With the Snapchat filters guarding your extrinsic values, and people sitting across dinner tables checking Facebook rather than having face-to-face conversations, we are living in an increasingly narcissistic society. This aspect of Social Media has compelled individuals to present an unrealistic portrait of themselves.
Narcissism is a term that can be used in a variety of ways — from the throwaway insult to a personality characteristic that seems to suffuse all of a person’s behaviours, to a full-blown personality disorder. A narcissist — puts forward a pathetic display of pompous self-adulation, and possess a highly inflated view of oneself. The essential question here is that: Is Social Media apposing us to Narcissism?
The answer is from a research, conducted in many laboratories is, almost certainly, “yes” — but with lots of caveats! Over the last couple of years, a plethora of research has been pouring in that makes connections between Facebook and narcissism. Studies are consistently finding that people who score higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire tend to have more friends on Facebook, tag themselves more often in photos and update their statuses more frequently. And, this does hold true for other popular platforms as well.
While in general, Social Media platforms encourage Self-promotion, people often utilize it “to look important, look special, and to gain attention and status and self-esteem .” Well, be it selecting more attractive photos of oneself as profile pictures, or populating our Instagram feed with the most captivating bits of our lives, individuals isolate themselves from the true sense of self.
With an overwhelming exigency for grandiose feelings of self- importance, the need for power and admiration, and dwelling on one’s achievements and appearance, individuals are quite often, mistaken with the difference between self-esteem and narcissism, the former one being regarded as a more positive and healthier trait. Not only does the lack of accomplishment and craving for a quick-fame drive an individual towards a narcissistic behaviour, but also it exacerbates the mental health.
Younger generations being easy targets, are exhibiting higher rates of hyperactivity disorders, and the petty reasons like inability to click perfect selfie leading to consternation. While “Friends” bragging about their perfect ‘social’ lives has been a headache for many, cyber-crimes and cyber-stalking have reached unbreachable heights. Studies have also shown how narcissists tend to exert more power and hence, end up involving themselves in vulnerable crimes.
Although social media and narcissism are inter-linked, it surely has served as a string that has woven the world together into a masterpiece. Also, the fact that many Narcissists are successful social media creators can’t be overlooked. They surely have played an important role in building the networks and platforms that have transformed the meaning of life. The question about social media, being the perfect connector or a clear and present danger remains unanswered.
Perhaps, we should rather focus on how we can turn back the dial and use it in a more ‘self-friendly’ way, that endorses compassion, self -esteem and respect. It is the need of the hour to focus on one’s mental well-being. The solution to fostering a less narcissistic generation is to instil a healthy sense of ‘true self- esteem’ amongst individuals, and prioritizing ‘true self–love’ and compassion.
Adore yourself, accept yourself most imperfectly, confide in yourself the deepest fears and insecurities, but don’t indulge in displaying yourself in the most ideal ways; because ‘the most ideal situation’ tends to exist only in figments of one’s imagination. Instead, work on ‘SELF-LOVE’ and not “self — adulation”.
Imbibe in you that confidence which will never fail you, the courage to accept the slightest fault in yourself and the determination to continue on the path. Media publicity can be ephemeral, that this ‘short- time glory’, might yield the worst of results, mentally and socially — and that’s the reason to invest in yourself, to showcase your inner true self, to gain that self-reliance, which might sometimes fail to impress, but will help express you in the best way!
Find out how the generation of today use social media to voice their opinions to the world!