Prepared by: Ms. R.R. Manjari
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Gleneagles Medini Johor
1. In this day and age, feelings like jealousy, schadenfreude, fear of missing out (FOMO, as the millennials put it) is all too prevalent due to how much time is being spent of social media. How can one consciously stop these feelings from taking over their lives? Is it possible to do so?
Yes, it is very true that these feelings are prevalent and dangerous in our lives. First of all, people should accept the fact that they have such feelings. This is the first step towards overcoming denial and to start working on the problem. They should keep their expectations, individual goals, purpose of life, and responsibilities in check. Once these are realised it would be easy to move on.
2. Even when it comes to travelling, more time is spent trying to get the perfect shot for the most number of likes instead of truly enjoying the moment – is there a term for this behaviour? From a psychological point of view, why do you think certain individuals are too obsessed with the validation they receive online?
Yes, it is indeed validation, which can come in many ways. For some, it is important for them to be validated by certain individuals or a group. This can be received especially via social media, in which the number of likes or comments matter a great deal.
The use of social media can be perceived to be a way of keeping in touch with their loved one, which can be done privately, or shared publicly, which falls under a different motive. The latter can have a negative impact on individuals with low self-esteem and self-confidence. People with high self-confidence are less negatively affected by social media than those whose self-confidence is lacking. By constantly comparing themselves to apparently perfect “lives” online, social media users whose self-confidence is lacking can become more anxious or depressed over what others seem to have and they don’t. That nagging feeling of not being able to measure up will only lead to less self-confidence and an erosion of self-worth. Each log-in can chip away just a bit more of any good feeling a person might have had.
If you find you are impacted negatively by social media – “Why isn’t MY life like that?” – it might be time to re-evaluate what it means to you and how you want to utilise it. It’s not necessary to opt out entirely but to take control of managing it. If you aren’t bothered by others’ perfect pictures, good for you! Just remember, like magazine pictures, it’s only a snapshot of someone’s life.
3. When it comes to expressing one’s self – people are more likely to write a long caption for Mother’s Day/any other celebration (even if the said person isn’t on social media) rather than say these things directly to the person – is this yet another form of seeking validation? How can one analyse what is the reason they seem to be seeking validation for?
Yes, this again is a form of seeking validation. The aforementioned self-confidence and self-esteem of an individual are vital towards the proper growth of an individual. To achieve it, one needs to focus on self-respect. Self-doubt and self-criticism serve only to discourage and demotivate.
There are other factors that can be inwardly reflected on, such as peer influence, peer expectations, trends, role modelling, and the loss of self-identity.
4. Are feelings like jealousy and schadenfreude something ingrained in individuals – meaning it is something tough to overcome/reprogram train of thought? Or are these feelings learn with time when it’s not rectified in its tracks?
Such feelings are ingrained in some, not all. They can be a form of learned behaviour stemming from repeated failures, disappointments, or high expectations.
It falls on the individual whether they realise they have these feelings and if they want to do something about it. This depends on his or her personality and coping mechanism, and can be affected by any past experiences or childhood trauma that is stored subconsciously. If the individual is cognisant of one’s personality, worldview, role, wants, and needs, he or she would be able to get over it.