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About Social Media, Social Comparison, and Self Esteem.

Updated: Mar 15

Comparison - the Thief of Joy

If you surf the web and key in the phrase, "Social Media and Self Esteem" you'll get approximately 103,000,000 search results. Many studies have concluded what most of us already know – social media can have some very negative side effects on its users and our self esteem.

Our social media feeds are full of updates from our friends - the great meal, the family trip, the exciting activity, the accomplishment. Then it hits us. While we are truly glad for them, we see their photos and inwardly wish our lives were better. Over time we develop feelings of inadequacy, discontentment, and envy. Our friends do not intend to harm us. They are just posting the highlights of their lives. But irrespective of the motives, the negative impact is often the same.

How do we fight the negative feelings that arise from social media? Remember two important truths…

Truth #1. Your feed is full of your friends’ highlights. In between vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom, you are reading about others’ exceptional activities and seeing their best photos. (Often filtered and edited.) Your friends’ highlight reel does not include posts about doing laundry, getting oil changes, or other mundane things. Do not compare your normal life with their highlights.

Truth #2. Remember that your friends are as human as you are. Their normal daily lives are very similar to yours. Same chores. Same hassles. Same relational tensions. In between those tender couple photos, there were arguments and tensions that you experience. We often forget that every person you know has similar difficulties that did not show up on their posts. Don’t forget that your friends are just as human as you.

There are many benefits to social media. However, each user must develop and utilize strategies to fight common temptations. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Don’t let this happen to you. Remind yourself of the two truths listed above. Fight the thief of joy.

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