Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are designed not only to enable but encourage people to provide feedback about content posted by others. This might take the form of a like, a simple thumbs up or down, text, or something more sophisticated like a text or video response.
If you’ve ever posted content online, then you know just how enticing it can be to check how many people have liked what you’ve posted.
Taken too far, checking for social media likes can reach the point of addiction.
Receiving positive feedback can indeed give us a real rush. On the other hand, receiving even one negative comment can feel devastating. When someone is bullied, harassed, or flooded with a constant barrage of negative feedback online, this can have serious consequences, such as depression or even thoughts of or attempts to commit suicide.
The feedback features on social media have been designed to pull us in and trigger deep-seated emotional reactions, and as a result, it can be very hard to escape their pull. Many of us react to them without thinking about it.
In order to help you pause and step back from the kinds of automatic habits that social media feedback can encourage you to develop, I’m going to suggest a variety of positive affirmations that you can practice saying to yourself — either out loud or just in your mind — before, during, or after you engage with social media. This will allow you to break free of the pull of social media feedback and lessen its impact on you.
Here’s a short list of possible affirmations. I don’t suggest using all of them. Instead, try them out and see which ones resonate most with you.
- It is normal and understandable for me to desire positive feedback on content that I post online. We are all social creatures and feel good when we receive praise from others.
- It is normal and understandable for me to feel hurt by criticism that I receive online. We are all social creatures and the criticism of others can sting, particularly when it touches on our vulnerabilities.
- I am good person, independent of any praise or criticism I receive online. My goodness is inherent in me and does not change regardless of what people say about me online.
- When I receive praise online, I commit to letting myself feel the positive feelings that come from receiving that praise while simultaneously knowing that I am not dependent on that praise for my sense of self-worth.
- When I receive criticism online, I commit to letting myself feel the negative feelings that come from receiving that criticism while simultaneously knowing that my sense of self-worth is independent of that criticism.
- Just as all good things can become unhealthy when pursued in excess, I commit to interacting with online feedback about myself only in moderation — whether that feedback is positive or negative.
- Whenever I read feedback about myself online — whether positive or negative — I acknowledge that the person who posted the feedback is acting out of their own motives. Their speech is solely their opinion. I commit to receiving their feedback with this in mind in order to help me not identify myself with it.
- Receiving social media feedback presents an opportunity for me to learn from whatever grain of truth may be contained in the feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. I will use my own wisdom to determine what truth — if any — the feedback contains.
Once you’ve picked one or more of these affirmations that you find helpful, I suggest reading them before you interact with any feedback about yourself online. Also, I would suggest setting aside some fixed time to interact with that feedback rather than just constantly checking it. After you’re done, read the affirmations again. You may want to have them printed on a piece of paper or saved on your phone so you can easily read them before and after you interact with online feedback.
I hope that this can help lessen the impact of the feedback — particularly the negative feedback — on you and allow you to take some distance from it. Over time, it may even decrease that craving you have to affirmatively seek out feedback. Instead, you can engage with it in a more moderate way.