How many times have you scrolled through your newsfeed in the past few hours?
If you’re like most guys, then you’ve probably already checked your Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat multiple times today.
Social media has quickly become a central part of our lives. Without it, keeping in touch with friends and family members would be a lot more challenging.
Unfortunately for most of us, that’s not the only reason we use it…
In this article, you’ll learn 5 common ways that social media hurts your self-confidence, magnifies your insecurities, and increases your anxiety on a daily basis.
#1: Thirst for Validation
Imagine this: you open your phone and post a photo to Instagram.
Think about what happens next…
Do you continue your day as normal? Or do you sit around waiting to hear your phone vibrate with a new notification? Be honest with yourself.
The harsh truth is that most of us are just looking for validation. We just want a bunch of people to “like” our post. It makes us feel important. It makes us feel popular.
You love hearing that notification come in. You love getting other people’s attention. You love the feeling of approval that comes with each and every “like” your new post receives.
This is natural. It’s simple human nature. The problem is that social media allows you to “indulge” this instinct with incredible ease. And then you get addicted. You “need” to feel this validation every so often to feel good about yourself…
You begin to rely on “likes” in order to be confident.
Read More: How to Stop Giving a Fuck (and Stop Seeking Approval)
#2: Pedestalization of Women
The same way that men use social media to get validation, women do too.
This means there are hordes of women out there who are always trying to post photos that will get them the most “likes” possible.
And let’s be honest here: there’s a lot of extremely attractive women engaging in this behavior. It’s easy to open up Instagram and waste an hour of your time staring at hot fitness chicks who turn you on.
After you browse through a certain amount of these images, something interesting happens: You begin to place attractive women on a “pedestal”.
It’s shockingly similar to the negative effects of porn addiction. They’re not naked – and they’re not having sex – but you’re still browsing through hundreds of carefully curated and meticulously edited photos.
Rather than seeing women as real humans to interact with, you begin to see them as pixels on a screen… for your viewing pleasure only… but never to actually talk to or date.
No, because you don’t feel “good enough” for them now.
Read More: Porn Addiction Side Effects and How to Quit Porn
#3: Pedestalization of Other Men
Do you follow your favorite athletes, movie stars, or entrepreneurs on social media?
Whether it’s Dan Blizerian playing poker with a bunch of naked chicks – or Tai Lopez talking about his new Lamborghini – these images can have a deep impact on your self-esteem.
When you see extremely successful men, you can’t help but compare yourself.
All the six-pack abs, bikini babes, and private jets can fuck with your head. They can make you feel like a complete and utter failure. And they can make you feel angry or jealous towards these men.
This can cripple your confidence faster than you realize.
You start to paint a picture in your head of what you “need” in order to be successful: If you don’t have a private jet… if you don’t have 3 smoking hot girls on each arm… if you don’t have a shredded body… then you aren’t “enough”.
This is all bullshit, of course. But social media can trick you into believing it.
Read More: How to Get Respect (5 Steps to Become a True Leader)
*open phone*check Facebook*check Instagram*check Snapchat*close phone*
Does that sound familiar?
When you’re bored, or nervous, checking your phone gives you something to do.
But if you’re constantly browsing through photos, sending messages, or thinking about what to post next, you can never truly be engaged with what you’re doing.
Your mind will always be wandering. You’ll never be able to hang out with friends, watch a movie, or go on a date without stressing about checking your phone…
And this will prevent you from being a confident, grounded man.
Confidence comes with an absence of conscious thought. Confidence comes when you engage fully with what you’re doing and act without thinking or second-guessing yourself.
But, if you’re addicted to social media, then it will be nearly impossible to achieve a fully confident, present state of mind. You will always have that “urge” to see the latest updates.
Read More: How to Build Confidence Through Meditation
Answer me this: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Be honest bro… do you open your phone and check Facebook? Or do you have a morning routine to keep yourself focused and motivated?
Most guys start on the wrong foot. Most guys get caught in the newsfeed scroll from the moment they open their eyes.
Your first few moments of the day dictate your energy levels and productivity for the rest of the day. If you start with a cold shower, some meditation, and reviewing your main tasks for the day, you’ll be well on your way to crushing it and taking massive action…
But if you start by spending 20 minutes in bed, staring at your phone? You’re already doomed. You’re going to feel exhausted just getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom.
Laziness breeds more laziness. And action breeds more action.
Getting in the habit of constantly checking your social media updates can only breed laziness. And this can only distract you from getting shit done and achieving your goals.
Read More: A Simple Morning Routine for Success and Motivation
How to Take Back Your Self-Confidence
Look – I’m not telling you to delete your all your social media accounts…
As I said, they are a central part of our culture. And there are many benefits to using them to network with other people.
However, you must be aware of their potential downside. You must be aware of their ability to cripple your self-confidence. That’s why I wanted to conclude this article with some concrete steps you can take to overcome the negative side effects of social media:
- Try and catch yourself mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed or browsing photos
- When you catch yourself, don’t beat yourself up, just move on and do something else
- Choose 2 specific times per day to log on and scroll through your newsfeed
- Don’t look at social media outside of these times
- Disable push notifications on your phone (this will help A LOT)
These steps will help prevent you from becoming addicted to validation, putting other people on a pedestal, and ruining your ability to stay focused and present.
This way, you can maintain your social media activity and enjoy the benefits, without sacrificing your self-esteem in the process.
And if you are going to use social media, at least make sure you’re following me on Facebook and Instagram 🙂
Solid advice right there. I shut my Facebook account four years ago and although the initial time afterwards felt a bit weird, it opened up a lot more space and time for real life – an infinitely superior way. Even though I have spent those last four years travelling the world, I keep in contact with friends and family using skype and whatsapp. They appreciate actually speaking together much more than a few ‘likes’ on their photos.
