The toxicity of social media and how it is destroying the self-worth of an entire generation
By Debby Fogelman, M.A. Psy.D
It is a natural impulse for people to make comparisons in order to evaluate themselves but the problem with comparison making is that by using another as a yardstick for self-evaluation, one person will always be on the deficient end of the comparison. The purpose of social media is to showcase and so it is automatic to make comparisons, and because what we see is only a moment in time of a person’s life, carefully selected to project an ideal rather than a true reflection of a real life with ups and downs, and imperfect moments, we usually end up feeling bad about who we are and our lives. We know that our lives are not perfect and that we often feel insecure and filled with self-doubt. We know that we are not always happy and sometimes we feel sad, anxious, and lonely. When we see the pictures however posted on social media we are easily fooled into believing that other people are always more than what we are; they are always happy, and confident, they appear to have closer friends and more loving families, and in fact, they appear to have perfect lives and so we believe there must be something wrong with us.
Once this feeling of deficiency is internalized, it creates an internal belief of not being “good enough”, and now everything is seen through that filter. We see ourselves as being a disappointment and imagine that others see us in the same diminished way. Since our brains have a confirmation bias we seek information that will support our beliefs and dismiss information that will challenge or contradict them. This can easily create difficulties in our interactions and relationships, which can then be used to support the original belief of not being as good as or less than what others are.
It is in your best interest to invest more time in your own personal development, focus on becoming a better version of yourself, aspire to act consistent with noble values and spend less time on social media.