ocial media can help us cultivate friendships and reduce loneliness. But sometimes we let it make us feel bad about ourselves. Comparing ourselves to others is natural. But it can also make us feel less fun, attractive, and successful, especially when we’re comparing ourselves to a filtered, idealized window into others’ experiences. That can be hard on one’s self-esteem. It can also impact our life satisfaction.There are ways to engage with social media that don’t feel unhealthy.
According to an article in The New York Times, a 2018 York University in Toronto study found that “young adult women using social media often compare their appearance with that of their female peers and think negative thoughts about their own bodies.”
A survey by Northeastern University’s online magazine, Experience, found that two-thirds of respondents experienced “pangs of social media envy in the previous month” while scrolling through their feeds. The biggest triggers included posts about vacation and travel, lifestyle, and money or wealth.
According to Experience, lots of us envy others’ social media posts. But feelings of envy can isolate people instead of bringing us closer.
“We nurse our hurts and grudges in private,” the Experience article states. “But we won’t conquer social media envy until we can publicly acknowledge all the ways it affects us.”
What are some concrete steps we can take to keep social media in perspective?