Prioritizing the self in self worth

Despite its virtues, living in a more socially interconnected world has made us more susceptible to basing our self-worth on the opinions of others.

From instantaneous communication to the maintenance of relationships with people a world away, the revolutionary benefits of social media aren’t lost on many. Whether it be through ‘likes’, ‘retweets’ or follower ratios, hierarchy pervades our online presence across social media. Aside from plaguing your profile with privacy-enhancing preferences, there isn’t a way to exist socially online without being subject to such distinct indicators of popularity. 

While beneficial in a business sense, this ranking-based design creates greater divisions between the socially popular and their inferior counterparts. And let’s face it — many of us have marveled at the pages of 

Insta-famous superstars, which sport a myriad of beautiful photos and an inconceivable number of devoted followers. 

But in fostering this ‘more is better’ attitude with regards to virtual popularity, social media has made it easier for us to attach our personal sense of self-worth to the amount of likes and followers we receive online. 

The glorification of online exposure has conditioned us to consider whether or not our posts will generate widespread approval before we share them. While we admittedly should value the honest opinions of our close friends and family, we must also be careful.  We can’t fall into a trap where critical comments, or a lack of virtual likes, have a significant effect on the way we feel about ourselves. 

As cliché as it may sound, being comfortable with who you are — without the approval of others — is a luxury that’s tough to afford in an environment where our lives are increasingly featured online. 

Beyond fostering a dangerous cycle of dependency, linking your self-worth to the opinions of others seriously undermines the value of healthy self-critique and introspective reflection.  As opposed to allowing others’ opinions online to dictate your sense of self-worth, being honest with yourself about both your current self-image and the type of person you aspire to be is a much more worthwhile confidence-building exercise. 

All of this isn’t to say that we should avoid social media altogether. But when navigating this online universe, we need to remember that our self-worth should be determined by honest personal reflection, not the judgments made by others. 

 

Ejaz is one of The Journal’s Copy Editors. He’s a fourth-year Political Studies major. 

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