Out of curiosity, I returned to my FB recently and all I saw was a stream of garbage ‘political’ ideas and retarded, time-wasting viewpoints. I haven’t logged on since and haven’t regretted it for a moment.
Yeah man, Facebook has been political videos all year long. And props to you for stepping away, I definitely can see how that would open up more time and mental energy to do things that really matter to you.
Same here. Deleted FB around 1 year ago and never regret a second of it. It was a great decision.
It free’s up so much time and prevents you from the “information overload” about BS topics. This saves mental energy that you can invest in things that really matter.
If people really need to contact you, they can always do so through other mediums or meet in “real life.”
Stefan, good point about information overload. I can’t count how many times I start reading an article or watching a video about something I don’t even care about, all because it showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook.
Quit Instagram due to all the bullshit that people would post. Still use snapchat and twitter though because I feel like they are more “truthful” and direct as opposed to the fake, filtered, bullshit that is Instagram. Still follow Dan Bilzerian on snapchat though because I use him a motivation for what I do and don’t want out of life.
Yeah, I feel like choosing 1-2 that appeal to you is also key. No way to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram AND Snapchat without suffering the negative side effects.
I can see how the pedestalization can be an issue for some
However, the “motivation robber” part bothers me.
If you see good looking , muscular, successful men, it should motivate you to aim for, work towards and achieve the same. not cry like a loser or get depressed.
regarding this “You start to paint a picture in your head of what you “need” in order to be successful: If you don’t have a private jet… if you don’t have 3 smoking hot girls on each arm… if you don’t have a shredded body… then you aren’t “enough”.”
This is no different than fat acceptance. It’s like trying to fell a fat, ugly guy that he’s fine and he isn’t fat even though you and everyone else knows he is fat.
That statement is something a mother would tell her ugly fat son to try to make himself feel better about himself.
The reality is, if you aren’t shredded and aren’t wealthy, you ARE a loser. How do you solve the problem? You become shredded and wealthy, you work towards those things as hard as you can.
You are trying to encourage complacency and trying to encourage people to remain in their same, depressed cycles where they do nothing. I wonder why, do you want people to remain depressed and remain losers so they keep coming back to you to buy your products and follow you?
The truth is, if you aren’t shredded and rich, you ARE a loser. the truth hurts most people. If you’re a man you can swallow your feelings and accept that you’re a loser that needs to work on himself, instead of looking for someone to comfort you and tell you that you look fine even when you know you don’t.
Hey Oscar, I see where you’re coming from but I couldn’t disagree more. You need to strive to improve ALL WHILE accepting your current reality.
Otherwise you will be acting from a place of weakness and insecurity. You will feel like shit about yourself, and this will cripple your self-esteem . Not to mention, this mindset will cultivate weakness and insecurity at EVERY step of your progress. Even when you make progress, you will have conditioned yourself to feel like shit until you make even more progress… it’s a never-ending cycle.
This is unsustainable. It’s far superior to be grateful for what you have AND STILL strive to make progress.
Thank you, a solid article. I confess, I am addicted but I’ve been trying to set up a perfect morning routine and it has been a hit and miss, but cold showers, a little bit of introspection (meditation) does help.
Thanks Dennis. For me, starting my day with cold showers and just writing out my main tasks for the day (and NOT checking my phone) has made a crazy difference in my productivity for the whole day.
Thank you again David for the concrete advice and for helping to raise awareness for guys of what is becoming a major issue.
Thanks Keiran, I appreciate your support brother!
Spot on. Couldn’t agree more.
Adding onto your point about motivation.
Social media is basically junk food for your brain. Meaning it makes you feel ‘full’ and accomplished but you haven’t done jack.
In the real world you only release dopamine when you accomplish goals, but social media circumvents this process and feeds you dopamine every time you look at a hot girl or get a notification.
Thing is you only have a certain amount of dopamine you can release everyday so when you waste it all on social media…you don’t want to spend time on activities that’ll make real progress in your life.
Great post detailing the dangers of social media. Not enough people treat it with moderation like they should.
Talk about an eye opener. I have been using the excuse that social media early in the morning is my wake me up routine. But I should know better. There are plenty of better ways to get ready for the day
Yea man, I strongly recommend giving cold showers a try. Swiping open that phone is always very tempting.
I didn’t grow up with social media in my youth so I am somewhat disconnected from all this. FB is to keep up with my favorite bands and for workout and cooking ideas. As for Instagram it is to keep up with my yoga studio and some of my regular instructors. Okay I am guilty somewhat since I still keep a girl I had a crush on and dated for a brief period on my Instagram feed. Soon I will have to delete that since it is time to let her go since she moved across the country. I have a smartphone but doesn’t have internet access so that keeps me away from this constant need to know and be updated. It happened for a short while to be connected all the time and I felt so mentally and emotionally drained. Just take that social media needle out to that arm.
Good point James. It is draining. Striking a balance where you get practical value without becoming addicted is a real challenge.
This is what I have painfully learned even for a short while if the tech does not improve, enhance and evolve your life it does not belong. Or at the very least the tech helps you make some filthy lucre. Personally we should surround ourselves with experiences that challenge us mentally/physically thus we become our best selves. In most cases all this social media nonsense do more to hold us back than to move us forward.
You’ve made some really great points. Totally agree with you on the validation seeking. It’s really sad that all these young people have fallen into this trap.
I wouldn’t say this problem is limited to just young people. Anyway who regularly check their social media is suspect (granted, this is MOSTLY younger peeps).