Defined by Likes
It is a sad, but true fact of life in 2017 that many of us define our self worth, looks and personality based on the number of ‘likes’ we get.
Social media is amazing, it allows us to connect at any moment to almost anyone all over the world – whether we know them or not. However, with all great things comes a dark side. There is a new wave of self-acceptance that is defined by a numerical number that we can frequently re-assess simply by posting an image online. Gone are the days where this was just to share special moments with friends and family. We can now literally get a number to define what others think of us… (if that’s not messed up, Im not sure what is).
I am not going to pretend that I am not also trapped in this same tornado of comparisons and constantly seeking the approval and likes of mainly strangers. Having a public blog and three Instagram accounts (and counting) that I manage, a lot of my time is spent trying to take that perfect snap to maximise likes and publicity. But when this becomes a defining feature of life it soon turns dangerous.
I have seen time and time again with friends and even strangers the anxiety and self doubt that goes into clicking the post button and exposing just a little bit more of ourselves on a public platform. Then the angst that follows, the like:time ratio and the next hour that follows of assessing who has liked the photo. Surely, this cannot be healthy and the only way we can feel positive about ourselves.
Learn to 'like' yourself:
It may shock you, but a whole lot of generations went by where they were not able to judge their ‘popularity’ by the number of likes on a photo or followers on an account. And… they survived! If not, flourished!
I think recent generations need to learn how to like themselves again, and no I do not mean committing social media suicide and liking your own photo, but instead, outside of our online world. We should be able to produce our own self-confidence that is not connected to numbers on a post and other peoples opinions.
The fabricated life:
The other thing we ALL need to be aware of is that almost all social media photos are the best and most and appealing side of a person’s life. I do it, you do it, we all do it, posting the best photo out of the hundred taken because who wants to see the yoga fail (see below) or the imperfections in us… that wouldn’t get likes. The idea of being jealous of someone’s life based on what they post on their account I think is so incredibly stupid. These platforms are literally where we all take to showing off the best of what we have, do and create. There is no problem with fabricating this ‘life’ we want people to see, it is a unique opportunity of our generation, just please do not ever compare yours to another persons.
Remember: no ONE is perfect (not even Beyonce – yes, I went there), so please do not waste your time feeling self conscious or sad based on someone’s social media profile – it is literally there little creation of perfection, just like a fiction novel.
So, yes, I do love social media and all the memes it has brought into my life (which I struggle to imagine how days passed previously without), but I encourage a healthy balance. I think when you press the post button you must be able to truthfully say ‘I would still post this even if I knew I would get zero likes’.
A little technique I used when I realised just how attached I was to every like my photo got was to post a photo, then actively avoid my phone (usually by leaving it in one room and moving out of the room) for at least 1 hour. That way I at least allowed myself an hour of peace knowing that I got to share my photo with all my friends and family but not allow myself to judge or critique it whilst the like count added up. I often still do this just for a bit of piece of mind and space away from that instant sweep of self-doubt that used to come with posting a photo.
Whether this post relates at all to your life, it is always a bit of food for thought and a modern issue that we should all be aware may be dominating our lives more than we realise. For example, if Instagram, Facebook and the like suddenly removed all liking/loving/commenting abilities, would we still see the same kind of posts on these platforms?
So next time you go to post a photo or status take a few moments to get in touch with WHY you are posting it, whether it truly reflects your beliefs and values and how you would react if not a single person liked or commented on it.