Depression and social media pressure are among humanity’s biggest problems of the 21st century.
Depression, anxiety and social pressure are the new challenge, thriving off social media and their increasing adoption as normal parts of our lives. From trolls to photoshopped pictures and unabashed “me-too” moments, simply visiting social media platforms has sent many young millennials into serious mental health challenges. They live with low self-esteem concerns and go out of their way to outdo each other in the hustle for social media likes and recognition. Sadly, because most of them lack what it takes to compete, they only get to play catch but never really get to catch up. This is where it gets really frustrating quickly leads to depressing thoughts. They are left feeling ‘not good enough’.
Have you ever really felt this way? Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough after seeing some nice Gucci shoes update from your friends on their social media handles, and then try too hard to get the same shoes? Do you subconsciously compare yourself with your social media friends or try to measure up your own success based on what you see them do online?
If you’ve ever felt that way, it’s absolutely normal. It’s normal to admire and desire other people’s success, and even get carried away by it. What is not normal is to measure your success with others’, even though I completely agree that it’s not always easy to avoid it because, as humans, we’re actually wired to compete. Unhealthy comparison is, however, very harmful to your mental well-being and you must avoid it.
This article will help you navigate the world of social media pressure in 7 easy-to-follow steps:
1. Consciously refuse to compare yourself with others
Self-comparison is one of the biggest factors that lead to low self-esteem and socially induced depression. As humans, not only do we consciously and unconsciously feel the need to be validated, we also want to compare our success with what other people are doing.
While this kind of comparison be motivation to work harder; the result you get from comparing yourself with others might make it look like you’re yet to achieve anything. Sitting down to measure the results you get from comparing yourself with other people vis-a-vis the effort you’re making can be very disappointing and tempt you to give up entirely.
To avoid this, refuse the temptation to measure your own success based on other people’s success (or what their success seems like).
2. Measuring your success by your own goals
A practical ways to measure your success is by basing it on your own goals. Measuring your success with the goals you set for yourself will show you the true state of things.
To do this, ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve with this? What are my goals?” When you find the answers, commit yourself to work towards achieving the identified goals. You can then measure your success based on them.
3. Find your own purpose and pursue it wholeheartedly
Knowing your life purpose has a way of making your life and work more meaningful. Beyond that, it gives you a sense of direction and something to look forward to in life. When this happens, you do the things you love instead of competing with others.
Once you’ve found your purpose, everything else will come to you, effortlessly, thus, creating a flow that synchronizes with your energy. Even when things get difficult, the fact that you’re doing the things you love will make it easier for you to push through.
4. Refuse to be moved by what others are doing online
Social media is showbiz. See it for what it is: a platform where people socialize, create meaningful social circles and show off their best stuff. No one shows you their very terrible sides on the social media. As a netizen, you have to live around with this mind-set.
A lot of the things happening on these platforms are not exactly what you think they are. Sometimes, people will consciously pretend to be who they are not, in order to create an impression. Instead of being overly carried away, be more concerned about the impact you want to make within your own circle and work around this.
5. Accept the fact that there are certain things you can’t change
At some point, you need to come to terms with the fact that there are actually people you can’t really compete with in real life. Knowing that there are some people you can’t compete with is one of the most revealing and lifesaving truth you’ll have to live with.
Sometimes, even when you can, competing with them is not worth it. So instead of working to get a pyrrhic victory at the expense of important things, find a way to ignore this competition completely. Otherwise, you may end up with depression after you’ve tried and failed to compete.
6. Learn to ignore trolls and critics
The social media is virtually a faceless forum where many people will have the liberty to say or do to you the things they cannot do or say in real life. Among them are trolls who will want to drag you to gain clout or settle scores.
You have to realize that people like this exist. Some of them have their own issues to deal with in real life. The fact that they are trolling you does not necessarily mean that they do same if they get to meet you.
7. Understand that you can never please everybody
Just like in real life, a lot of people will never feel satisfied no matter how much you work hard. So, in most cases, trying to please everyone will only “end in tears”. Instead, focus on pleasing yourself, minding your business, advancing your hustle and being with the people that really matter to your success or goal.
You may not readily realize you’re having social media induced concerns until you take out time to review your social media related activities and the state of your mental health. It is important to do this before your get caught up and unable to extricate yourself.
It is important that you create your goals and outcomes then consistently, work on making them count. Also, use social media with an understanding of its trappings.
About the author: Victor Winners is an author and blogger with a Diploma in Information Technology and an LL.B in Law (Hons.). Victor helps micro businesses to leverage the digital economy to grow their businesses with his knowledge of content marketing, web design and digital strategy.