely be more productive. Some have removed the apps from their phones for a while with great results. Some experts suggest that it takes about four weeks to get it out of your system.
- Stop the Comparisons – Most people utilize social media to document the best moments in their lives. According to their accounts, their life is constantly filled with parties, the finest meals, fun nights out, and vacations, which, in all likelihood, is not indicative of their actual life. Once you realize that, it’ll be easier to not always compare yourself with others.
- Don’t Focus on the Likes – Remember that pic of the delicious cupcake that no one liked? Who cares!? Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on how incredible that cupcake tasted and how good it felt to treat yourself. Also, remember that in many instances, the number of people who see your posts is controlled by the algorithms that are designed by people who code the sites in Silicon Valley. Lots of people may not even see what you are posting!
- Prioritize Real-Life Conversations – Chatting with a friend on Facebook does not even compare or isn’t nearly as rewarding as having a conversation face-to-face. Instead of keeping in touch solely through a screen, use social media to reach out to your friends and make plans to get together. That’s what truly enriches our lives and makes memories – not posts and likes!
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Social media is meant to be fun and engaging. If you or someone you know is currently having difficulty with separating their real life with their social media life, our team is ready to help. Rice Psychology Group will listen and help you feel better. Contact us in Tampa for a free consultation to see how we can help you.