Let’s be honest… the majority of people use social media every day. Social media is great in so many ways- it allows us to stay in touch with friends and family all across the world, helps us spread awareness about causes we care about and share meaningful events in our lives. As with everything some aspects of social media are not as great as others. As social media platforms advance and offer new ways to connect with other people, it also offers new ways to get access to more content faster which may cause us to spend more time scrolling through posts than we would like to admit. 

Here are some tips on how to build a healthier relationship with social media

  1. Notice the Types of Content You Are Viewing

Each social media platform allows us to follow specific types of accounts with certain types of content. Take an inventory of the posts you’re seeing and notice what the overall message is. Notice how you feel about yourself after viewing your feed and identify what type of content could be causing you to feel negatively about yourself. 

  1. Unfollow Accounts That Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

If you take an objective look at the types of accounts you follow and realize the majority of content features people who have body types that make you see yourself in a negative light, it is time to unfollow the account. We can unknowingly follow multiple accounts featuring people with idealized body types or lifestyles that can flood us with indirect messages saying that we aren’t enough. This can make us feel like we have to overcompensate to feel valid on the same platform that is making us feel “less-than” so we post content that we don’t always connect with to feel like we fit in. If you notice accounts you are following are causing this negative reaction within yourself, this can be an opportunity to follow content that sends positive affirmations so social media can truly be a fun pastime as intended. 

  1. Pay Attention to How Many Hours/Day You Are On Your Phone

It’s unlikely that we keep a timer on while we’re doing a quick scroll through social media while we wait for a meeting to start or while we’re hanging out on the couch. We don’t realize that a quick 10 minutes here and there can actually add up to a few hours of our day. There are applications and settings on our smartphones that can help us keep track of our screen time. By genuinely tracking our screen time we can realize how much time per day we are actually disconnected from our present environment. 

  1. Be Kind to Yourself

We can have a lot of judgments towards ourselves about our social media intake. Self-judgment is unhelpful because it further validates negative feelings we have about ourselves. This is why our final recommendation to build a healthier relationship with social media is to be kind to yourself if you choose to examine your current social media habits. Sometimes things get away from us other times we don’t realize the impact something has on us until we’re invited to take a look. Whatever your process is, be kind to yourself and remember that we can only do the best we can with the information available to us at the time. 

We all deserve to feel good about ourselves and we are all worthy of receiving content that will encourage us to think realistically and highly of ourselves. If you struggle with a negative self-image, please give our office a call so we can create a space to recognize your strengths together. 

-Marissa Ahern, LMSW

In our world today, perfectionism is viewed as positive and fear of failure is frowned upon. Perfectionism is something people often consider more of a strength than a weakness. That constant desire for perfection can become unhealthy and irrational. Longing for a fulfilling life, lacking self-confidence, all-or-nothing, over-thinking, fear of failure, fear of judgement and what people think, significantly high standards, people pleasing, and craving guidance. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, you are far from alone.

As far back as I can remember, I struggled with this compulsive internal desire to be perfect and anything short of that was seen as failure. My perfectionism became intertwined with my sense of self; which is how perfectionist traits can become depleting. As I got older, I viewed my sense of perfectionism as one of my greatest strengths; well, likely because perfectionism is ultimately an illusion and the pursuit of perfection becomes a vicious cycle. Becoming self-aware and changing my mindset of perfection tendencies have been difficult for me and still requires daily effort and practice to increase self-compassion and decrease self-criticism.

I have come to realize that at the same time as we set unreasonable standards for ourselves, social media reinforces unrealistic standards and magnifies the fear of failure. With social media being a large part of our lives and our culture, it is often difficult to avoid. But it is possible to see beyond the illusion of being perfect and begin to change your mind set to become the best version of yourself that you can be. We ultimately get in our own way of living a fulfilling life.

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is necessary to see beyond the illusion and become your best self.  Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?” It’s about creating an environment where imperfection isn’t just accepted but celebrated, because it means we’re human. Changing how you think about yourself is a work in progress. Allowing imperfection to happen and accepting it relieves that extra weight you have been carrying with you. Celebrate imperfections and get out of your own way!

Angela Nigro

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