How to Overcome Valentine’s Day Social Media Pressure
By: Tajiya Holland
Social media platforms’ greatest benefits are providing access and connection to people globally. Although they are part of our daily lives, usage can be harmful regarding mental health. Social comparison is a form of sociological self-esteem. It’s when we obtain our sense of self by comparing ourselves to other people. The problem is that social media, for most people, is a highlight reel (the best-looking moments of their life). Not many people post their bad days and hard times. Therefore comparing your behavior or status to unrealistic benchmarks can lead to low self-esteem.
When Valentine’s day comes, we anticipate the content that pops up on our feed and timelines. The jewelry advertisements, the chocolate campaigns, and the endless scroll of photos of flowers, red, and couples are to name a few. Valentine’s day is a celebration of love which is a positive thing, so how does social media negatively affect the occasion?
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, social media can add a bit of pressure or stress to the whole experience.
Seeing someone display their affection to another, paired with a smile over and over again, can feel like the whole world is screaming a “you’re alone” reminder. Many can feel a sense of loneliness on this day. These images can also create the question, “why aren’t we this happy?” if they don’t appear the same as the viewers’ relationship. If you celebrated with someone in past years, but they are no longer present in your life, it can be a reminder of painful loss, an ugly breakup, romantic failures, or divorce. The holiday can also heighten the effects of seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D).
There’s the potential of high expectations for Valentine’s day, which can pertain to reservations, outfits, and gifts. Hundreds of picture-perfect moments, gift exchanges, and proposals get posted and viewed. There’s an urgency to make everything perfect for a significant other. With this mindset, expensive affairs can play a part in the added stress.
It is normal to want to be in a different or better situation, yet it’s important to keep perspective. If Valentine’s day takes a toll on you mentally and emotionally, you could skip the holiday altogether and treat it like any other day. Though, you may want to stay off of social media apps. Avoid the love triggers and watch a comedy or a thriller rather than a romance movie. If you’re celebrating alone, remember many people are going through and feeling similar things. Find people you love! Celebrate your female friendships on Galentine’s day, plan a dinner with other single friends, or a day out exploring with family members. Brighten someone else’s day with a custom gift basket or quality time, whether it’d be a friend that lost their significant other or a neighbor who lives alone. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you’re arranging the plans; the quality time together will mean much more than the material items.
Valentine’s day doesn’t need to play out the stereotypical sad single vs. the happily taken. Many say that “love is in the air” and it is. Be kind to yourself whether you choose to spend the day with yourself, your friends, or your loved ones. There’s no need to compare yourself to the showcases portrayed on social media. You don’t know the whole truth behind the images you see. Whether that truth is good or bad, there is something particular in your life worth having love for and celebrating.