Social media has given me mixed feelings since I got my first Instagram account. As an eighth grader already struggling with self esteem, the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was scroll through pages and pages of people who always seemed to be doing the most interesting things with the most interesting people. I knew it would probably do more harm than good, but the societal pressure of staying updated, of having a social media account like the rest of the world, was too much for a younger me to resist. First it was an Instagram account, then Facebook, then Snapchat…
The result? Well, as you can imagine, my self esteem only plummeted. Sure, in middle school it’s kind of assumed that everyone is going through puberty and no one is picture perfect. Social media was for posting things like…this flower in my garden, or those new shoes I bought, or that awesome sunrise photo I took on vacation. But then high school comes along and the entire game changes.
Everyone gets better looking, people start judging each other based on their uploaded photos. Girls especially pride themselves on how good their bodies look, how well their makeup has been done, how great they look in those heels. And that is, by no means, a bad thing. Social media is good in that it serves as a way for people to express themselves, and gain confidence by putting themselves out there and seeing that risk pay off. The complexity of the issue lies in the fact that people post to boost their self esteems and to feel good and important, but when one is on the flipside and they are seeing someone else’s moment of confidence, they lose personal value.
I often find myself pondering over the idea that people gain confidence with every like they receive, and lose confidence with every like that they are lacking. I certainly know that happened with me…I mean I would post a photo and to this day I never once have gotten a “Hot Damn!” or a heart eyes emoji. Was I not pretty enough to grab people’s attention for more than half a second? Did people simply not like the photos I uploaded? I thought there was something wrong with me…I thought I wasn’t pretty enough for the world and hence I stopped thinking I was pretty enough for myself too. And this is the case with so many other people out there on the Internet.
Is this what society has come down to? Is this how we gain self confidence? By focusing on how many people took the time to tap their fingers twice or hit a like button, and not by our real life achievements and interactions? So many people blame their depression and self-shame on social media, but I don’t believe it is right to pin your unhappiness on someone else’s moment of glory. We all know that people only post the best parts of their lives…the highlights. Them sharing that with the world, does not make it their fault that seeing that makes others feel degraded.
I do not think people need to stop posting, I do not think social media is the thing that needs to change. I think the mindset of this generation is what needs to change. We as human beings are worth far more than any number of likes, and those who realize that will in turn learn to sympathize with others without asking for sympathy in return. If reaching that point requires you to take a break from social media…take a break. The world will not stop turning, and you will only improve in your mental and emotional state. I implore you to take care of yourself, and to understand that no matter what shows up on that phone screen, it disappears the second you shut the device off. At the end of the day it comes down to how you view yourself, and you deserve to see yourself in a spotlight, not in shadow.
– Ro ♡