Social media enriches life in so many ways, but like all wonderful things it comes with some potential downsides. This includes contributing to lack of confidence.
You’d think we’d be insulated from the goings-on of the virtual social media world, but the reality is that social media can take a toll on you just as powerfully as your real world relationships.
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When you dedicate so much time and attention to something, it inevitably becomes a major part of your psyche, even if it’s no more than images on a screen.
A lack of confidence has disastrous effects on the quality of your life. It lowers motivation, stifles your relationships, and even hinders your professional opportunities.
That’s why learning to use social media prudently is such a critical skill. It can literally make the difference in turning a lack of confidence into healthy self-esteem.
How Social Media Affects Self-Confidence
It’s important to understand your interactions with social media and how these are affecting your overall confidence.
When you spend hour after hour on Facebook seeing how awesome everyone’s lives are, you risk losing sight of how good yours is.
Everyone tries to make himself look as good as possible on social media. Guys do a set of pushups before that shirtless selfie to make sure their muscles look toned. Girls spend several minutes fixing their make-up and hair.
And people tend to share more positive aspects of their lives. The expensive vacations, the huge parties, the raises. If you were to go by social media alone, you’d think everyone is living the life of a rock star.
What you see on social media isn’t “candid” by any means. It’s a presentation masquerading as authenticity.
But your eyes don’t see it that way. And your mind doesn’t interpret it that way.
Seeing so much concentrated “greatness” in others’ lives compared to the everyday motions of your own can lead to a major lack of confidence. You feel like you’re living in mediocrity. Like you’re not as attractive or successful or popular as others.
Comparing yourself to others in this way is devastating in any setting. But the constant connection and addictive immediacy of social media magnifies this destructive tendency, creating a trap that’s hard to break out of.
Using Social Media as an Escape
We all have activities to take out minds off life’s troubles. Social media can be a legitimate distraction when you want to turn your brain off and tune out from the world.
The danger lies in excess, something likely to happen when you already suffer from a lack of confidence.
Social media may be virtual, but the content comes from real people sharing real pictures and thoughts.
Because of this, social media may give the illusion of being a substitute for real life experiences.
If you have a lack of confidence, you escape to Facebook to fill a need for social interaction without the accompanying real world risks.
You’re lulled into a sense of security. You no longer want to break out of your comfort zone and pursue real relationships.
Thus, social media use can lock you in a vicious cycle that inhibits your social growth and maturity.
Giving Too Much Credence to Social Media Metrics
It’s easy to give too much credence to “like” and “share” counts. While these may be important for businesses doing marketing, they shouldn’t mean anything to you as a private individual.
A lot of times, we see others getting loads of likes and comments on their pictures or thoughts. We post something and get very little response.
Placing high personal priority on social media metrics is a dangerous habit and a huge contributor to lack of confidence.
Getting Sucked into Negativity Fodder
Social media offers another powerful temptation: the widespread availability of drama.
We humans have a perverse attraction to negativity and gossip. It’s the reason tabloids always have an audience.
On social media, there’s no shortage of people spilling out their life’s drama for all the world to see. Scroll down your news feed and you’re sure to come across plenty of friends’ pet peeves and dating woes.
Studies show that overexposure to negative news is bad for you. It pollutes your mood and your outlook on life. It makes living less enjoyable.
Overreading the negative stuff on social media has a similar effect. You become more anxious, more judgmental, more cynical.
If your mood is constantly negative, you don’t have the positive energy you need to live life fully. You find it harder to get excited about things and tend to see the worst in people. Your confidence goes down along with your positive energy.
How to Counteract Lack of Confidence While on Social Media
Gaining more confidence takes time and practice. Changing the way you think about and use social media is a huge way to treat lack of confidence.
First, remember that no one leads a perfect life. Everyone looks beautiful, rich, and happy online because they omit the bad stuff.
Stop comparing yourself to others; stop daily to focus on the good things about your life. If you do, you’ll realize just how amazing you are.
Limit the time you spend on social media. Try keeping it down to an hour.
When you log on, do so with a specific purpose. Decide that you’re going to send kind messages to friends you haven’t talked to in a while or share an inspiring article you read.
Having a set purpose minimizes the time you aimlessly spend peeking in on people’s lives, reducing exposure to content that may trigger negative feelings.
Strive to use social media as a tool for good. Make it less about “seeing what people are up to” and more about communicating with friends.
Although social media can lead to lack of confidence, it doesn’t have to be that way.
It all comes down to habits and attitudes. Using social media more wholesomely, combine with self-esteem boosting activities, can work wonders for your personal and social confidence.