The use of social media has contributed to social good multiple times. From relief and rescue efforts during the onslaught of disasters to casting light to various issues and concerns (like #MeToo), platforms like Facebook and Twitter allowed people to bring the community together and create positive change to the lives of others.
These helpful tools, however, have also become sources of negativity. You begin to compare not just your curated feed, but also your life against others. Worse, you feel bad about yourself because everyone else seems to be doing so well at school or work while you’re still stuck in a place of uncertainty.
Social media was never meant to make anyone feel this way (Amen to that!). Here are some ways you can gain, maintain, or rebuild your self-esteem in the face of social media envy, according to entrepreneur and social media strategist Rosario Juan who spoke at the recently-concluded Ten and Tenacious anniversary celebration of beauty website Project Vanity:
1. Look to something that inspires you.
“Look to something that inspires you, not something that will make you feel bad about yourself,” Rosario said. As a beautifully curvy woman, the TweetUpMNL founder said going to the gym has been difficult for her but that following the “strong-not-skinny” movement has inspired her to work out. “Let’s not push for abs but let’s push for strength. I don’t think I’m ever going to have a model bod but I want to be strong, so that’s the inspiration I’m looking to,” she said. You inspire us, too, girl!
2. You should consider unfollowing.
Rosario’s personal rule on unfollowing people is if they make you feel negative emotions. “If they make you feel bad, if they make you feel envious, if they do not, in any way, inspire you or challenge you, click that unfollow button,” she said. She considers this freedom to choose who to follow as the beauty of social media. Besides, no one deserves the clutter, stress, and negativity that relentless following brings so do your part.
3. Assess what is important to you.
Rosario is a self-confessed Netflix binge-watcher (TBH, we all are), especially when she wants to chill and relax. She said putting in some documentaries make her time in front of a screen more meaningful. “I ask myself, ‘If I watch this, ikakatalino ko ba ‘to?” The same question should apply to social media feeds. Assess what’s important to you. What is it that you want to see and learn? Only then will we be able to get past mindless scrolling and browsing through posts.
4. Start thinking about your personal brand.
You personal brand speaks volumes of who you are, what you stand for, what interests you, and what you want people to know about you. Whether you are into fashion, fitness, politics, science, or movies, post accordingly. Rosario said there’s nothing wrong with a curated feed (which others claim as “not reality”) as long as it’s still authentic and you’re not lying to anyone. “All the pictures displayed in your home are all chosen by you. They’re curated but they’re also real,” she explained.
5. Take social media breaks.
Taking some time off on social media is necessary to have more positivity in our lives. The knee-jerk reaction in today’s social media setting can sometimes get the best of people. “Stop yourself before responding to comments. Ask yourself: ‘If I’m going to say something, will it help solve the problem or will it just result to another hour of argument?'” Rosario said. If you think it won’t, then log out. Take time for yourself by reading a book or writing in your journal where no notifications can distract you.
6. Use social media as a tool to connect.
Use social media for what it was made for: connecting with people. “Connect with people who share the same interests and same passions because you can learn from them and because you could end up collaborating with them on certain projects,” Rosario said. The platforms already feature almost everything you could possibly need for communicating, might as well use it for something significant.
7. Be yourself.
As cliche as it sounds (you’ve probably heard this a million times), gaining, maintaining, or rebuilding your self-esteem in social media is self-acceptance. It starts with you. “Whatever you post, be yourself. Think about your personal brand, what you represent, and what you want people to see. Don’t keep thinking about what other people have to say because that’s tiring,” Rosario encouraged.
Feeling envious is natural. It’s a human emotion. Just don’t let it ruin your lives and ruin your day. “I know sometimes it’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, it’s how you see yourself that matters. When you’re confident in yourself, that’s what people will see, too,” Rosario ended.
Featured image by Madel Crudo
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