We have all heard it before. The youth of today has become too focused on themselves. Social media is a plague that needs to be eradicated. The selfies and the self obsession have become too much. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing off your new outfit, a new hairstyle, or a picture of yourself while on vacation, there is something to be said about the growing number of people who have reported a diminished self esteem.
Young adults are thinking less of themselves because of the overwhelming need to match what is being presented to them. The concept of Keeping Up with the Joneses (or in today’s world, the Kardashians) is nothing new, and this idea of having the perfect life is not something created by millennials and Gen Z-ers. But with the advent of social media, sharing society’s quickly changing views of perfection has become even more prevalent.
So how do we find a way to lessen the stress of trying to be perfect? What are some ways that we can manage the overwhelming need to match the images we see online? Below are a few ways that you can use to help manage those negative thoughts and hopefully improve your self esteem.
Cut Back on Social Media
One of the most obvious ways to manage your self esteem is to cut back on your use of social media. In today’s world of sharing and planning through social media, it is admittedly hard to loosen the reins on your connection to social media.
This is in no way saying that you should quit using social media all together and eventually live off the grid. However, just limiting the time that you spend on Facebook or Instagram can help you cut back on the intake of comments, posts, and photos that may harm your self esteem in some way.
Instead, you could use the time off of social media to participate in something that will make you feel good. Take a walk, read a book, meet with a friend in a face-to-face setting. Do something that will take your mind off of the constant bombardment of “perfection” and the need for validation from others through a computer or phone screen.
Think Positively About Your Self Esteem
Another strategy that might help in managing your self esteem when there are so many people saying that you are not good enough is to start a daily journal. This is a place where you can remind yourself that you are good enough. Daily affirmations and thinking positively, while not a miracle cure, can help you lessen the weight of trying to be perfect.
Remember that nobody is perfect, and you don’t need to be either. When you are feeling insecure, remind yourself of the positive qualities that make you uniquely yourself. Writing those down and looking back on them can help you remind yourself of your many positive qualities when you are feeling down.
Find Validation from Within
This may be one of the harder strategies to practice, but try to find validation and gratification within yourself. When everything can be “liked” it is easy to get swept up in who likes what. You may have thought that you looked amazing in that photo or that your story of the time you swam in the ocean for the first time was an epic tale akin to the Odyssey. But when you log back on, your beautiful selfie or your epic tale only has two likes.
It can be easy to feel like you are being ignored or that people do not like you, but that is probably not the case. You looked amazing, and your experience was exciting despite what others think about it. Not everyone is going to like what you post, and with social media algorithms, your friends might not even see the post to add a “like” to it.
Step back, take a breath, and remember that a “like” or a “follow” doesn’t determine your worth. You are so much better than a mindless click on social media.
Seek Outside Help
With the rise of social media having an adverse effect on our self esteem, it is easy to fall into such a dark place where nothing you do on your own makes you feel any better about yourself. If you are having a tough time recognizing the positives within yourself, you may want to seek help from an outside source. Talking to a therapist, finding coping strategies, and setting goals may be helpful when you are having a hard time keeping up your self esteem.
Here at Keri Powell Therapy, we have several therapists who are passionate about helping others discover what makes them special and worthy. If you want to find out how talking to a therapist can help you, please give us a call. We are excited to hear from you!