Social media is part of our daily activities. Notably, a great number of people cannot fathom a day without checking their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. According to Dr. Lisa Larsen, PsyD, “Like anything, social media are not inherently good or bad, as that is up to the user.”
Initially, social media is a platform to connect people with certain commonality: friends, colleagues, same school, same interests so on and so forth. However, with the evolution of social media, it became a marketing, advertising, business vehicle. Together with this dependency to social media platform, studies show that women actually see social media as a stressor rather than a stress reliever. One respondent claimed that Pinterest is Martha Stewart of social media. It has these amazing and perfectly done projects that women navigating through this application may feel somewhat lacking as compared to those who can achieve Pinterest worthy images.
Another phenomenon that can be stressful for individuals is the filtering posts on Facebook and Instagram. People posts grandiose vacations, expensive purchases and successful feats in life while this is their prerogative. It creates a picture of perfect life that others may find themselves comparing to. This concept describes the social comparison theory. The theory states that people have the innate tendency to self-evaluate in comparison to others. These comparisons can be upward or downward. Upward comparisons mean comparing ourselves to individuals who are better than us. These upward comparisons are focused on desires to emulate the “better” individual and also to improve a level of ability. On the other hand, the downward comparison is comparing oneself to someone inferior to the individual on a certain aspect. This type of comparison is utilized to make an individual feel better with the consolation that he/she is not the worst amongst his/her peers.
Since we all know that social media is here to stay, individuals need to handle stress from social comparisons in social media applications. Joseph Rock, PSYD says “You might see somebody who sounds very isolated and depressed, but maybe they only post when they do.”
Always remember that there are numerous programs and applications that can support edit, enhance and photoshop images and videos. Don’t be discourage when you see hashtags such as #wokeuplikethis, #nofilter, #nomakeup, etc. Naturally, people wouldn’t post challenges, failures and ugly images. Also, some bloggers and social media influencers show their behind the scenes clips and showcase the struggle of getting the Instagram worthy photos.
When you find yourself to be striving for perfection for the sake of outward appearances, always remain authentic and true to yourself. Talk to friends and loved ones regarding your problems and troubles. If you can’t find someone to share your concerns without any judgment, online counseling is already an option or maybe try stranger chat forum specifically directed to stress originating from social media. Click here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/chat/theres-no-harm-in-an-online-chat-with-strangers-or-is-there/
Challenge your view
According to Keely Kolmes, PsyD “It can be tricky to read too much into a person’s social media postings since people may often vent or post messages with a particular audience (or individual) in mind.”
Rather than seeing your upward comparison as something unattainable, use these people as an inspiration and role model to emulate in order to achieve the goals. However, don’t forget that like anything in life, the journey to the peak of your success is no walk in the park. Oftentimes, the general public only sees the end result but oblivious to the struggle filled with blood, sweat, and tears.
On a final note, allow us to share what Lindsey Buckman, PsyD has to say about this: