To the generation that cares way too much about affirmation.
- This semester I am taking the ever so famous class, Writing 101. Walking into it, I had heard the horror stories about each major assignment. I have to admit, it’s not a class that I am fond of. But, major assignment #2 got me thinking, we had to create a research question based off of a topic that we are interested in.
Two weeks prior, I watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix. Miss Representation was recommended to me by one of my friends and I have to say the topic is absolutely mind blowing. Social Media and Female Body Image. How Social Media makes girls see this unnatural perfection of ‘beauty’ that really doesn’t exist. But female body image isn’t the only thing affected by social media.
This got me thinking, why do I use social media? I used to say “because I have friends in other states who I want to be able to keep in contact with.” But, couldn’t I just text them if I want to get in contact with me? Yes, yes I could. Likes and Followers, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, do they have any real purpose in life. No, they do not. I was able to live without social media for 13 years, so why is it now that I find it impossible to go a day without checking my Facebook? It’s depressing. What am I trying to achieve by posting a picture of Instagram? All I am seeing is the affirmation from my peers. But, all social media tends to make me do is feel bad. Few people will admit that, but social media does that. If you post a certain picture and don’t get 100 likes, you may delete the picture. It’s absolutely ridiculous
Why do we need affirmation from people to love ourselves? At the end of the day, the only person you are stuck with is yourself. Not your Instagram followers or your Facebook friends. Thinking about all this, I made the ‘bold’ decision, yes ‘bold’. I deleted Instagram and Facebook from my phone for a few days. Not my accounts, let’s face it I’m not ready for that yet. Just the apps, I found out that I didn’t miss much. I didn’t like a few posts, but those people won’t miss my like.
I did discover that if someone truly cares about you, social media won’t matter in a relationship. They will contact you, they will keep in touch. They will call you when they miss you because social media has no real purpose in life. Yes, it’s fun to post a cute picture on Instagram, but does that do anything to you? No, it doesn’t. Your worth as a person shouldn’t be based on social media.
At the end of the day, you won’t be remembered by your Instagram or Facebook. You will be remembered by the content of your character, how you treated people, how you presented yourself in person, not in an Instagram post. It is very easy to false represent who you are as a person over social media. That’s why I hate social media. I love it for keeping in touch with my friends who I don’t have the joy of seeing every day. But, I absolutely hate the people who put their soul purpose into followers and likes. There is so much more to life than getting over 300 likes or over 1,000 followers on Instagram. Yes, it may feel nice in the moment. But, in the long run, it doesn’t matter.
I want to go back to when people actually put effort into things, writing letters to people who you love, sending pictures for the purpose of showing them their purpose in your life, having to go and find someone in order to talk to them. I want to go back to the times when personal interaction meant more. When social media wasn’t such a priority. When people genuinely had a good time for the purpose of enjoying life and not just to post it on social media.
Social Media is addictive and I try to remember that there is more to life than how many likes or followers I have. There is this very interesting thing called actually connecting with people. Meeting people face to face, not being on your phone, knowing people from actual interaction and not from text messages or social media.
I crave interaction, meaningful interactions with people who I care about and who care about me. Real people value real friendship, real relationships, real emotions, real experiences, and real life more than social media. In the words of Selena Gomez from The American Music Awards, “I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what’s in here,” she said patting her heart. “I’m not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore…And if that’s anything, whether you respect me or not, that’s one thing you should know about me is, I care about people.
Don’t be the kind of person who shows how much they care by liking an Instagram post, text the person or meet up with them to see how they are doing. Smile at them the next time you see them. Be loving, caring, don’t be petty and superficial. You won’t gain anything by being immature. Tell people how you feel, don’t be passive-aggressive towards them on social media. Be an adult and treat people with respect. It’s okay to be human and feel emotions. Just don’t be the kind of person who has more confidence and value in their Instagram than in themselves.