Is Social Media Comparison Preventing Self-actualization?
"Until we are able to sufficiently provide answers to these deficiency needs without relying on the safety of conforming to the messages and ideals sent through numerous Social Media platforms, it will be unlikely that we will be able to find happiness within ourselves and reach self-actualization."
In 1943, Abraham Maslow proposed a theory in psychology presented in A Theory of Human Motivation, focused on describing the stage of growth in humans. The hierarchy of needs is generally portrayed in the shape of a pyramid, with the lowest and largest levels of needs at the bottom and the desire for self-actualization at the top. The lower four layers of the pyramid are made up of what Maslow called “deficiency needs”: esteem, love and belonging, security, and physical needs. When these four lower layers are not met, an individual feels especially anxious ridden.
It has become very difficult for people to feel self-realized and content with who they are because the answers are being sought through the (artificial) quick releases of Social Media. The questions and general sense of unknown that tends to cross our days can naturally cause a sense of anxiety, although now the responses we seek are being sourced externally and through the examples set by others, suppressing the hard inner work that is necessary for achieving one's full creative potential.
How many people do you know that have decided to do a "Social Media Detox" and remove themselves from every platform? Why do we allow something that causes us such angst to be a daily part of our lives, without trying to understand why it does and exploring what can be done to reverse the pattern?
How can we use Social Media as a tool that assists in reaching our full potential?
Only follow accounts that make us feel good and encourage growth
Limit Social Media usage and create a window of time each day where it can be used (i.e., allowing 30 minutes a day of Instagram scrolling between the hours of 7 and 8 pm)
Don't post to seek external recognition and obsess over likes and views
Post what feels honest to who you are - don't create second "virtual" reality of the person you are portraying yourself to be
Stop comparing every aspect of yourself to others
Until we are able to sufficiently provide answers to these deficiency needs without relying on the safety of conforming to the messages and ideals sent through numerous Social Media platforms, it will be unlikely that we will be able to find happiness within ourselves and reach self-actualization.