A few days ago, as I was scrolling through Instagram as one does, I came across a post of a guy sharing how he gifted his mother a car. This is not uncommon, you regularly see many stories of adult kids buying their parents gifts, often as a thank you for being a great parent. However, what made this story stand out to me was that, even though he did something as generous as gifting him mum a car, he downplayed his gesture as not being that great. Why you ask? Because the car he gifted was a Honda Accord. As he put it, “It may not be a Benz or Bentley, but I bought my mum a car”. Did the model of the car matter to his mum? No. Watching the video, you can clearly see her joy at her gift.
That made me think for a moment, she was satisfied with the car, she didn’t care that it wasn’t a luxury vehicle. Shouldn’t that be the goal? When we perform a good deed or gesture for someone, shouldn’t their response to it be the one that matters? Why did he feel he needed to include a disclaimer on his video before he could share it with Social Media? By today’s Social Media standards, is something only worth celebrating or taking pride in if it’s extravagant? Do the “smaller”, everyday accomplishments not matter? (Bear in mind, being able to gift someone a car is not a “small” thing).
In the last few years, Social Media has done a lot of good. It’s allowed us to connect with people around the world, it’s allowed us to give voices to the voiceless and has worked as a tool to share awareness on important issues, it’s changed the business landscape (in both positive and negative ways), it’s launched new industries, I could go on. However, as many of us know, Social Media has also had a tremendous impact on our self esteem and mental health. The comparison nature of Social Media has negatively affected how we view our lives, achievements, goals and even relationships with other people.
Social media has also made it that strangers can judge our lives to determine whether we’re “goals” and often times the standard set for these goals does more harm than good. The saying “go big or go home” is basically today’s social media motto. One does not simply share a picture of $50 pair of shoes they bought when the next person can post a picture of their $500 Yeezys. Just like one cannot take pride in buying their parents a Honda when there are Bentleys and Mercedes for that. The comparison nature of social media has made it that we cannot stop to appreciate the things we accomplish, even the ones we never thought we would be able to. The work, blood, sweat and tears that went into getting that Honda don’t matter because we don’t care about the process, only the result and if the result isn’t extravagant, what was the point?
In conclusion, “Social comparison reduces self-esteem” (LifeHacks, 10 Negative Effects of Social Media That Can Harm Your Life). Social media does cause us to second guess our achievements until the internet judges them worthy.