“Self-Esteem and Social Media: How to Feel Good About Yourself in The Age of Perfection..”

 Lovely happy woman jumping of joy

      With so much stress in the world and the media—TV, radio, social media, Youtube, etc.,—barraging us with so many images of success, perfect physiques and every other type of issue that subtly reminds people to compare themselves to others, it’s no wonder that many people have low self-esteem. 

      The self-esteem “movement” as it was once called in the 80’s and 90’s is at a critical juncture right now. With the advent of social media and it’s popularity at all levels of society, the images of people’s physical beauty, achievements and talents have had a negative impact on not only children but adults as well, as inevitable comparisons are made. 

      When you sit down at your computer and boot up Facebook, you’re automatically taken to a world of not only reality but make-believe as well.  The images of Kim Kardashian and other celebrities with golden tans, six-pack abs and movie star good looks are on every page, along with with titans of business, rock stars and other achievers. This sets up a nearly impossible standard to attain for most people.  Some people do compare themselves against these images and these comparisons can contribute to a low self-image. High self-esteem is a very precious commodity for anyone.

      Comparisons are inevitable in life, but with the online culture, and its attendant images of perfection staring people in the face on a daily basis,  it’s even more difficult.  When images of supposed perfection are presented day after day, this can have a negative effect on people who may be especially vulnerable to low self-esteem.

Below are 5 ways to boost your self-esteem when you’re feeling bad about yourself or find yourself making comparisons to others. 

1.  Stop the ‘inner critic”.  Everybody has an inner “chatterbox” and, depending on the person, it can be negative. The key is whether you’ll let this imaginary critic get the upper hand or not.  Paying attention to your thoughts and interrupting the pattern of this negative inner dialogue, and replacing it with positive self-talk, is a good way to boost your self-image.

2. Take time every day to appreciate yourself.  Take just a couple of minutes out of every day to think about the good things about yourself.  This little positivity break is not only a great way to boost yourself but can energize you when you focus on all that you’ve got going for you. Recognizing even little, supposedly silly, things like you’re ability to solve a majority of Jeapordy questions or your uncanny knack for knowing the batting averages of your favorite baseball players, can make you feel a little better about yourself. But also think about your talents as well. Maybe your a gifted—although amateur—musician or athlete. These are to be celebrated!

3. Hang around positive people.  Surrounding yourself with positive people and people who love you, is a great way to stay positive and boost your self-esteem.  These people will boost you and accept you for who you are, not for what you look like or even for what you do. They like and love you just because. Stay as close to them as possible since you know you usually feel good in their presence.

4. Take care of your physical body. When you exercise regularly, eat right and get enough sleep, this all has a positive impact on how you feel about yourself. First of all, when you’re feeling good physically, this usually helps to improve your mood overall.  And the better you feel physically— and with an improved mood— all contributes to higher self-esteem. 

5. Realize making mistakes is part of being human.  Many people unduly beat themselves up when they make a mistake.  In fact, in “success” literature, it’s a common theme that those who have been the most successful have made the most mistakes. The point being that they tried many things—all with “failure” as a result—before they found something that worked and succeeded.  Realize that everybody makes mistakes and it’s a part of growing in general. 

Raising your self-esteem is life-long process for many but the five tips above will give you some tools to get on the right track. Remember: “Success breeds success” so when you start feeling better about yourself you can always build on that incrementally.

Lee Miller helps clients build their self-esteem through customized counseling.  She feels strongly that no one should have to live in pain and through her sessions, you'll be empowered to find self-acceptance and make better life choices.