Social Media is a powerful thing and with it's exponential growth it's changing the way many of us live. It's changing how we connect, how we go through life, and certainly the work speed in how we perceive things. It's also changing how we perceive ourselves, and how we look at ourselves in the mirror. It can be good or bad but once ting that's true is it's powerful effect on our lives. You may think that you're not a social media person but if you're reading this, you already are. Clarissa Sylva conducted a study on people as a whole and how they're responding to social media. In her study, she found that 60% of people said that their self esteem was negatively affected by social media, 50% reported relationship hardships due to social media and 80% stated that they were much more likely to be deceived on social media. Being deceived on social media is easy as most posts are fun, happy, and portray perfect lifestyles. Let's face it, most people don't like sharing their failures, but rather focus on their success. Look at any lifter or athlete you may follow and go through their Instagram posts for example, and check how many times they post failed workouts. If you lift you know that weightlifting is mainly struggles, misses and failed attempts as we go through the journey of reaching that coveted PR.
So let's look at some things we need to be cognizant about. The first thing is simple validation. We constantly compare ourselves to others and social media makes this very easy. We are judgemental by nature but when we focus on what others are doing on social media we are negatively affected. In life, it's easy to process when someone is gloating but on social media we are constantly bombarded by this and it can be very difficult to deal with. So this polished reality on social media we see is thrown in our face and it's hard to compete with. Validation also occurs in those darn LIKES. When we post things and get that's thumbs up, let's face it, we love the LIKES and that instant gratification can either cause positive or negative emotion. Then when you do the same in real life, you don't get the same reaction. Here's an example. You make an amazing dinner, post it on Social Media and get a ton of reactions, LIKES, HEARTS, COMMENTS etc... Then you serve that meal to your family and the response you get doesn't even come close to the instant gratification you'd get online. Everything that goes on in our brain tells us that we need validation NOW. So we are programming ourselves to get that gratification in REAL LIFE. We need to be very mindful of this and how it effects our self image.
Nero plasticity is a real thing, and if we focus so much of our time on Social Media, looking for instant gratification, and constantly take in the polished reality of others we start thinking of ourselves as failures. We start believing that we're not good enough, our families are not good enough, our cooking isn't up to par etc... So use social media to learn as there is a great deal of information out there and education is free but be mindful not to get caught up in the hype. Know who you are, celebrate your failures and successes, go outside and do something productive.