Seeking approval and validation through social media- Frankie Samah

“An amazing thing happens when you stop seeking approval and validation: You find it. People are naturally drawn like magnets to those who know who they are and cannot be shaken!”- MANDY HALE, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

With the growing presence of social media, we now can create a virtual reality on an entirely different platform to what actually resembles our real life.

But has social media taken over our lives?
Many of us use these apps as a genuine way of keeping in contact with friends and loved ones. Research has shown adults are using their phones for about 4 hours a day. It has been estimated there are currently 2.67 billion social media users, with 88% of 18 to 29-year-olds using social media, 78% among ages 30 to 49, 64% among those ages 50 to 64 and 37% of 65 and older.

What do I love about social media?
Social media can open up a window to view other parts of the world that we can’t see in our daily life. We need all kinds of people in the world to develop and educate ourselves, and this is how societies can move forward. Social media allows this to happen. For example, I have an old campervan that I love to travel around in, I use my social media to interact with people who have this same passion and can educate me in where’s the best place to go or what I can do when another rust patch has appeared.

What’s the darker side of social media?
Unfortunately, some people become over-involved in creating an alter ego to seek validation or create a perception of success. People can get so wrapped up in their social media their real lives become consumed by updating their social sites constantly or checking who’s done what today, people cannot remove themselves from this alternate reality. Some people go out of their way to create fake scenes to make their social media look incredible.
But, social media addiction can create some serious social problems, including sleep depravity, anxiety, depression, detrimental effects on academic studies and work and anger management issues.
In make-believe worlds you can be anyone you want, we can have lots of friends, we can always be happy, or having lots of adventures. But this show a one sided view of our lives. It also starts to put an emphasis on how we should look, with Snapchat filters everyone looks constantly flawless. With the ever increasing popularity of reality shows, such as The Only Way is Essex, where everyone constantly looks glamorous. We absorb this thinking this is the norm, and then we torture ourselves, why don’t we look like them. Our nose is too big for our face, my teeth are wonky or our lips aren’t pouty enough. This is when the self-doubt creeps in and our self-esteem issues arise. So we look to be validation, we post a new selfie with the hope of being validated. Looking for compliments and seeking for approval that our lives are enough.
But it’s all based on an unreal or altered representation of beauty. We may begin to feel anxious about ourselves in comparison to someone else that we are viewing in a filtered and edited world.
Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong in looking in the beauty of all things or finding the good things out of each day, it’s when we seek approval from our life the line starts to blur.

Here are some helpful tips to help loosen the grip on social media, with help from Doctor Perry- Make it Ultra

1. Acceptance
It is important to recognise if social media is having a negative impact on your life. If you are spending the majority of time experiencing the world through your phone or computer, it is important to bring this into your awareness. Create a bucket list and make yourself proud or who you are. Remember we are all different and it’s about patting yourself on the back when you have accomplished a goal, you don’t need this from others

2. Realise Social Media is an illusion
Life should be experienced by our senses. It should be seen, smelled, tasted, touched and heard. Social media presents us with a world edited of all its flaws. Take a moment to realise what you have to be thankful for your life. We might not be where we want to be, but I am sure most of us are better off than we could be. Try to take steps to be that person you want to be. Remember the words from Albert Einstein- Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

3. Disconnect
This step is often the most difficult one. According to current 2018 research, the percentage of social media users who say it would be difficult to give up social media has increased by 12 % compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. Currently, 41% of individuals that were surveyed say they would not be able to stop using social media.

4. Set Boundaries
Set a few hours a day where mobile phones or social media is forbidden. Set yourself clear rules to follow.

5. Find alternative forms of validation
It is quite normal to want and need validation. This validation should not come from strangers on social media. One should seek healthy forms of validation from loved ones, family, and good friends. Further, validation should not only be based on one’s appearance or possessions.

Word Count- 920

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