In this age of social media, it can be more difficult than ever to truly get a grasp on what’s real and what’s fiction. We live in an age where there is a constant lens on image. Many of us feel pressured to live up to an ideal or picture that may or may not even exist. As social creatures we seek to fit in and be a part of society; and nowadays that means participating in the portrayal of real time “living”; that is living your life through a filtered lens that the public, at large, participates in.
Now, this is not about social media. This is about how many of us have no idea who we are! At the close of the last year I contemplated as to why so many people seem to be depressed, live recklessly, seem unhappy, etc. This is especially noticeable because many put these things on social media for public consumption. I had a conversation with someone that told me they had a very difficult time disconnecting from social media and was very fearful of spending too much time alone. I have known many who can relate to this. I am a natural introvert (INTJ), therefore I crave alone time in order to refocus and energize. Even as an introvert, I too have moments of loneliness and crave human interaction. I posted an article about a week ago about “I AM ENOUGH”. This has been on my mind quite a bit lately. The significance of this revelation about people feeling inadequate is that it has given me a different perspective or lens through which to understand many of the behaviors that I see that play out, especially via social media platforms.
I have found it interesting, for example, that one social media platform seems to have become equivalent to a free amateur porn/ hook-up site. This, of course, is not a judgement on the activities themselves. I am merely making observations and hypothesis supported by principles within, psychology, philosophy, etc. I believe that many that use social media as a means of searching for validation.
The need for validation is extremely pervasive and is a part of our human make-up. You can read any number of books, articles, studies, ant the like that will point to the human need for validation as a vehicle towards the building of a sense of worth and self-esteem. I mentioned in my previous article that I was blessed to have been raised in a home where I was constantly affirmed and validated. As I have now entered my fourth decade of life it is even more poignant and clear to me how this has made a positive impact upon my life.
The need for validation can lead people to disruptive behaviors, violence, depression, risky behaviors, relationship issues, and the list goes on. This is because the need to be seen, heard, and valued is truly incalculable. For those who did not have positive reinforcement of a sense of value, love, significance, and self-esteem as children often grow up searching outside of themselves for this approval. This is not an article about a way to “cure” this issue. This is simply another human being that is concerned about his human family. The need for us, as fellow humans, to affirm each other is critical. It can be as simple as calling up a friend and saying to them, “Hey, I think you are a wonderful person and I appreciate you. Tell your children how smart, talented, important, and valuable they are. More importantly, tell yourself. Stand in front of that mirror, look at yourself, and smile. There is no other person on this planet like you and it never will be.. You are important! I would also tell you that if the people around you are not affirming you then they are hurting you. You must not only create an internal environment that affirms you, but an external one as well.