Talk Back

A Lesson on Social Media And Self Worth

As of January of this year, there were approximately 7.39 billion people in the world. Of those people, 2.307 billion people have active social media accounts. The average person spends at least 1 hour and 40 minutes on social media daily. There have been multiple studies on the effects social media has on the self worth of individuals who are plugged into the multiple formats.

It’s only natural to want to impress others and receive the love/likes that you’re given when “your public” approves of you. But what happens when there isn’t approval? We begin to do our own recon to determine who is receiving the most love, what they are doing and how it can be achieved by “our public.” Some choose to ignore the inconsistency and volatility that social media can breed, but others do more. They push the envelope, chase the Joneses, head to the gym, do those squats, and send those partial nudes.

Some of you may be reading this and believing that my perspective is completely delusional and people cannot possibly be this impacted by likes, shares, re-tweets, and loves.

Unfortunately, this is real.

Although the Internet is not a place that can be found on the world map, the effect it has on our everyday life is deafening.  The doctrine of social media has become a diary of thoughts, a brag book, and a place where people sell their best selves in hopes for validation.

For those that have adapted social media as a way of life there can be unforeseen consequences. Self doubt, self loathing, and worst of all, depression, to name a few. I’m here to speak out against those things and to reiterate that, under no circumstances, should anything in a fictitious place dictate how one should feel about themselves. Everyone travels their own paths, and although it may seem that someone (or everyone) is living a better life than you, understand that these are carefully selected images that may not always reflect reality.

It is important not to compare and parallel personal achievements. If a former colleague has landed a major film role and you have never thought about pursuing that type of career, by all means, applaud them and keep it moving. If you cannot fit into a spandex catsuit like a video vixen, do not buy it. I believe in the flow of positive energy. If things seem to be going well for others, I stand next to them and use those achievements as inspiration. No one wakes up in the morning in the shoes we wear, walks our steps, or has the same daily and lifelong obstacles.

Sometimes it’s best to see these formats for what they really are. Filtered photography with perfect angles, small subtexts drilled down into 150 characters, and a minor glimpse of hardworking people trying to do what you are doing everyday. Live and be loved.

Stand in your own light. Do not let the ideologies and self images of others block your course. Your time is coming. Your time is now! Speak positivity and love the skin you’re in.

JET wants you to Talk Back. This is one of the reader submissions that we received and opted to publish. Want to make your voice heard? Submit your commentary, TV show recap, poem, or essay HERE.  Read all the rules so you know how it works.

Laura Miller is a writer based in Chicago.