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(DAY 156) Navigating Social Media's Impact on Self-Perception

· 3 min read
Gaurav Parashar

In today's digital age, social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter have become an integral part of our lives. They connect us to friends, family, and the wider world, providing a constant stream of information and entertainment. However, behind the façade of connectivity lies a darker truth - the rise of internal mimetic desires and their impact on our self-perception.

Understanding Mimetic Desires: The Human Urge to Imitate

Mimetic desires refer to the innate human tendency to imitate others. These desires are not limited to material possessions or aspirations but extend to every aspect of life, including personality traits, relationships, and achievements. While some degree of imitation is natural for learning and social bonding, the digital age has amplified and distorted these desires.

Mimetic desire is a concept that assigns value to things based on what others want, rather than any objective qualities. Internal models of desire, such as peers, can be measured against for comparison

The Illusion of Perfection: Social Media's Role

Platforms like Instagram and Twitter present a curated version of people's lives, highlighting their best moments, achievements, and possessions. As users, we are bombarded with images and stories that trigger our mimetic desires, leading us to compare our lives with the seemingly perfect lives of others. Despite being conscious of the facade, we find ourselves drawn into a spiral of self-doubt and feeling inadequate.

The value of objects is not objective—it’s subjective. And that subjective value is determined mimetically, based on our relationships with others.

The Erosion of Conscious Awareness

While we might start our social media journey with a clear understanding that people present a selective, often exaggerated version of their lives, over time, this thought gets buried under a flood of seemingly perfect posts. Gradually, we lose sight of reality and become vulnerable to feelings of worthlessness, as our self-perception becomes intertwined with social media's portrayal of perfection.

Shaking Ourselves Out of the Social Media Hangover

To combat the negative impact of social media on our self-perception, it is crucial to develop mindfulness and self-awareness. Mindfulness involves being fully present and aware of our thoughts and emotions without judgment. By cultivating mindfulness, we can observe our mimetic desires as they arise and consciously choose not to succumb to them.

Embracing Authenticity and Real Connections

It's essential to remind ourselves that social media represents a carefully crafted façade. Instead of seeking validation through likes and comments, let's focus on building authentic connections with real friends and loved ones. Engaging in genuine conversations and shared experiences can help us break free from the cycle of comparison and insecurity.

Books to Foster Mindfulness and Overcome Social Media's Lack of Focus

  1. "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle: This transformative book emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment and detaching from external judgments.

  2. "Digital Minimalism" by Cal Newport: A practical guide to reclaiming focus and intention in a hyper-connected world, this book provides valuable insights on reducing social media usage.

  3. "The Attention Revolution" by Alan Wallace: Offering mindfulness practices and techniques, this book helps improve focus and attention in a distracted digital landscape.

In conclusion, the rise of mimetic desires in the age of social media demands a conscious effort to remain mindful and self-aware. By acknowledging the illusion of perfection perpetuated on these platforms, we can liberate ourselves from the negative impact and focus on cultivating authentic connections and a healthier sense of self-worth.