We live in a world where validation from others is consistent. Instead of forming an opinion of ourselves based on our own sense of worth and value, we look to outsiders in hopes of feeling assured. Social media has created a space where praise and accolades are given and ultimately expected with each individual post and interaction.
One of my favorite quotes by Lindsay Kite reads, “When your empowerment is based on others’ physical appraisal of you, it can be taken away as freely as it was given.” (Lindsay Kite, 2020). Whether it’s Tik Tok, Instagram, or any other form of social media, we often rely on others to define our worth, and we then use it to decipher how capable we are in the real world.
Give yourself permission to set boundaries surrounding social media use and consider how each of the following may encourage you to take back your power:
- Mute or Unfollow- Instead of following pages or individuals who hinder your growth in recovery, you deserve the right to unfollow or mute free of guilt.
- Take time off- If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling, comparing yourself to others, or relying on outsiders to decipher your worth, it may be time for a social media break.
- Post without alterations- Your body is worthy of acceptance without any photoshop or editing.
- Delete comments- You have control over your own page. If someone makes a comment that objectifies you, makes you feel uncomfortable, or discusses your body in any way, you have the power to delete said comment.
- Post without limitation- Challenge yourself to post pictures for your own enjoyment and because you want to savor the memories, not for the recognition of others.
Comparison through social media is harmful and unreliable. We are comparing others’ best moments to what may feel like are our worst. Comparison consists of dwelling on the past or encourages anxiety as we think about the future. With so little time to be present, we begin focusing on others’ lives more than our own. When in recovery, we owe it to ourselves to look beyond comparison and take into consideration how social media is impacting beliefs we have about ourselves and the world around us. As we look inward and differentiate between what is helpful and what is not, we reclaim the power that is often given to others.