Social Media is both a blessing and a curse in our modern day lives. On one hand, we value its power to connect us to others on a global scale yet, on the other hand, we despise the way it makes us feel about our appearance, our homes, and our lives. For this week’s blog post, I am going to give you 10 ways to learn how to accept our online selves.
In this day and age, it is pretty unlikely to meet someone who has never used a Social Media site. Despite Facebook becoming decreasingly popular among our generation, other platforms including Twitter and Instagram are constantly being used. A point raised by the Huffington Post states that growing up in a generation where Social Media is so prevalent is difficult. It means that every adolescent experiment is put out into the universe forever.
Are we slaves to our online selves?
The Huffington Post article claims that the internet alienates us as human beings as we allow ourselves to be given into the slavery that is Social Media. According to this, apparently, we can end up caring more about our online selves than how we actually are IRL.
So how do we stop this?
Firstly, it should be noted the difference between self-esteem and self-acceptance. Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. for Psychology Today helps us to be able to define these differences.
Seltzer states that self-esteem refers to how valuable or worthwhile we see ourselves in the real world and rises naturally when we stop being so hard on ourselves.
Although similar, self-acceptance is actually the idea of a far more global affirmation of ourselves. It refers to the fact that we should get on with ourselves better in order to accept ourselves.
If you think about it, we can relate this to how we act on Social Media too. We all portray a version of ourselves however it is down to us to be able to accept this version we create.
The following five stages will help in the quest to learn how to accept our online selves.
1. Remember that not everyone is telling the truth.
I touched upon this in a previous blog post but I cannot stress how important it is that you take everything you see online with a pinch of salt. Instagram especially brings out the fake in people. Users strive for perfection to make their lives seem the best they can possibly be. We know their lives are not actually that exciting all of the time, they just want us to believe that they are.
2. Let go of the idea of perfection.
We may have accepted that not everyone online is telling the truth. Now it is time that we stop trying to make ourselves look “perfect” too. As much as we like to post photos of our avocado Saturday breakfast, we know it isn’t a true reflection of our everyday lives. Understand that while Instagram portrays one version of us, we don’t have to aspire to that level of “ideal” all of the time. It is not normal or healthy to be that perfect all the time!
3. It’s okay to aspire.
Despite saying that you should never try to copy anyone else or try and match their level of “perfection”, it is still okay to want to better yourself. Aspiring to improve an Instagram theme by taking better photos or visiting new places is not dangerous to our self-esteem.
4. Take Online Influencers with a pinch of salt.
Again, something that has been discussed in a previous blog post. Online Influencers, Daily Vloggers and Instagram models especially, get paid to promote products. When they do this, they will create the highest quality content they can in order to appeal to a higher audience. It is okay to aspire to this but it should be remembered that this would have taken time and probably money to achieve that level of “perfection”.
5. Your Instagram feed is PERFECT too.
Over the last five weeks, I have discussed with you how people use Social Media to make themselves and their lives appear perfect, even when we know they’re not. Here’s the thing though; if we think that about them, then they probably think that about us too. If it makes us feel good about ourselves, then its okay to make our lives appear online. Remember to define the difference between real life and the online representation of real life and you’ve got yourself a healthy and enjoyable balance.
Hopefully, the advice provided in this post will help you move forward to a more positive online experience. One where we don’t feel like our self-esteem is being tarnished every time we post a new photo to Instagram. I would love to know your own experiences of using Instagram and any other useful tips for other readers to have a more fulfilling Social Media Experience.