Likes Do Not Dictate The Worth Of Our Lives

Likes Do Not Dictate The Worth Of Our Lives

The Pros and Cons of Social Media
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In the last twenty years technology has changed exponentially. Televisions have gone from dinosaur sized screens with single channels to a paper thin screen that can access the internet. The internet itself has changed drastically in the last six years alone with the evolution of iPhones and other smartphones, giving people access to portable infinite information at the touch of a button.

Communication has soared to new heights along with technology. Old school friends can keep in touch, even after they drift worlds apart, with the plethora of social media sites that now dominate the lives of most people and their enterprises.

Social media is a great innovation for businesses, allowing specific contact with customers or prospective clients. Social media helps build a relationship between celebrities and fans like never before, tweeting out thanks or pictures with fans. Social media has revolutionized our society, but it has also leeched some poison into it.

I remember getting a phone when I was thirteen. It was a flip phone, a Razor to be exact. I only had three contacts: my mom, dad, and sister. I used it for emergencies or when I traveled with my sports team. Now I walk around and see children in elementary schools with iPhones, snap chatting each other, even though they are right next to each other, or playing mindless games at the dinner table rather than interacting with the rest of their family. Have children really lost all sense of imagination?

Though this may be an exaggeration, it seems that children would rather stay inside on their phones updating their "status" than play classic games like "hide and seek" or "cops and robbers."

Girls and boys struggle growing up as it is with puberty, and the growing difficulty of school, and crushes, and family. It is difficult enough for them to discover who they are and adding the idea that they must impress their peers with pictures or tweets of their life increases unnecessary pressure and is damaging to self-esteem.

Social media becomes a facade for people to compare how exciting their life is to that of their peers, only most of it is entirely fake. People only document the exciting things. No one sees what goes on "behind the scenes". One cannot possibly be doing something exciting every moment of every day, but that is how it appears on profiles.

Of course, there are positive aspects of social media. It can spread information and news at amazing speeds. It can be used to stay in touch with old friends, colleagues, and family, as their lives change. Some people do indeed use social media purely as a platform for communication or the harmless documentation of memories, which is the best attribute of social media, but the natural environment of social media insights a more competitive system with younger generations.

Photography is one of the main platforms for most social media sites and has many superb editing applications to enhance colors and shadows, but these edits are being used more and more often to distort the people themselves in the images. Photoshop in magazines is bad enough making girls and boys strive for something that can be impossible to achieve, now photoshop has made its way right into their hands allowing them to distort their own figures in order to dazzle and deceive the viewers and increase their "like" count.

People of all ages are beginning to base their confidence, self-esteem, happiness on a number. On how many people hit a button. That is detrimental to everyone, no matter who you are. There is no magic number. There is no amount of likes that will bring happiness. The more likes received, the more likes will be wanted. It is an ongoing cycle that only has one end: unhappiness.

And children are starting this cycle in elementary school. Older generations are setting their children up for failure from the beginning because they don't understand it themselves.

We are blessed to have such great innovations and technological advancements to speak to and connect with those all over the world, but at what price? At what point will we stop and take the time to understand the aspects of social media that need to change? Social media needs to be brought back to the time of simple communication. We needn't post pictures of ourselves to feel value. Likes do not dictate the worth of our lives.

Cover Image Credit: PEXELS

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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11 Things You NEVER Say To A College Girl Trying To Get Into Shape

Just never talk about a person's weight.

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When my family and friends joked that I was going to gain 15 pounds in my freshman year of college as a result of the "Freshman 15," I thought it was what it was supposed to be: a joke. However, as the year has come to an end, I realized that I actually did put on a couple of pounds, albeit it wasn't the predicted 15.

As I told those that I wanted to get into an ideal shape for my body, I was met with some insensitive and ignorant remarks. Everyone thought that I mean just losing the weight I had put on.

1. "You walk to all of your classes, why aren't you losing weight that way?"

My legs are more toned than they ever have been before. However, most of the weight I have been gaining has gone directly to my gut (annoying!) and walking does not remedy that. Unfortunately, I have to stick to ab workouts.

2. "But you look fine to me!"

I don't feel healthy to myself. I'm not trying to stay in shape for anyone else, just myself, thanks. I appreciate you trying to make me feel better about my body image but I know something has to be done.

3. "I didn't gain any weight in college."

Good for you. I did. I'm trying to do something about it.

4. "Just stop drinking."

I don't drink. Really, the only liquid I consume is water or iced tea. I don't like soda and alcohol makes me nauseous way too easily.

5. "Isn't the gym free on campus for students?"

Yes, but some people don't like working out in front of others. I am one of those people. My friend lives in an apartment complex that has their own gym and almost no one is ever there but not everyone has that luxury. Also, some are busy and do not have time for a quick jog or to stretch.

6. "You should try this diet/pills/exercise routine."

I am thankful that you are trying to help but my diet is just eating healthy and having a few cheat days in between. I know what exercises work best for me and I am just not taking pills. Bodies adjust differently.

7. "Don't starve/force yourself to throw up."

Trust me, I know. I'm trying to lose the weight healthily. If you do find yourself practicing unhealthy eating habits or realizing your body image is deteriorating, the NEDA Hotline is (800) 931-2237. Please reach out if you are going through hardships.

8. "Won't you have to buy a whole new wardrobe?"

If I drop (or even add) a size or two. We grow out and grow tired of clothes on the regular, what's the difference if you have to buy some because of a weight change? Plus, who doesn't love buying new clothes?

9. "Just eat healthier."

Didn't think of it! Options are limited at college where the dining halls don't offer all that much that is actually good for your body. Now that I'm at home, it's easier. But I'm already trying to eat healthy.

10. "You've evened out since the last time I saw you!"

This is code for you've put on some weight. I hear it mostly from older relatives because my friends will flat out tell me if I've gotten a little chunky.

11. "You're just stressed."

Personally, this one gets me livid. I do admit that when I am stressed or anxious, I do turn to food for comfort but when I am delighted and genuinely happy, will my body magically revert into a fit state?

Sadly, no.

Honestly, I am just trying to get my body back into shape. For me, that means cutting back on greasy foods and kicking a bad habit of sitting on my butt all day. For others, it could mean more or less. As long as your body is in good physical condition and you are content, the number on the scale and others' thoughts shouldn't matter. Take care of yourself.

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