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  • Writer's pictureFiona Nishar

Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword

The constant need for comparison to others, the pressure to present a perfect image, and the fear of missing out can all lead to increased anxiety and insecurity. I got my Instagram account during summer break during 6th grade, at first I thought it was just another place for me to put up pictures of the way I perceived life, but after seeing the stuff my friends put up on their accounts. I thought that I should change myself in order to look like that and be liked by others.

Research has shown that higher social media usage is associated with greater anxiety, depression, and poor sleep quality. I felt the constant need to put up a picture on my social media or engage in something that is viral. One key issue I identified was the need for validation that social media can create. When we get "likes" and comments, our brains release dopamine, making us feel good. This can create a cycle of constantly seeking approval and validation from our social media networks. I felt that the more likes I got, the better people liked me. People often only post the best parts of their lives on social media, creating an unrealistic and idealized version of reality. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity when we compare our own lives to these seemingly perfect versions of other people's lives.

I remember when all my friends went out together, and I couldn’t because of prior commitments. That day, they posted pictures about the things they did, the food they ate and so much more. I felt a mix of emotions like sadness, anger and envy. I felt that when I missed that one meeting, my friends had forgotten about me, and they thought I wasn’t cool. Which led to me not enjoying the place where I was instead. I realised that it was important to remember that social media is not a reflection of reality. The influencers that we follow, often post about the best part of their lives, so it’s not an accurate picture of what someone’s life is. Instead, of focusing on social media and having negative feelings about how your life, isn’t picture perfect, the people on social media have one. We should focus on our goals and our life rather than focusing on what we don’t have or what we could have.

For the times you feel lonely or isolated, talk to yourself, your other friends, or your family. Try journaling, gardening and arts and crafts. Start affirmations, by telling yourself that you are perfect the way you are and that you are the best you there ever is and more. When I tried this out, I felt more positive and felt good about myself. The key is to start small but strong. By feeling better about yourself, you will feel less insecure and stressed. You will learn to be happy in your own company which is more than enough. If you believe that this version of you is the best one there is, then no post on social media can oppose that

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