Stop seeking validation from social mediaSharika S Nair
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder what is wrong with a few people when you check your Facebook newsfeed. Although many might look like they’ve got it all – the perfect holidays photos, the endless pictures of their daily meals coupled with photos of them constantly partying with their so called ‘girl-gang’ or ‘beau’ – makes you wonder what exactly they are trying to achieve.
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I was once out with my friend for lunch. We gave our order waited for the food. Finally when it arrived, (I was famished by then since I generally have an early breakfast) it took my friend 15 whole minutes till she agreed to have it or even let me touch it. This was because (a) she wanted to click a photo of the entire meal, with perfect lighting, to post it immediately on Instagram (#foodporn!), and (b) she wanted me to take a picture of her with the restaurant’s seating and the food for her next profile picture on Facebook.
Her effort and patience actually impressed me, but there is a limit to one’s patience, especially when one is hungry. I later asked her why exactly is she even bothered to go through this tedious exercise and she replied, “I want to keep getting more likes on Instagram and Facebook.” I further asked her why, to which she replied, “Just like that. It makes me feel good.”
This is just one of the few examples of how social media affects people. Many people consider life on social media to be the ultimate life to lead. While social media might be a great way to stay connected and catch up with friends, it often pressurises people to live up to a certain lifestyle. This also correlates to one’s self-esteem. Highly self-confident people are not affected by what they see on social media. They do not compare themselves with others. They don’t ask, ‘Why can’t I be like her or why are they so lucky?’
The key to keeping control over your social media addiction is to disconnect from it for a while. It might be affecting your sleep and daily routine. Do not check it every ten minutes to see if any path-breaking activity has occurred in your friends’ ( or even enemies’) lives. Keep a standard time to check your account and stick to it. Once you have done that, stop making social media run your life. Keep yourself occupied with other things. There is a whole real world out there that you should go out and celebrate.
When was the last time you went to a restaurant with your friends or family without your smartphone? When was the last time you had a full meal without looking once into your phone? The power of face to face communication cannot be emphasised enough. No number of posts online or chats on messenger can replace the support and comfort you get from sitting with people and actually talking to them. Remember that there is just one life to lead, the one within you. No amount of validation is needed for you to decide how peaceful your life is. Also, it is the people around you who will stick to you during times of need and not the screen on your digital device.