Is Social Media Affecting Your Mental Health?
The average person in the UK earns between £20,000 and £30,000 per year, so virtually everyone you know will earn in, or around those figures. That isn’t all however, as the chances of people earning less than that are significantly higher than people earning more than that. This means we roughly all know how much each other earn*. Obviously for the youngest generation earnings are virtually zero or in the lowest bracket of £5,000 or less.
This is interesting because of the natural human desire to want to increase their public perception of wealth, health and lifestyle. People want to present the best version of themselves, they want to show the world what they can afford to buy. Whether you’re the lady who bought 300 presents for her kids at christmas or the guy who buys a Vauxhall Corsa SRI Sport.
People are proud to buy things – I presume.
Why else would they want to show the world? Are people sitting around wondering if Dave can afford a 10 day trip to the Maldives? Waiting and waiting, until finally, a picture of him and his wife sitting on a creaking wooden hut overlooking a blissful ocean appears in their Instagram stream. Finally you can relax, Dave has done it. When most likely, the reason the picture has been posted is because Dave wants other people to see it. This is all the more painful because you could only afford a week in Turkey.
Thats a rather cheap look at the issue, when in reality it severely alters the psyche. There appears to be a few elements involved, firstly the need to compare ourselves with others; ‘Holly bought this, and did this. I only bought this and did that’. Then you have the desire for affection, through likes or comments*. Now these are, of course, not all the issues surrounding social media but lets work with these two. I have heard* that social media is causing people to make comparisons and to constantly view themselves and their own successes relative to others. From what I see, however, people have always done this.
Social media just provides a platform which has a wider reach. Whilst you would do these things in your street or local area, you now get to tell the world, instantly. I would say social media accelerates the oneupmanship, however the desire to do this has always been there.
This for me shows social media isn’t to blame for this behaviour, it’s a natural human behavioural trait. This doesn’t mean I think people shouldn’t strive to not compare themselves to others. Success is so individual, and irrelevant to others. The pressure of doing so will likely equate to low self worth. A serious issue.
Don’t be fooled however, this is not always motivated by the individual in question, many parents, friends and peers will question amongst themselves how you are not in the same position as Peter or Jane, because they got this job, or got into that university or already bought a house. Individuals feel this pressure from these peer groups and respond to it by presenting the version they think people want. Rather than being comfortable with who they are.
Now follow this up with an innate human competitive desire. The individual then feels pressured to present a life their peers expect them to have. This unwittingly forces friends to present a hyper idealised version of themselves just to ‘keep up’*. Now you have a ridiculous scenario of a friends group sustained by a false pretence, which everyone knows is false, but keeps it going for the sake of appearing ‘better’ or ‘ok’. Its then not a great leap to see why people feel inadequate or feel like underachievers. The gap between this evolutionary, compounding presentation of their hyper idealised self and the real them gets further and further away.
Then we* have the audacity to blame them. Well done society, well done.
People should be celebrated for who they are, not what they do, or what they buy, or what they wear or anything similar. I don’t care what people buy, I care if people are happy. I want people to be who they want to be. I don’t want them to feel like they have to get adoration from me to justify purchases they make or pictures they post. On a side note however, I have had 3 comments and 6 likes on my previous post, therefore I feel much better about my life.
*This is probably a good time to tell you to like this post, share it and comment on the post. It will make me feel soooo good.
*This is all made up and I have no basis for this whatsoever.