While social media can be seen as somewhere where people can be themselves, it doesn’t mean that this is actually the case. Instead, it can be normal for someone to feel the need to come across in a certain way.
Their experiences online will then be similar to the experiences that they have in the real world. Therefore, even though they are behind a screen, they are still going to experience a lot of pressure.
However, when it comes to how they come across online, they will have far more control than they do offline. Based on this, it could be said that it will be easier for them to come across in a certain way online.
Now, this is not to say that there won’t be people who do express their true-self online, as there are likely to be people who do. And although some of them might not be able to do this in real world, it won’t apply to all of them.
If one is unable to, social media will be somewhere where they can be themselves, and this will then have a positive effect on their life. But if one does feel the need to put on an act online, then it won’t have the same impact.
One can then believe that they are being themselves, but this will be nothing more than an illusion. Yet if one presents themselves in a way that allows them to receive approval, they might not realise what has happened.
Their attention will on what is taking place externally as opposed to what is taking place within them. The kind of responses that they get online could then end up defining how they feel about themselves.
What this shows is that it will be a challenge for them to experience inner stability when they are dependent on the approval of others. If they get the feedback they want, they could be fine, but if they don’t, they could end up hitting rock bottom.
One could then take a step back and see how they are playing a game that they can’t win, or they could simply end up trying to do more. Their emotional state will then continue to be controlled by other people.
When it comes to coming across in the right way, this is something that is likely to apply to how they look. But this is not going to take much effort, as one will be to edit their pictures and to choose what images they upload.
The level of control that they have here is going to be far greater than what they would have in the real world. So even though uploading the right pictures will take time, it could be seen as time well spent.
The Right Look
When it comes to what they believe is the right look, it could be the result of what they think looks right and what other people look like. However, it would inaccurate to say that these two elements are separate, as the former is going to be influenced by the latter.
What this will then emphasise is how they are being influenced by social media, and out of their need to fit in, they feel the need to make sure that their appearance matches up with how other people look. Having said that, it could be sad that this is part of life and not something that is negative per se.
For example, if one was unable to see how other people present themselves, they would find it hard to know what to do. This is because it is through being around others that human beings learn and develop.
One’s environment plays a significant role when it comes to how they present themselves, and the online world can be seen as another environment. But this doesn’t mean that one has to completely copy another person’s appearance, as they can still define how they look.
Other Areas of Life
Having the right appearance could be as far as one will go, but then again, there could be more to it. What this could mean is that one won’t share their own views on their wall or share things that match up with their own outlook.
Instead, they could feel the need to share the kinds of things that they believe other people will agree with. This could also have an effect on the kind of things that they ‘like’ and comment on.
After doing this for a while, they might lose touch with their own views, and the views that they embody could be seen as their own. Once again, their need to fit in will have stopped them for being able to express themselves.
Even so, this will be what they feel comfortable with, and their need to belong will end up taking precedence. One is then no longer an individual who thinks for themselves, they are simply an extension of others, and what is going on in their mind will be no different to what is going on in the minds of others.
Thus, although social media is seen as somewhere there one can express themselves; this is not the complete truth. In many ways, it is simply another area where they can feel the need to ‘go along to get along’.
This is then going to make it harder for them to come up with their own views and ideas in life. Along with this, one could end up giving their support to things that are destructive; whereas if they were able to think for themselves, it would give them the chance to take a step back and to put their energy into the right things.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.