When social media exacerbates our feelings of low self-worth

In today’s content rich society it is easy to start your day on social media seeing the latest from individuals and brands and be left with a deep, sinking feeling. Everyone always seems to be having more fun, has better connections and much busier and interesting lives than me. This was my exact thought this morning. It’s a worthless feeling. It was one of those moments, I thought, that if I wasn’t careful, I would end up in a position we all have experienced; when social media exacerbates our feelings of low self-worth
I once had a job interview which involved some psychometric tests. The over arching theme about my profile from the exercises was ‘outwardly confident; inwardly conservative’. That is me down to a tee.
So I had some thoughts to help myself – and hopefully others – try not to be feel overwhelmed by the social media posts around us:

Social media is always the best possible view of ourselves

The ‘busy at work’, ‘out with friends’ and ‘I’m too busy’ rants are the edited highlights. They maybe only relate to 20 or 30% of someone’s actual day (or week!). The rest might be pretty straight forward and not particularly Instagram worthy.

There is always room for other leaders and thinkers in any industry

We often follow people who are doing what we would prefer to be doing. Then we see them having an amazing time doing it. Gosh this can be tough (somewhat as per item 2 above). It’s important to remember that every industry has its leaders. If you can carve out a niche or offer something different, there is room for you too.

Everyone has down days

It’s just not possible to live in that filtered Instagram world all the time. And it would be exhausting if we did! We all have bills to pay and dull admin to do. Okay so maybe the high fliers of this world have someone to do admin for them, but they have to make sure it is being done, none the less.

We don’t know how others might be feeling inside

I remind you of my psychometric profile. I might look together and professional (and I get told that I do a lot – and that I can be a bit scary!). But sometimes inside I panic I’m going to get caught out and thrown out. I don’t think I am alone in this. It can happen to most people who genuinely care about doing a great job and being accepted by others.

Social media tools cram in all of this nerve-wrenching stuff into one dangerous feed

All the things that made me wobble this morning were from one of my TweetDeck lists and all in the space of 15 minutes. What was I doing to myself to put so much emphasis on this! Why did I think that just these few tweets were representative of the world in general? They’re not. I had to have a word with myself and close the feed down for a bit.

I had to remember to be kinder to myself – and for the sake of my self esteem

Consideration of things we would like to change, be better at, would like to do in the future etc needs to be balanced against all the things we have achieved and will achieve today, tomorrow and the next day.
As an aside, and to add some valuable perspective; I always remember when I first joined the NHS and was undertaking induction meetings at the hospital where I worked which involved meeting lots of key people in the organisation. A very experienced A&E consultant was taking me around his department, which was fascinating, challenging and uplifting all in one go. But he also said to me that the TV show Casualty was not really representative of daily life in the department. He said that if it was, Charlie Fairhead would have had a nervous breakdown in series 1.

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