Our online world gives people the opportunity to discover more about themselves, but it also makes it easy to make assumptions. We assume that people are judging or watching us more than they really are. The reality is that everyone is so preoccupied with themselves to be that focused on someone else. It is a paradoxical relationship since social media can help deepen our interest in something, yet can make expressing that part of ourselves difficult. It leaves us feeling vulnerable.
Rapid access to information and lots of it puts into perspective how many people are in the same boat. It also can make it scary to stand out. Your self-image becomes an extension of you so changing it or standing out can feel threatening. The pictures you like, accounts you follow, and pictures you post, say something about you. This is necessary to connect with others online, but getting to know yourself and sharing it with a large group of profiles can cause social anxiety. Not to mention, the hyper fixation on the number of likes you and others on your feed receive.
Getting to know yourself is an exciting and entertaining pastime. If you create a post that brings you joy and genuinely excites you, ask yourself why that is. Do you want to share it solely to prove something to others? Do you like what you are posting and does it make you feel more yourself? What do you like so much about it? Asking questions like these before you post can put into perspective whether or not the intention behind it is going to make you feel better later down the road. If the intention is to prove yourself to others, you might feel more inclined to rely on how people respond to it. But, if the intention is to share a piece of yourself that makes you happy or feels good then no one can take that from you.
Take Social Media Breaks
Social media is addicting. Scrolling and checking become past times and take up more time throughout the day that we could be spending doing things we enjoy. This has made it extremely easy to feel prone to comparing what someone else is constantly doing to what we are doing because we are looking into the lives of others then drawing conclusions about the glimpses we see in a picture. An occasional social media detox can change the game and switch things up. Not necessarily for weeks at a time, but taking days off to reset your mind can help clear up feelings that may have gotten caught up in a negative comment section of another post deep in your feed. Not knowing what other people are doing all the time can remind you that you really don’t know what people are thinking.
Check in with your self-critic.
All too often, the voice, or voices in our heads can drown out feelings of self-love by relentlessly pointing out flaws in our behavior or body. The negative and hyper-critical thoughts are often anxious ones that don’t actually reflect who we really are or how we want to feel about ourselves. The self-critic often gets loud when we get caught up in comparison. It can be interesting asking yourself why you begin to feel anxious when posting. When did it start? What are you most afraid of? Our followers do not have constant insight into our inner thoughts. They are not spending time with us as much as we are with ourselves. We can create a friendlier narrative and begin to feel more comfortable with ourselves and others by realizing we know ourselves best.
Social media is now a constant in our lives and even a necessity in some cases. Getting caught up in auto-pilot can bring us down a road of relentless comparison. Authenticity and creating a sense of individuality in this digital age can make your profile stand out and build an even stronger sense of self.