When you were younger, you may have gotten a bad grade on a test. Perhaps when your parents found out about it they may have scolded you, saying, “Well, your cousin/friend doesn’t get bad grades, why do you?” Relive that moment and remember how that made you feel. Being compared to someone else where you’re the lesser may make you feel worthless and insecure about who you are as a person.
Imagine that same feeling but it has festered into a part of your perception, because now you constantly have a machine attached to you at all times with something called “social media.” It gives you access to a world where you are the “lesser” compared to everyone you see.
Jealousy will always exist as long as humans do, but social media expands this negative aspect of life by giving you immediate access to everyone’s life, which is supposedly “so much better than your own.” I can assure you, nobody’s life is proven to be more fortunate than yours because they smile in a picture where an event is happening. Of course, they’re smiling and looking happy; social media is simply an advertisement. Just like companies, people advertise their best selves most likely in the pursuit of making themselves feel good.
Everyday life is not a consistent flow of good times filled with great concerts and photo-worthy dinners. Life is bittersweet, however, users of social media focus more on the exciting elements of their day-to-day. Who can blame them? Would you want to see someone posting themselves being constantly miserable or stressed? Probably not. So why the persona? Are they trying to make you jealous? Why is everyone happy and you’re not?
The truth is that no one leads an ideal life. No matter what someone projects, the reality is that every light casts a shadow. I doubt social media users’ intentions are as sinister as our paranoia claims they are. However, despite all that, people who check their feed are on a constant loop of self-judgment.
While social media can be beneficial to people who want to promote and spread awareness of a product or idea they genuinely believe in, it has warped our perceptions and made us too critical of ourselves. Don’t misunderstand when I say that being critical of yourself isn’t useful. Sometimes, we need to assess our actions and question what we say to develop into who we are. However, when we are constantly bombarded with this “ideal” reality, we subject ourselves to this unreachable standard by comparing our lives to others.