A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Health and Wellness

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Steve Jobs once said “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” The danger of social media is that society wants us to change into something we’re not, and force us to conform to society’s perception of beauty. When we are young and don’t fully know about the world, our spirits are happy. As children, we don’t think or care about how we look until we get older and start to compare our bodies to other people’s. This creates self-doubt. Young women need to be taught that we are perfect because we are on this earth, living and breathing and here to create. We are perfect because we are human. People who start to feel self-doubt and negative effects from social media are developing mental health disorders like body dysmorphia and other mental illnesses like depression. Society has such a negative impact on our lives that all comes from social media, and it’s not right. We need to learn self-love before being on social media, and take that time to really find the things we love.

The point of this is that social media is dangerous to our minds and bodies. We develop insecurities that compel us to change ourselves to what society considers “beautiful.”

Yet, society and social media can’t just let people be who they are. You should be yourself and not waste your life obsessing over other people, because why waste your life on social media all the time? Rather, be yourself and travel the world— physically or virtually. People are wasting their lives hoping and dreaming that they will someday align with society’s false beauty standards. Beauty is not just on the outside, it comes from within. That is why it saddens me that people are wasting their life and not embracing who they are and what they are passionate about.  

There are bigger problems in our world aside from physical beauty, popularity, and social media. If people were to care about others instead of pushing them down to make themselves feel better, we would live in a society that is inherently good and stable, where people are confident and don’t feel that they have to compare themselves to others. According to Alyce Adkins and her article on how social media contributes to body dysmorphia she states that,“Middle school to high school-aged people are more likely battle with problems related to image and self-esteem, At this age, people are conscious of beauty ideals and what is accepted and rejected in societal culture”.  Media that especially targets young people creates a physical norm of beauty, one that media users try to adhere to and embrace. They are made to compare themselves to photoshopped images of models who are thin, pretty, have accomplished unrealistic things, cultured, etc — standards that are unrealistic for people to live up to in order to be liked and fit in.

A study has found that being exposed to judgment at an early age is emotionally damaging and can lead to many mental health and behavioral problems. These problems can cause a lot of issues such as anxiety and depression, which has been linked to the presence of body dysmorphia caused by social media. Dr. Kiera Buchanan, a specialist on BDD, states that, “With issues of body dysmorphia increasing, specialists are including social media literacy programs in the treatment of anorexia and bulimia patients – encouraging them to quit Facebook and Instagram.”

This shows that high rates of people who use social media are likely to develop eating disorders or body dysmorphia.

In conclusion, we as a society need to change the way we perceive “beauty.” Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way, and not everyone has the capacity to recognize that because of our judgmental and competitive social norms. Therefore, we need to teach future generations that while social media is not something to tear people down with through hateful comments or cancel culture, it is not something to idolize either. Social media should be something that encourages people to do something good with their lives, be confident, and help make our world a better place. It’s 2020 and the world is still cruel;, we need to be thinking about how we can heal the world, not about social media and competing with others through followers and likes to make ourselves look better. Do not become one with society, or society will become one with you. It will take over you, your life, and all the values and things you love. Without it, you will know within that you are human and you shall believe in what is right in your heart.