How Social Media Manipulates You
Written by: Seada
As you awaken to a new day, you reach over to your bedside table to grab your phone, checking for the latest text messages and emails, and browsing your social media account(s). While perusing Instagram, you notice a friend is on a new trip and they are posting grand and luxurious filtered photos and videos. You begin to feel a bit envious, wondering how you will afford your next vacation. Never mind, you say, and you continue to scroll Instagram to find the latest weight loss transformation. You pick yourself up off the comfortable bed and excitedly walk over to the mirror to flex your biceps. But then you pinch your waistline and unintentionally deciding to avoid your next meal. Without too much afterthought, you return to your comfortable bed. Now you find your ex is in a new relationship with a gorgeous, tall, slim brunette. It hits you like a ton of bricks.
The power of social media is magnificent; it manipulates your thoughts and actions one browsing session at a time.
Comparisons are expected. We compare everything, day in day and out. The universe pulls our energy poles from high to low. Without awareness of this rise and fall, we dive right for the comparisons. Negative comparisons will eventually erode your internal dialogue.
“I am so ugly; look at her beautiful hair! Mine is short, blunt, and has no personality.”
He presents as lively, fun, and enthusiastic in relationships–but I don’t.”
This is an example of demon dialogue. At first glance, it appears harmless, but after a period of time using negative dialogue, you will fall into the traps of low self-esteem and neediness.
Once the demon dialogues have entered our minds, they drastically change our perspectives from what we knew as our ‘good’ characteristics, and they transform our confidence into chaos. No longer do you feel self-assured, confident, or beautiful; instead, you delve into a world of irrational beliefs.
“Money can’t buy you happiness.” Remember the friend who showcased her vacation on Instagram? What if you knew her deep secrets? If you knew she was a woman sunken under heavy loads of debt, battling depression and low self-esteem, who required ‘likes’ to feel worthy, would you still feel envious? I doubt it. Our perspective would change, as would our thoughts about the images. We would begin to feel empathetic for her struggle while encouraging her to enjoy her vacation.
This is a fun word (kidding!). Anxiety is the most powerful dose of venom because it stems from fear of the ‘unknown.’ Your mind conjures up the worst-case scenarios and somehow convinces you that irrational beliefs are justifiable. Anxiety is insane, uncontrolled, and manipulative. Social media influences anxiety without precaution or parental advisory. Ask yourself: Are you following particular pages for feelings of motivation or for self-defeating reasons?
Why do people get angry? Some say it’s genetics, others say it’s a defense mechanism used to protect oneself from threat, or at least perceived threat. I would argue that anger is a learned behavior. While social media depicts practically everything in the best way possible, some content is highly sensitive,thus provoking emotions like anger. Anger masks our vulnerabilities; it protects us in times of distress. But we misunderstand the correct use of anger. It should be used against injustice, but for anything outside of this, anger is just an insecure way to resolve conflict.
Social media offers a wide array of benefits, but without proper use and care, it can be our biggest enemy. By inserting self-control and awareness of our triggers into our daily mindset, we can prevent manipulation and get the most out of social media.