Have you ever compared yourself to an Instagram model or someone you’ve seen online? I know I definitely have, and it’s actually quite mentally damaging. In-fact, prior studies have shown that people who make comparison to others on social media have reported greater depressive symptoms and see their current self unsatisfying and disappointing compared to their ‘ideal’ self. Not only this, but social comparisons can also lead to jealousy within relationships, as suggested by a recent psychological investigation, which revealed that seeing the romantic partner leaving comments on the Facebook wall of an attractive member of the opposite sex can induce jealousy. Understandably, this idea of comparison and not being enough is induced by social media, and especially the era of editing photos.
But what is the ideal self? why is our current self not enough and where does this stem from?
In reference to my last blog post, which is you read here, many users of social media suggest that they use likes and ‘swipes’ for validation, to know that they are worthy and enough. It hasn’t always been like this, although us millennial’s might feel like it. There was a time when online comparison didn’t exist, and there were no such thing as social medias to upload pictures on. Using the case study of Instagram, I decided to ask my mother, who grew up without the internet, her opinion of social comparisons and how it can affect young people. After, I interviewed Rachel Utting, a 21 year old woman who grew up with the pressures of social media. You can listen to this discussion below in podcast form:
It was really interesting to see how Rachel wasn’t as affected by the pressures of Instagram as Alison thought, and it provides good opportunity to state that not everyone will be affected by Instagram and other social media sites in the same way. I had to (and still am) learning to not compare myself to people I see online, and remind myself that I am the best version of me that there ever has been.
Thank you for listening and reading, I hope you found it interesting to see the comparisons of generations. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #LOR for discussions. Have a very merry Christmas and the next blog post shall be up on Sunday 30th at 6pm, discussing long distance relationships!