Social media can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with old friends and family members, connect with groups, and stay up to date with groups and events.
It is, however, a way to make comparing yourself to others far too easy.
We have all experienced the feeling before. In some cases, it’s referred to as “FOMO”, or “Fear of Missing Out”. Your friend just got married and hosted a lavish ceremony, posting the Pinterest-worthy photos on Facebook or Instagram. Suddenly, you begin to assess your own life, your own wedding, or your own lack of a spouse. Your cousin posts nothing but photos of the awards they’ve won on LinkedIn and other social media sites, leading you to believe that your own accomplishments are inadequate.
Social media comparison is, without a doubt frustrating and annoying. It can also become dangerous. Researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed 1,104 college students about a variety of topics, including their mental wellbeing and their use of Facebook. From “FOMO” to self-esteem – even body shame – the students reported that their Facebook feeds increased depression, anxiety, and led to an overwhelming decline in mental health.
It is nearly impossible to scroll through a social media feed and ignore the fact that many people unconsciously or consciously attach self-worth to the image they portray to others. Influencers go to great lengths to get the perfect shot and capture a moment that may or may not have actually taken place. The bottom line is that social media profiles, photos, and feeds are carefully curated by users, and people are placing more and more value on the subjective approval of others.
Social media enables people to reveal only positive aspects of their lives, to highlight the attractive, the beautiful, and the appealing. They can also easily delete, downplay, and hide anything they don’t want shown to the world. Those of us who are subjected to this frequently scroll and become increasingly unhappy, failing to realize that we are focused on what we’re missing and not focused enough on our own value. We are neglecting ourselves.
How can you stop the endless cycle of “FOMO”, shame, regret, and frustration? Here are some powerful words of advice for when your relationship with social media needs evaluation.
Remember That “They Are Them, You Are You”
It’s something that our parents and teachers told us growing up, but it may be time to remind yourself of this simple advice once again. You are unique, and the person whose photos you’re drooling over is also unique. They aren’t you, and that is fine. Remind yourself of all that is going well in your life, and remind yourself that you are only seeing what these other people want you to see. For all of the enhanced and posed photos, professional brags, and vacations to exotic locations that you see, there are also setbacks, frustrations, and bad hair days! Strive to be the best version of yourself, not a replica of someone else.
Take a Break from Social Media
We know that this is easier said than done, and it may not be possible for you to give up social media forever. It may be possible for you to take a break, even a short break. Delete the apps to make it more difficult and less tempting to log on. If there are certain accounts that make you feel anxiety and a lack of self-worth, there are several options for temporarily blocking or even muting those people and those accounts. No Instagram influencer’s photos or Facebook friend’s attempts to showcase their “perfect life” are more important than your very real mental wellbeing.
Seek Professional Help
If social media has set you back and you find yourself in an increasingly negative headspace, consulting a professional therapist to help you deal with some of the underlying issues you’re experiencing may be your best option. Susan Block, LMFT offers caring and compassionate therapy for all who may encounter these feelings. Together, we can work towards strategies and develop a plan for moving forward. Call our office today for a free consultation: 954-675-1936, or visit our website for additional information: https://coralspringscounselingcenter.com/.
Susan Block is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in marriage, family and individual therapy. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University in 1997 and completed her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2004. Also an active member of The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), Susan Block offers Couples Counseling in South Florida, as well as online therapy throughout the state. Click on the link to find out more: https://coralspringscounselingcenter.com/counseling-specialties/online-therapy/