Why You Should Stop Seeking Validation Through Social Media

This isn’t about social media etiquette because I’m an advocate of free speech and support individuals expressing themselves in ways they see fit. This is about more effective ways to feel whole again and seek validation within.

sad phone
Photo via We Heart It
Likes and follows do not define your self-worth. Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms as I love to express myself with visuals and enjoy seeing others do the same. In a world of Instagram models and accounts with paid followers and likes, I can see how one would feel the need to measure up. In the grand scheme of things, unless you’re utilizing social media to promote your craft or business, your likes and follows have no real impact on your life, achievements, success, education or happiness. It may feel important at the time but Instagram is one very small fraction of your entire, amazing life. If you like it, that’s all that matters 🙂

Below is a video by Filmmaker Shea Glover posted by HuffPost in December 2015. It’s a two minute message about Shea’s #BreatheBeautiful campaign. Check it out!

Airing your dirty laundry will not resolve issues. In our generation, it can be hard to fight the urge to overshare the details of negative situations in our lives. In the moment, it may feel like venting will make things better but in the end, it could actually make things worse. Remember that not everyone you’re connected to on social media is your friend. There are, sadly, people rooting for you to fail, people who will gossip about you and people who just enjoy seeing others not doing so well. Don’t invite these bad vibes into your life. Take other avenues to improve your situation and mood. Which leads me to my next point.

Cries for help should be directed to someone close to you or a therapist. “Subtweeting” a friend, significant other or ex rarely results in the reaction you are seeking. You can be ignored or create even more conflict. Furthermore, if you’re legitimately crying, having an anxiety attack or going through a rough patch, rather than announcing this to your followers, reach out to a friend, family member or therapist and have a private conversation. They will offer the support you need to talk yourself down. What you might get is attention, which is not the same as support. You may also want to confront that individual head on. Speak to them directly about what’s been bothering you. This method has a better chance of producing good results and you get opportunity to get things off your chest.

The realization that this isn’t the route to go will come with age. I was discussing this subject with a group of  my college friends and one of them stated, “When you’re younger, you’re thinking about the one person want to read it. When you’re older, you’re thinking of thousands you don’t.” This statement definitely rang true for me as I just told my husband that my subliminal messages on social media are the past times I wish I could take back from my twenties. #Embarrassed

Attention is a drug. Like most drugs, being under the influence of it feels great at the time but this high will not last. If you’re feeling down or feeling badly about yourself or a certain situation, getting your ego stroked by your followers is a temporary fix. Responses flooding your notifications in reply to a sad status you put up won’t solve the issue, it will only distract you for a brief moment.

This also applies to sharing provocative or nude photos on social media and using the attention to somehow validate yourself. If your body is your art to share with the world, do it! It’s more about motive. Your body and sexuality is sacred and you’ll want to share them with a healthy mindset. If your intention is purely to receive attention because you’re feeling down and want a confidence boost from the social media world, refrain. It can make you feel worse or you may end up regretting it.

Your posts can follow you around forever. We all post things we regret but be mindful that it’s tough to run away from something that’s on the internet. Ask any public figure. Someone can dig this all up. Your photos and posts can be seen by hiring managers when applying for jobs, family members or even the admissions offices when applying for college. You don’t have to be a saint on social media but keep in mind that even if your pages aren’t public, it’s the internet and can be seen regardless. I actually personally know someone who was fired from their job due to Instagram posts.

Social media just doesn’t give you the support you deserve. When seeking validation, you’ll want to work on this within yourself and with people close to you who genuinely want to help you achieve this. Face-to-face communication, social media detoxes and refraining from comparing yourself to others through social media will be the keys to living a more comfortable, happy and confident life. ❤

-D.O. ❤

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