DISTANCING FROM DIGITAL VALIDATION: A STEP TOWARDS MENTAL HYGIENE
It is 8 o'clock in the evening and Alicia is about to dine. It has been a weirdly hectic day for her as she tells her Mum that she had had so many assignments to complete which in turn led to not surfing on Instagram the whole day.
Her mum is glad to see her daughter prioritizing her work but is speechless to know her remorse behind not checking Instagram. A platform that is not only artificial but filled with fake enthusiasm & negativity as well.
After a while, her mum is talking about her day at the dining table while Alicia serves everyone. She uses the opportunity of her mum being engrossed & quickly takes out her phone to click a snap of the delicious spread.
Now, we all know that we cannot really get away with this sly move, especially with our mothers, can we?
Her mum has a frown on her face followed by an expression of helplessness. Alicia puts down the phone & eats her meal quietly. Later, when it is time to go to bed; her mum finds Alicia still awake and on her phone. As a responsible parent, she thinks that now is the right time to talk to her daughter. Alicia, upon seeing her mother, tosses the phone away to pretend that she wasn't occupied uploading the pictures she had clicked some time before. Her mum notices that but doesn't say anything. Instead, she goes to her & sits with her on the bed. She asks her daughter to be honest about her screen time. Alicia obeys dutifully. She states that she was uploading a picture and seeing who had liked and commented on it. The common reason why so many people, especially teenagers, seek validation on social media is that it gives them high importance from one click, and many times, it is also due to peer pressure.
Thus, her mum asks her a very practical question, “How does it make you feel when you receive compliments vs when you don't on social media?”
Alicia responds as any teenager or for that matter, any person excessively engaging in social media would. She says that she feels valuable when someone praises her, whereas, it is de-motivating when people behave in an indifferent and negative manner.
Now, this kind of practice that has become Alicia’s routine surely causes an impact on the person who is excessively active on social media. The grave repercussions then occur on their mental well-being. Seeking validation from peers results in heightened levels of anxiety when one doesn't get the kind of reaction they are expecting. It is only obvious that they will struggle in upping their self-esteem after that. We all know people who have started questioning their appearances just on the basis of what their so-called followers say on social media. Alicia’s mum acts on Alicia’s reply because it clearly sums up the term “social media validation” and how detrimental it is.
Validating someone is to testify to them or back them up while implying that they have done well. It sure acts as a push. It acts as a great motivator when done in person.
I recently happened to read that it has been medically proven that face to face interaction not only makes you calmer and gives you a balanced state of mind, but it also makes you a happier person. Alicia’s mum, while explaining social media validation to Alicia, mentions the change that has taken place in her daughter. She remarks that Alicia, while speaking about her friends does not think of the help they have provided to her during her tough times, rather, has been judging them for not commenting under her posts. This is not the validation that one should crave for. This is not the bar that should be set for any friendship or relationship. There are various posts on Instagram that say, “I am enough.” The sad reality is that even those who upload such posts, fish for compliments on the post. I mean, how ironic is that!? Before you completely get invested into this rigmarole of social media, now is the time to pull yourself back to the real world. The need to increase self-confidence, the urge to grow your self-esteem is NOW. You should validate yourself before you let anyone else do it for you. Validating yourself first will ensure that you are aware of your strengths & frailties. It will help you have clarity of thoughts in your mind. Because expecting real things should be the new normal.
One should understand that appearances are just appearances. Don't wrap your head around what other people think of how you look & how you walk! Know yourself & know the reasons why you do something. Let those reasons be of self-help rather than self-deprecation! Having said that, we are all humans and we will seek validation. But it is up to us to decide or restrict the platform we want to do so.
Let’s not be overly demanding of our community. Let’s be humble and know when to sign out.
Written by - Arya Diwaker
Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Don't hesitate to take a step towards your mental well-being. If you’re looking at talking to a professional, book your Initial Consultation with us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a step towards bettering your mental wellbeing because you deserve it!