What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these words? Scented candles? Comfort food? Journaling?
While these are all excellent contributors to your mental health, there is much more to self-love than these. Self-love is having a sense of appreciation for yourself and gearing your actions towards personal growth and development.
Loving yourself can never take a break. Many instances in life require us to be kind to ourselves. Social media is one such place to practice self-love.
Social media has been an entertaining tool to post and share content about yourself. And where the self is involved, self-love follows! With likes and shares being the new currency, determining self-worth might become difficult while navigating through the virtual landscape of social media.
So, it’s important to know the impact that social media has on self-love and how it can be turned into something positive. But, before that, let’s take a closer look at self-love!
What is Self-Love?
Self-love is love for yourself. This includes care, compassion, and kindness towards self.
‘Self-care’ as a concept can be dated back to the 1950s. The term was used to describe the caring acts that mental health patients were encouraged to practice for themselves. In recent times, self-care is practiced by people around the world and recommended by mental health professionals.
Self-care and self-love are often used interchangeably, and while they have common components, they are not the same. Self-care means taking care of your mental and physical health, and self-love is the act of being kind and compassionate to yourself.
A global report on self-love by The Body Shop suggests that we might be facing a ‘Self-Love Crisis.’ On a scale of 0-100, the average global score on the Self-Love Index was 53! This number is certainly motivation enough to pave the path for self-love.
So what does self-love have to do with social media? And what do they have in common? Let’s find out where these two intersect!
Social Media and Self-Love
Social media platforms are an amazing way to share and relate to content that connects us with the world. Content that mostly includes comedy videos, memes, personal stories, and much more. This content can also impact our mental health in ways we sometimes overlook. Even little things and seemingly harmless posts can trigger certain reactions in our minds that can prove to be detrimental to our mental health.
“As many as 81% of teenagers feel more connected to their friends’ lives through social media. Conversely, 26% of teenagers said that social media sites make them feel worse about their own life.”
These contradicting numbers show the two sides of the social media coin!
The silver lining is that these adverse effects can be avoided with some simple steps. Here are a few of them!
1. Toxic Friend? The End!
Is your toxic friend making you feel bad about yourself? Then it might be time to unfollow them.
If you find any person who exudes negative energy, like being unsupportive or providing unproductive criticism, you need to unfollow them. When you pay attention to someone’s behavior, it becomes easier to recognize their toxic patterns.
Did you ever have a friend give you a backhanded compliment? Or do they get angry when you assert your boundaries? Have they told you that your promotion was “just luck”? Maybe they make jokes at your expense to look cooler. If you already pictured your friend’s face, it’s time to hit the red ‘Unfollow’ button because they’re toxic!
2. You’ve Got Time… Away
Even though social media is a great tool for connecting with your friends, it sometimes helps to unplug and take some time for yourself. We can get caught up in the instant gratification and attention on social media and forget to create a meaningful life for ourselves. It’s easy to get caught up in the virtual world and not think about your real life. It happens to the best of us.
An excellent way to create and maintain a balance between your real and virtual lives is to detox from social media. This can mean going out with friends, spending time by yourself, meeting new people, developing new hobbies and interests, and learning new skills. All these could play a huge role in self-development.
3. Reduce Time on Social Media
If you find it challenging to quit social media cold turkey, you could try reducing your time on it. There are different ways for you to do this. You could switch off your notifications on your social media apps, for starters. This is a small step, but it can encourage you not to go straight to the app every time a notification pops up.
Next, you could try keeping your phone away from you or removing the app shortcuts on your phone so it’s slightly harder to reach. Another hack you can try is tracking your time on these apps so you can set a limit and make sure to stay under it. These small steps help you stay away from social media so you can be like Ariana Grande and “focus on me!”
4. No Comparisons
This one might be cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason! When you compare yourself to others, you open yourself up to criticism and judgment. Especially on social media, where most people are only posting their happy moments and highlights, we tend to place that highlight next to our low moments, which negatively affects our mental health.
Comparison can rob us of our self-worth. A simple way to avoid comparing yourself to others is to remember that you have unique traits that no one can replace. This can be accomplished by practicing self-love affirmations. These can be as simple as saying
- I am proud of who I am.
- My body and mind are beautiful.
- I am worthy of love and respect.
No amount of self-love quotes or self-love captions on any social media post can beat self-love affirmations!
5. Watch What You Feed
Much like what you feed yourself, your social media feed is also something you need to be careful about. Observe your social media feed and find out how many accounts and their posts make you feel good about yourself or feel bad about yourself.
You can unfollow the accounts that mostly have a negative impact on you or drain your energy. Many accounts motivate you, promote mental health, positive thinking, body positivity, etc. These are the accounts you’d want to retain in your feed. We’re sure you wouldn’t want to wake up to hate speeches in the morning!
6. Clear Cut Boundaries
Are you often wondering which photos or videos to post online and which ones to avoid? Then we have a tip for you! Set boundaries for the content you post online. Setting up boundaries can help you have a clearer picture of posts that do not need to go online. Boundaries can be challenging to create at first, but they can be a huge step towards loving yourself more once set in place.
You can start by being careful about not revealing personal information on your page, not posting every detail of your day, and not being available online all the time. Similar kinds of ground rules can help you keep your social media page in check and help you to stay grounded. So set your boundaries and be free!
7. Self-Love? Check
Mental health checklist? Check!
Creating a checklist or just a list of all the things you love about yourself can be a great confidence booster. This checklist can be a routine you can incorporate into your morning routine and practice daily. On days when your self-esteem seems a bit down, you can refer to this list to remind yourself of how amazing you are!
You could even add a few of these points to your self-love affirmations. If you need help with the list, here are a few tips!
- Remember to list down non-superficial things, like your achievements, talents, etc.
- However small they may seem to others, your achievements are meant to be big for you. So remember to add all of them!
- Keep this list in the most convenient places for you to grab whenever you need to.
8. Beware of False Advertising
Social media can mislead us into many thought patterns that can be difficult to unlearn. This includes believing everything that we see on social media. People often put up a facade on social media even though it may be far from reality. Additionally, social media platforms can also be a hub for spreading misinformation about sensitive matters.
It’s important to be mindful, in these times, about which parts to believe and which not to believe. Be sure to get your information only from trusted sources and not trust the online posts blindly. Also, be careful not to fall for the fake posts and false advertising.
In the last decade, there have been many advancements concerning mental health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and October 10th is observed as World Mental Health Day. These efforts contribute towards mental health awareness. In turn, the social media realm has also started its journey towards positive habits.
Mental health professionals have also switched to social media to make the audience aware of habits that improve mental health. They have challenged the standard self-love quotes and made way for the real, raw art of loving yourself.
Social media has been one of the best means to communicate, and it has also played a huge role in promoting positivity. It can be a space to accept and better oneself when accessed effectively.
We hope the tips we shared help you on your journey to love yourself. Let us know which one you’ll try in the comments below!