Don't Let Social Media Determine Your Self-Worth

Don't Let Social Media Determine Your Self-Worth

Be present in your own life and see where it takes you.
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Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Twitter. Think back to the last time you went on any of these social media sites, or any other ones for that matter. The point of these sites is to stay in touch with friends and family, and stay connected with the happenings in their lives. However, these sites have now become a means for individuals to showcase how "fun" and "perfect" their lives are.

We upload the very best pictures and most exciting events in our lives, and then broadcast them to our "friends." Then, countless hours are spent scrolling through social media sites to analyze the details of everyone else's lives. This is a mindless activity that subconsciously generates a feeling of inferiority when comparing your life to that of people in your community. However, no one posts about the negative aspects of their lives. Instead, what social media illustrates is a selective portion of an individual's life—an airbrushed, polished version. Even though we know this is what occurs, we still compare our own unedited lives to the carefully created profiles of our peers. This is an unfair evaluation that perpetuates a sense inferiority, loneliness, and jealousy within ourselves.

Additionally, the senses of inferiority and superiority are reinforced by the notion of "likes." The larger the amount of likes you have, the more successful and popular your post was. Conversely, a low number of likes indicates your post was not supported by your peers, which has the potential to elicit emotions of inferiority. Many times, I have seen friends delete posts due to the fact they did not achieve as many likes as they intended to get. Evidently, social media is being used as a reinforcer of popularity rather than a clear illustration of one's life.

In this quest to obtain the best pictures and coolest stories, we are forgetting to live in the moment and have real experiences. Recently, I visited the city of Tulum, in Mexico, and went to a site of Mayan ruins. Standing in place with so much ancient history, I was blown away. I then realized that the majority of people on my tour were consistently snapping pictures of the ruins or taking selfies with the buildings in the back. I overheard a girl next to me say to her friend, "I can't wait to Instagram this!" Rather than embracing the history and culture of the surroundings, people were instead focused on documenting it for future reference or social media posts. I'm not saying that we should refrain from taking photos or using social media, but we should be careful to live and experience situations first, and then document them.

The constant comparison to others on social media with the intent of making your life "just as amazing" as that of those around you is unhealthy and unnecessary. It stops you from having quality time and novel experiences, and creates unnecessary stress. Rather than picking that perfect filter or taking 50 selfies to find the best one, enjoy what is happening around you.

It's ironic. We craft these perfect posts and images to show our peers the fun and joy in our lives, but doing so causes us to miss out on the experiences that would elicit these emotions. Take pictures as mementos, as reason to reminisce on great experiences with friends and family. Pictures speak a thousand words, and are the perfect reminders of the events in our lives. But keep them as just that, mementos, rather than a means of competition and popularity. Recognize that social media posts are not accurate representations of others' lives, and learn to be content and happy with the life you live.

Everyone has good days and bad days, and in the end, we are all human. Do not give false representations the power to diminish your self-esteem and self-worth. Be present in your own life and see where it takes you. You might just find more than you expect.

Cover Image Credit: sexyfoodtherapy.com

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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My Catholic School Would Never Do What The Covington Catholic #MAGAteens Did

I went to Catholic school since preschool and even with divided political beliefs, I have faith no one would have acted this way.

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I went to Catholic school my whole life. From preschool through high school.

The high school I went to definitely had divided political beliefs, but we embraced it. Instead of having a divide, we came together with clubs supporting voter registration and activism in your party of choice. We had a civics course and government course that required us to volunteer for campaigns.

On the religious side of things, we were required to complete service hours and it encouraged us to make change, learn about different cultures, and become involved. Throughout my time at Catholic school, I never was targetted by my race, political beliefs, or my view on religion.

It was not until I went to college outside of California that I started seeing changes in how people react to diversity. I am proud to have been raised in an environment that would have shut down and owned up to any severe or harmful actions their students would take.

In the era of a racial and political divide, it is important to remember the values that you were taught. Especially, when you involve religion.

The most important lesson I learned from Catholic school is to love your neighbor as yourself.

We are more similar than we are different. Especially in a melting pot like America. Become educated and aware before you target a group of people, who have not harmed you.

We can all learn a lot from the way Nathan Phillips handled the situation and we should all be alarmed about who was targetting him: the youth, the next generation.

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