• Erin

Social Media, Self Esteem and Competition

How does social media impact the messages we tell ourselves?

Even if you don't feel like a very competitive person it's completely normal to get sucked into what I like to call the loop. It's a phenomenon that occurs when you think everything is going along pretty smoothly, then you see how fabulous an acquaintance is doing on Instagram and shoot...maybe you're not doing as well as you thought. You completely forget that, in more cases, you are only being presented the shiny things. The best versions of someone's life through pretty photos, no arguments, and few failures. Comparing your beginning to someone's finished product can resulting in a thought loop whispering, "You're not enough."

When you notice that you've been lost in Instagram for hours remind yourself that comparing yourself to someone's after when you are still in the process is dangerous for your mental health. When we spend too much time on social media. When we get too drawn into scrolling through images or stories and we don't feel good afterwards its time to reevaluate how we are using our time.

It's awesome to find others that inspire us, that we respect or want to emulate. Done skillfully it can be empowering and motivating. It becomes unhealthy when we use it as a tool to put ourselves down, rather then to help recognize our own gifts. Our anatomy notices the difference. The thoughts we think activate certain hormone receptors sending out into the body signals that support what we're thinking. We're also tend to engage in something called confirmation bias. This is a way in which we look for things in our environment that will justify the thought, feeling or belief we already have. Our wounds are wanting validation just as much as our other beliefs and feelings do. Immersing ourselves in a habit that increases our negative beliefs can continue to keep us feeling trapped in the web of perfectionism.

If you've been feeling down, behind, like you're missing out on something let's try a little experiment. Schedule a period of time, two weeks perhaps, in which you do not engage in social media. If a complete break is not an option set a timer for 15 minutes in the morning and at night. Not to take a break, but that 30 minutes a day is your social media time for the next two weeks. That's all you get. Before you begin and at the end answer these questions from the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and see if you notice a shift. Take note of ah-ha moments or or revelations you have about your habits, feelings, thoughts or behaviors. Still feeling stuck, want some help seeing and working with blocks, or raising your self esteem? Give me a call to schedule an appointment.

(Please note that this assessment is best done with the guidance of a mental health professional that can support you through making shifts and changes that can improve self-esteem and is not intended to be a replacement for qualified services.)

1. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

2. At times I think I am no good at all.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

3. I feel that I have a number of good qualities.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

4. I am able to do things as well as most other people.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

5. I feel I do not have much to be proud of.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

6. I certainly feel useless at times.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

7. I feel that I'm a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

8. I wish I could have more respect for myself.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

9. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

10. I take a positive attitude toward myself.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree

Scoring: Items 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 are reverse scored. Give “Strongly Disagree” 1 point, “Disagree” 2 points, “Agree” 3 points, and “Strongly Agree” 4 points. Sum scores for all ten items. Keep scores on a continuous scale. Higher scores indicate higher self-esteem.

#selfesteem #socialmedia #comparison #fomo #anxiety


Erin McCloskey provides confidential, client-focused counseling, coaching and therapy services specializing in areas that include, but are not limited to: Women’s Health, Chronic Stress, Life Transitions, Low Motivation, Anxiety, Depression, Relationships, Self Esteem, Spirituality, and Maternal Mental Health including issues in Pregnancy, Prenatal Anxiety, and Postpartum Depression.

Serving: Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark and Greenville, DE as well as Media, Garnet Valley, and Chadds Ford, PA, and their surrounding communities.

Erin McCloskey, M.Ed., LPCMH

3526 Silverside Road, Suite 36

Wilmington, DE 19810


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