Social Media: A Cycle of Continuous Social Discomfort

We live in an age where social media is as important to us as eating and drinking. We have become so focused on creating the best versions of our ‘digital selves’ that we forget to nurture and take care of ourselves in the real world. And because society puts an excessively high value on social media outlets, we are pressurized into making depressing, unrealistic comparisons all the time.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel,” Steve Furtick.

Our lives have become completely controlled by comparison. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or even all of them, today, we are living a live broadcast of our lives on these platforms to show everyone else how wonderful our lives are.

We show the final puzzle picture, without showing the process of putting all the puzzle pieces together. We highlight the best versions of our lives on social media, while hiding the rest of it. We compare our real lives to unreal Facebook posts.

According to Nema Alaraby, a freelance writer and translator, “Social media has taught us the worst lessons on how to show love to the people closest to our hearts. Actions speak louder than Facebook posts.”

We compare our relationship fights with perfect couple pictures on Facebook and our boring weekends with pictures of friends at group outings. In short, we compare our lives to people’s long posts about perfect, happy lives on Facebook. But do we ever stop to think what’s behind those posts on social media? Is the couple in the picture really perfect? Are these friends in the outing really friends? Are these people who type long paragraphs of the ideal way to live happily, really perfect or even happy? I think it’s safe to say that every one of us has looked at their timeline at least once and said, “I wish my life was like his/hers!” without any consideration to the hidden reality.

So this is how the cycle happens. You know how girls take like 20 selfies of the same pose, then choose the best one to be posted on social media for all their friends to see? Similarly, people take pictures to show other people how happy they are in their life. Then those other people fall into the trap. They decide to do the same to show that they’re not any less happy. And the cycle goes on; it becomes a cycle of continuous social discomfort in an attempt to blend in with the rest of the digital society.

Today, it’s safe to say that many live their lives to compare and be “up to the mark”; whether it’s in fashion, self-confidence, happiness, career, etc.

I still remember when I was young and my parents used to take photos at every occasion so we can keep it as a memory forever. Today, we take photographs to show our friends/followers where we were and how much fun we had. Today, it’s not about the memories that a picture holds, but about how many ‘likes’ the post/picture receives.

We are using one scale to measure two completely different scenarios.

While social media has lots of benefits, it can slowly contribute to low self-esteem and depression. So how do we reduce the damage we are doing to ourselves? Always remember to remind yourself that pictures posted on social media are not mirror images of people’s real lives; they are pictures taken for the purpose of showcasing the best version of their lives to the world. And don’t forget, stop making social media tell you how you should be living your life through the posts you see on your newsfeed.

And remember, never allow the number of ‘likes’ or ‘reposts’ to get you down. Self-acceptance is one of the main keys to a healthy life!

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