By Jeniel Lamb
A well-known Jamaican social media influencer started the #By23 hashtag and it has had many persons questioning their worth and feeling as though they just haven’t done enough by the age of 23. Social media over the years has proven to be damaging for many individuals because it gives many ‘comparison anxiety’. While it may not have been the intention of the influencer, it is the reality for many individuals.
Many users feel that they don’t have their life together based on other people’s accomplishments and they feel like their personal life should more closely resemble the image others portray on the internet.
Social media makes everything readily accessible to active users, which means a person can share their personal achievements and have as many as a million other persons see them. It can be said that if someone else shares their achievement and you are not happy for them, you are a ‘hater’, you suffer from ‘bad mind’ or you are simply a hypocrite, which is not necessarily true since an individual can be happy for you and yet sad for his/her self.
The feeling of being an underachiever or a late bloomer, if you may, can make many spiral into demotivation and even depression.
Many scientific studies have also spoken to the positive impacts that constant social media usage can have on one’s mental health. That, however, is only achieved where a user limits their social media interaction to include only positive content and maintains a positive outlook on life. The ‘If someone else can achieve their goals, so can I!’ type of mentality is a very good one but can only come from someone with a healthy mindset and a positive mental space to begin with and many persons lack such a headspace.
The problem is that people’s negative experiences should not deter others from sharing their achievements. People should not feel like they need to ‘tone down’ their lifestyles and the accomplishments that they make because other people will feel bad. It’s not fair to those people who want to ‘live out loud’ and it’s not fair to people who use these moments as steppingstones. Many people share their achievements as inspiration. How others receive and interpret the information is up to them.
There is also the issue of consistently being exposed to sad news online, which can cause many to feel like the world is crumbling around them. Social media makes news – whether good or bad – easily accessible, many times without persons needing to search for it. Seeing tragedies as well can cause serious mental health problems.
In regards to those persons who are having a hard time seeing others shine and are feeling as though they are not up to par, it’s best to practise positive reinforcement. This means seeing other people’s achievements and being happy for them and knowing that your time will come as an individual. If that doesn’t work then it’s best to just take breaks from social media. Take some time away from the internet. Take a breather and find ways to help yourself relax. It’s okay to need a moment away from social media. A moment from self-doubt or bad news is always necessary.
We want to hear from you! Send feedback to email@example.com.