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Social media and self esteem: How to cope when no one “likes” you

by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor

In the past decade, our generation has grown more and more attached to social media. Posting every detail of our lives online has become the norm with social media websites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. But is this helping or harming our psyche?

For most people, social media is a tool that they use to connect with family and friends. For others, it is all about “likes”, “favorites”, and followers. The term “Internet-famous” is not a joke anymore, and some teens are even making it big online. Some people have even described the widely popular websites and apps as “cults”.

Selfies have become an obsession. Getting followers has become a part-time job. Direct messages are causing trust issues. It seems like all anyone cares about is the attention they are getting online, but why?

“Well, it probably has a lot to do with self-esteem and how people feel about themselves. Knowing 50 people thought you looked good in a picture and ‘liked’ it gives people a confidence boost,” said junior Cori Haider.

Self-esteem. Now we are on to something!

Social media – Instagram in particular – has become somewhat of a competition. Who can post the most beautiful picture? Who can edit their selfie the best? Questions like this are actually affecting teens’ everyday lives and their thought process.

Chances are, while you are scrolling through your newsfeed, you are going to see at least one selfie of a seemingly “flawless” girl or boy and it is going to make you want to crawl into the fetal position and cry. How is his skin so perfect? How does she apply her make up like that?! What kind of plastic surgery does a homegirl need to get to look like that?

These questions will have you looking through your own pictures and wondering why you cannot just transform into someone else. But, seriously, want to know a secret? Someone else is probably looking at your pictures and feeling the same way! It is a vicious cycle that needs to break ASAP.

“Sometimes when I see a picture of a really pretty girl on Instagram with like a million ‘likes’, I start to feel really bad about myself. I know it has nothing to do with me, but I can’t help but feel a little jealous,” said an anonymous student.

Okay, common problem. It is normal to be jealous! But staring at that picture for hours on end while eating endless amounts of Nutella and praying to a higher power that may or may not exist will not change your face, sweetheart. Time to take it back to third grade and “Don’t hate! Appreciate!”

And I know you might be thinking, “Caroline, how am I supposed to ‘appreciate’ this person’s picture when my boyfriend/girlfriend just liked it?”

Guys, chill. It is all about spreading positivity and being comfortable with who YOU are. Once you are comfortable with yourself and your self-worth, you will not care if the freakin’ Queen of England liked that person’s picture.

Do you think Beyoncé bats an eye when Jay-Z likes Rihanna’s selfie on Twitter? Exactly.

Although it will take sometime to change the pressure there is in American culture to be perfect, there are simple things you can do to make yourself more confident, and in return make everyone else a little bit more positive…maybe..hopefully.

  1. Try something new to get your mind (and hands) off of that cell phone and onto something way cooler – like volunteering!

  2. Get active! Looking at Jen Selter’s “work out” photos will only make you depressed, (trust me, from personal experience) but doing something simple like going for a run in the morning will release endorphins that will make you feel ah-mazing.

  3. GET A HAIRCUT, PAINT YOUR NAILS, SPRAY YOUR WHOLE BODY DOWN WITH COLOGNE. Pamper yourself because you deserve it. Relax. Do everything you would do after getting dumped and then do 10 times that.

  4. Read a book. Okay, this one might sound lame, but trust me, it is actually extremely effective at distracting you and letting you live in someone else’s shoes for a day.

  5. Have a conversation with someone. FACE-TO-FACE. And no, no FaceTime allowed smarty pants. Focus on one-on-one conversation and enjoying life without having your face shoved into a screen.

  6. Commit yourself mentally to positive change. This might be the most important thing on this list. In order to actually feel better about yourself, you have to believe that you are better. No more looking in the mirror with a pained facial expression! SMILE. Give someone a compliment. Make every day count.

  7. Practice loving yourself everyday. Take yourself out on little dates and buy yourself things just because. If anyone is affecting you negatively, remove them from your life. It is really important that you make yourself happy before anyone else can try to.

In just a matter of years, our generation will be running the world. It is imperative that we treat each other with respect and kindness in order to grow as a civilization. Woah, I am getting a little too Gandhi right now, but you get the point.

If everyone is nice to each other, no one will have to feel like I do when I look at Kendall Jenner’s bikini pictures. Everyone will blossom internally and realize that everyone has a different opinion on what beauty really is – and all that should matter is yours.

“I think it’s really stupid to start fights with people on social media over pictures and direct messages. I think it shows insecurity and is actually a cry for help. Girls need to stop competing with other girls and same goes for guys. No one is any better than anyone else and they definitely don’t have any right to judge others,” said senior Kylie Scannella.

You heard it here first (well probably not, but still) – KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS. Because 20 years from now, it is not going to matter if your high school boyfriend liked your bestie’s selfie on the Gram.

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