After a quick scroll of my social media feed this morning I could not help but think younger people do not have it easy. There is so much bombarding them every second of the day, that if they are not steadfast in who they are as people, they could easily start to think that somehow they do not ‘measure up’ to others.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who use social networks, rose from 91% in 2016 to 96% in 2017.
Whilst some people may not be active on social media in the sharing sense, they may spend a great deal of time scrolling through their feed; looking at what is often viewed as an obscured version of the outside world based on trending topics, the hashtags they follow, and selfies filtered to their feeds via users from around the globe.
…many people perhaps feel invisible in their everyday lives and need to ‘feel seen’ and acknowledged.
The selfie culture shines a bright light on the fact that many people perhaps feel invisible in their everyday lives and need to ‘feel seen’ and acknowledged. Research shows that social media reactions give users a quick dopamine boost, and whilst there are many plus sides to social media, we have to take care not to use it as a tool to seek self-validation.
It is dangerous to use how others ‘react’ to us on social media as a benchmark for how we should view ourselves. We must coach ourselves to feel indifferent to praise and rid ourselves of the belief that ‘following suit’ is the only way to be accepted. As an individual, you are ‘enough’.
…inadvertently reinforcing the mistaken belief that they themselves are not enough.
‘Likes’ for the ideal self rather than for the real self can be no doubt damaging to an individual’s self-esteem. I can’t help but think, for every time a person portrays to be someone that they’re not, and receives what they perceive to be a form of positive recognition, they are inadvertently reinforcing the mistaken belief that they themselves are not enough. Despite what we see in our news feeds, we have to exercise self-care and continue to love ourselves for who we are as individuals.
I love the fact that social media can bring the world together…
Don’t get me wrong—social media is magical. It has the power to achieve positive things. I love the fact that social media can bring the world together, benefit businesses and entrepreneurs, and highlight new and established talents. It gives opportunities to people to promote their skills and abilities as well market their products and services. For many, social media is a necessity, as it helps to put food on the table and pay the bills.
Social media gives everyone a voice to communicate their joys and passions, as well as bring people together to support others during their woes. It provides a worldwide stage to champion great causes and helps to shine a torch on injustice around the globe.
The power of social media enables us to locate vulnerable missing persons and bring them to safety, reunite long lost family and friends, and even connect with extended family members we never even knew existed.
…stand steadfast in who we are as individuals.
However, it is important, that in our use of what is an amazing platform, we stand steadfast in who we are as individuals. We must continue to love ourselves, feel indifferent to praise and always remember that we are enough.
So to any teenager or young person who happens to read this—do not allow ‘likes’ or lack of ‘likes’ to dictate whether your confidence should soar above the clouds, or hit the ground with an almighty thud.
Like food, choose what to ingest and at times—if you must—take what you see with just a pinch of salt.
You’re enough! Don’t let your social ‘feed’ fool you into thinking otherwise.
Aisha A. Phipps
Musings of Ms. Phipps
© Musings Of Ms Phipps and Aisha Phipps (www.msphipps.co.uk) 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
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