Hi everyone! There is a huge amount of talk about the very relevant subject of this blog post, and it’s something I’m very passionate about: how digital culture affects the individual. In other words, how social media can affect how we feel about ourselves. If you have ever looked at a photo of someone on Instagram and thought, “Wow, I wish I looked that good/had that family/could land that job,” etc., read on.
I’m only in my 2nd year of Communication studies, but the lights have turned way on when it comes to the influence of digital culture on individuals and society. Digital culture has altered the ways we communicate, relate, access information, and especially how we see ourselves and others. We can choose how we give people a peek into our lives. Based on some research I’ve done on self-esteem and identity, and from my own personal experiences, I believe that social media and media in general have greatly impacted how we see ourselves, and not in a good way.
More than ever I’ve noticed lately that we’re relying WAY too much on getting attention via social media to boost our self-esteem. We thirst for that “like” on a picture, status, or whatever, because it gives a fast and temporary fix to our desire to feel valued, attractive, and worthy. REALITY is that the screen in front of us cannot even begin to communicate how valuable you truly are. The number of likes on a social media post doesn’t equal your worth. It simply does not add up. Your value, identity and worth are so much deeper than that. We don’t need to compare ourselves to the people we view in media. I’ve had my own struggles with self-esteem, but embracing God’s unconditional love is helping me find wholeness and beauty in Christ.
Because God loves us AS IS, we can love ourselves no matter where we are on our journeys. God created YOU to be the person you are – not that person you think you want to look like on Instagram! You are uniquely YOU. I believe the only way to fully love who you are is to see how Jesus Christ sees you, not from the perspective of the world. The world doesn’t see the beauty, uniqueness and value in every person. God does. I used to scroll through my social media feeds, seeing beauty in everyone and everything except for myself. As soon as I began to see myself as God’s creation, things began to change for the better.
Whenever I think of this topic, I always think of Psalm 139;
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them
– Pslam 139:13-16 (ESV)
“How can I feel good about myself,” you ask? Well, here’s what I found works for me!
1. Tapping into God and the Bible – seriously, pick it up and read what God wants you to know. There is a lot in there about beauty and identity, also how God can comfort you when you’re feeling awful. God’s word has never failed me.
2. Get a better group of friends. Seriously, most people have no idea how vital this is (especially in high school). The people who are your friends will either build you up, or tear you down. Your friends also have a much bigger impact on how you treat yourself and other people, and even your attitude.
3. Limit your exposure and participation with social media. Turn off your phone, close your laptop lid and walk away. Stop looking at people on social media who you wish you could be because it will make you feel worse. Also, do NOT post on social media when you are feeling low because you honestly will not feel any better by being on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
4. Positive self-talk. It may sound absolutely lame, but telling yourself that your hair looks good today or saying “I can do this” actually helps so much. Challenge the negative things you “hear” in your mind and re-load with true and positive stuff!
5. Talk to someone about it. I find the more I told people I trust how I felt about myself helped a lot. I was able to get it off my chest and gain perspective. It could be a parent, pastor, friend, family member you talk with. Even having a counsellor or therapist can be a huge help along the healing journey.
“The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
I hope this post resonated with you, thank you for reading!