Social media is a great way to keep in touch with your old friends and family members, but what happens when you find yourself wondering why everyone else is traveling around the world and you aren’t? What happens when instead of keeping in touch with old friends you envy the accomplishments of others and start competing for social validation?
These types of behaviors are a common occurrence. A study looked at how social media envy makes people more likely to spend their money on traveling so they can compete with their peers.
But what makes social media so dangerous for your mental health? In this article, we’ll explore how social media impacts our self-image.
1. Comparing yourself with others gets complicated
Back in the day, anyone could be the best, or at least the second best, at something. But these days, even if you’re a talented singer or good at math, a simple Google search can show you someone ten times better. The problem isn’t necessarily that you compare yourself with others, but it’s how you do it.
According to Leon Festinger, comparing yourself with others is a form of critical thinking. You look outside yourself to put yourself on a hierarchy of success and competence. But social media makes it almost impossible to feel good about your accomplishments because there’s always someone better than you at something.
2. You’re more likely to develop a false image of other’s lives
On social media, only the best selfies get posted. But who really knows how many tries and filters it took for your friend’s photo to get over 200 likes?
Because social media focuses only on the positives aspects of life, you’re more likely to feel ashamed of your current condition and aim for a lifestyle that’s unrealistic.
3. Fear of missing out
Fear of missing out isn’t something that showed up once social media became popular, but it was definitely exacerbated by social media.
When you see everyday people going out, having fun, and traveling, you may feel uneasy about your lifestyle. What you have to keep in mind is that most of the content on social media only tells half of the story, and since there’s an incentives to boast, some people invest time and money into activities to make others envious.
If your self-esteem is keeping you from living your best, happiest life, we can help.