What Happens When We Stop Seeking Validation on Social Media
In this day and age of social media and the internet, it’s easy to conflate “likes” as the true sign of validation. After all, this need to be validated is innate to who we are as humans. As Melody Wilding, human behavior specialist notes, “Humans share an innate drive to connect with others. We’re evolutionarily wired to crave inclusion.” Social media taps into this innate desire, but has it gone too far?
Due to the increasing connectedness of the world, we’re not only starving for recognition in person, but our biggest happiness and satisfaction now lie in how many followers we have and how many “likes” we get — even when these come from total strangers. It’s as if most undertakings in our lives have turned into opportunities to showcase ourselves so we can feel validated by those around us, but for what?
And it’s easy to see the effect that this is having on how we interact with each other and go about our daily lives. A major problem is how needing all of this social media validation in order to feel satisfied with ourselves negatively impacts our mental health. When we’re so focused on how others are viewing our work or daily routines, we lose sight of who we are as people and what we really care about. Instead, we view every activity or daily routine as simply another opportunity to be seen. At least I can say this was how my life operated before I realized how trivial all of this social media validation-seeking was and started limiting my exposure to it.
So what happens when we stop seeking each other’s approval on social media and instead validate our own work?
I can think of at least four immediate benefits I’ve gained through my own experience:
Nowadays, it’s far too easy to sacrifice our own needs and desires in order to please other people around us. We make every attempt to portray our lives as perfect on social media all the while hiding our true feelings. We’ve all developed FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), because our social media feeds inundate us with happy updates from our “friends”.
But all of these updates are just the superficial side of life. They’re not true representations of who we are, so why do we attribute so…