I’m constantly anxious. I’m upset. I worry too much about everything. I can’t be around other people for too long otherwise I can feel my heart rate increase, I panic . Not many people understand anxiety and not many people take it seriously either, but it impacts me, it impacts me a lot. Anxiety is hard and if we don’t deal with it, it will deals with us. I don’t think social media has helped my anxiety. It paints a picture that everyone is perfect because of the way they look online. It’s not true, I know it’s not true yet I’m still sucked into this vortex of spiraling emotions and self-comparisons. I can’t help it. In many ways it's made my anxiety worse. I’ve become addicted to my phone. I can’t stop looking and living my life through other people. I’ve lost touch with myself, my body, my reality. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognise myself. It’s like I’m looking at another person. I’m so obsessed with social media that I can’t even live one day without hiding through the filter of my phone. It’s an escape from reality. I run away from facing my fears of knowing how I truly feel about myself. I know lots of people feel like this and it’s not just me. Social media is changing how we feel, how we interact and how we think about ourselves.
I’ve posted pictures before. People comment and like them. It makes me feel good for a moment, but just for a moment. No one knows how I truly feel behind the pretty pictures. I see girls all the time posting photos of their peachy butts on white-sandy beaches and seamlessly living these luxuriously lavish lifestyles. I know it’s not real but I still believe it. It makes me anxious. I’m insecure. Being on social media makes me nosedive, my confidence drops and I feel an urgency to act and make a change to my life. I find myself comparing all aspects of my life to people I’ve never met. Strangers in every sense of the word, yet these girls make me question my accomplishments, appearance and even my personality traits. I think these illogical comparisons have become so strong that they completely overpower my sense of logic. I know the real reason I feel this way is because people on social media only showcase the best aspects of their life. They emphasise the best versions of themselves rather than the real versions, that’s the problem. Life is not perfect, why are people making out it to be something it’s not? Life can be hard, ugly, downright depressing at times. I think many people like me fail to step back and recognise just how wildly unrealistic our comparisons actually are. So how can we stop ourselves from making them?
I’m no expert , but I think the key is to spend less time on social media. I have started allowing myself to spend only five to ten minutes a day checking my social media. I have since developed habits by avoiding people who influence my comparative mindset. You must understand that nothing is gained from doing this besides anxiety, self-worthlessness and sadness. I would also encourage you to start focusing on things that really matter to you. Change the direction of your attention and spend less energy towards meaningless activities such as social comparisons. Focus on being productive, finishing an old book you started reading or a high-energy workout at the gym. I’ve recently found that immersing myself in activities that leave you feeling better is a much better use of my time than spending countless hours on social media. Lastly, asses where your comparative mindset stems from. This took me a long time to realise but as unpleasant as comparisons are, they serve as a positive purpose and inform us of an area in our lives that may benefit from some improvement. It’s all about looking for ways to develop a stronger sense of confidence and self-worth. I have started putting a higher value on my relationships, become more pleasant with people, realised the value and importance of time, started doing more of what I love more often, eating healthy and moving my body. All these small achievable things have given me a greater feeling of self-worth and significantly reduced my anxiety levels. Next time you make an unfair comparison online, instead of allowing it to make you feel poorly about yourself, view it as an opportunity to self-evaluate, make a change and work towards a new beginning. Ultimately, I think social comparisons aren’t indicative of what others have and you don’t, but rather what you already have but aren't quite aware of yet.