Col Shiv Choudhary
In this digital age, the way we experience and share our lives, have undergone a profound transformation. The virtual world, once hailed as a platform for connection and sharing, has morphed into a stage where individuals perform their lives in the hope of applause and satisfaction from an unseen audience. This phenomenon, often referred to as “living an artificial life,” raises important questions about the impact of social media on our well-being and one’s authenticity. It seems that the allure of digital validation has turned social media into a dopamine-driven feedback loop.
Today, social media platforms have become virtual arenas where individuals not only showcase their stories but also seek validation in the form of social cues encompassing likes, thumbs up, emojis, approval, acknowledgment, comments and followers. This phenomenon of living a typical life raises intriguing questions about the role of external validation in shaping our online and offline identities. The desire for validation on social media has become a pervasive aspect of modern life. The pursuit of social cues have transformed these platforms into virtual arenas where individuals seek affirmation from their online audience. The paradox lies in the fact that the pursuit of external validation, though driven by a desire for approval, can sometimes lead to feelings of inadequacy and a perpetual sense of comparison. This phenomenon raises important questions about the impact of seeking validation on social media and its potential consequences.
Social cues on social media have evolved beyond mere interactions. They have become a powerful force shaping the narratives of our lives. From compliments to critiques, emojis to elaborate expressions, the comment section is a dynamic space where individuals receive instant feedback on their posts. This constant stream of commentary has turned social media into a digital mirror reflecting our actions, choices, self-worth and spending time.
One of the consequences of the external validation culture is the pressure to maintain a facade of perfection. In the pursuit of social cues, individuals often curate their online personas, presenting an idealized version of their lives. The carefully selected photos, filtered moments, and polished captions contribute to an artificial narrative that may diverge significantly from reality. The desire to transform social media profiles into carefully constructed galleries of success, happiness, and flawlessness, perpetuates the illusion of an ideal life.
The social cues section, once a tool for communication, has transformed into a barometer of acceptance, measuring the success or failure of our online endeavours.This can have a profound impact on our self-image. Positive comments can boost confidence and reinforce a sense of self-worth, while negative comments or the absence of comments may lead to a feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt. Thus this virtual world, once heralded as a space for self-expression, has become an arena where other’s views hold significant weight and influence.
While seeking positive feedback is natural, it’s essential to strike a balance and not let the other’s actions become the sole measure of our worth. Building resilience against negative comments and learning to discern constructive criticism from harmful remarks are crucial skills in navigating the digital landscape. Recognizing that the comment section is just one aspect of the multifaceted online experience can help individuals maintain a healthier relationship with social media. The constant affirmation-seeking behaviour may result in a curated online bubble that shields individuals from dissenting views.
Embracing authenticity in this interactive era requires a shift in mindset. Instead of solely seeking external validation, individuals can focus on genuine self-expression and meaningful connections. The constant culture of seeking validation on social media can be both misleading and perilous trap of comparison which have profound effects on self-worth. The number of favourable social cues on a post can become a measure of one’s popularity, success, or attractiveness, and the lack of it, may influence an individual’s perception of their own value, social acceptability, approval, potentially leading to a fragile sense of self-esteem. The carefully curated highlight reels of others can fuel feelings of dependency and inadequacy, creating a distorted view of one’s own life.
Breaking free from the validation cycle requires a conscious effort to revaluate our relationship with social media. It involves recognizing the limitations of external validation and acknowledging the importance of cultivating a sense of self-worth independent of digital approval. Setting boundaries, taking breaks, and prioritizing real-world connections are essential steps in reclaiming control over our digital experiences. The antidote to the validation chase lies in embracing worthiness. Sharing genuine experiences, unfiltered moments, and acknowledging both successes and struggles can create a more meaningful and authentic online presence. Authenticity fosters a curated perfection.
As the quest for digital validation intensifies, so does the impact on mental health. Studies have linked excessive pursuit of social cues to an increased levels of anxiety, depression, and feelings of inadequacy. Comparison, a natural human tendency, reaches new heights in the digital realm, leading to a constant evaluation of one’s worth based on the social cues received and the perceived success of others. Living an artificial life built on social cues can contribute to a fragile sense of self-esteem and an ever-present fear of not measuring up to the online standards set by peers.
While social media has its merits, the key lies in its mindful use. Instead of succumbing to the pressures of the social cues culture, individuals can choose to engage consciously. Setting boundaries, taking breaks, and prioritizing real-life interactions over virtual ones are essential steps in reclaiming a sense of control over one’s digital presence. By focusing on the quality of connections rather than the quantity, individuals can foster a healthier relationship with social media.
Living an artificial life with external validation is a permanent surrender to the technology. Embracing authenticity using technology becomes the antidote to the pressure of maintaining a perfect online image. Sharing both the highs and lows of life, celebrating imperfections, and cultivating genuine connections can create a more meaningful and fulfilling online experience. Constantly measuring oneself against others in the online sphere can influence personality traits such as competitiveness, envy, and even feelings of inferiority.
The emotional impact of online interactions is significant. Positive interactions can contribute to a sense of happiness and fulfilment, while negative comments or a lack of engagement may lead to stress, anxiety, or even a fear of judgment. Managing these emotional responses becomes integral to maintaining a healthy personality in the digital age. Individuals may find themselves engaging in activities or posting content primarily for the purpose of eliciting emotionally positive reactions. This behaviour can shape personality traits such as extroversion, assertiveness, or even a heightened need for external validation.
Engaging and responding to comments, can influence an individual’s communication skills. The brevity and immediacy of digital communication may impact how individuals express themselves, shaping traits such as clarity, conciseness, and the ability to convey emotions effectively. It also play a role in building online relationships. The way individuals respond to and interact with others’ content can reflect their social skills, empathy, and the ability to connect with a diverse digital audience.
Living a life based on social cues is a by-product of the evolving digital landscape. As we navigate this complex environment, it’s crucial to question the impact of social media on our well-being and the authenticity of our online existence. By recognizing the allure of digital validation, acknowledging its impact on health, and adopting a mindful approach to social media use, individuals can reclaim control over their digital lives. It’s time to break free from the confines of the social cues culture and rediscover the beauty of living authentically.
Watching or meeting people with million followers is a subject for serious studies to assess facts as life through the social cues unleashed by others on social media is a complex dance between outer validity and originality. It’s crucial to recognize the impact of these on our self-image and be mindful. By finding a balance, cultivating resilience, and prioritizing authenticity over constant affirmation, individuals can create a more meaningful and fulfilling online presence. After all, life’s richness and meaningfulness extend beyond any external validation through favourable social cues. The true value of our experiences lies in our personal connection and self-authenticity, independent of external validation. Time to introspect if one truly needs to live a life on external validation.
Col Shiv Choudhary