On the Pursuit of Perfection: Are Our Social Media Habits Harming Our Self-Worth?

Of course, we want everything we do and create to be Instagram-worthy. But is our aim for perfectionism worth all the effort? Or is it doing us more harm than good?

Is technology pushing perfectionism?

Are we doing too much? Between Instagram and Pinterest – oh, yeah, and our favourite blogs—are we ruining our goals for life balance in the name of perfectionism?

When it comes to our obsessive need to do (and post) everything, it’s not always the technology that allows us to do both that is to blame but rather the way we’re using it, says Dr. Katy Kamkar, a clinical psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Her biggest concern is that people are using DIY technology to the extreme—and at the expense of other things.

“If you’re doing these things to the point where you’re feeling overwhelmed, step back and think about your goals and what you’re trying to achieve,” says Dr. Kamkar. “Ask yourself, ‘Is this really making me more productive or improving my well-being and quality of life?’” Chances are it’s not. In fact, your social media habit could be more detrimental to your health and happiness than you may think—it could even be affecting your sleep.

Who is to blame? Rather, what is to blame?

Blaming technology for our troubles takes the onus off learning to act responsibly, says Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Newport Beach, CA.

Our devices, apps and social media platforms are simply tools, she says, in the same way that hammers are. She recommends doing a tech audit to evaluate why you turn to these tools so often: Is it to be informed? To connect? To relax? To procrastinate? To be motivated or inspired? And how does it make you feel? Happy, energized and calmer or agitated, annoyed and resentful? “Evaluate how you’re using each tool against the criteria that will best support your goals,” says Dr. Rutledge.

And think about balance, too, says Dr. Kristin Buhr, a registered psychologist and director of the North Shore Stress & Anxiety Clinic in North Vancouver. Thanks to all our devices, we’re never really off duty anymore. “There’s never a chance to regroup,” she says. What’s worse, she says, is that we have a horrible tendency to use multiple devices at once. “I’ll be watching TV, my laptop is open, I’m texting with a friend and I feel like I’m getting lots done, but I’m not doing anything mindfully.”

“We’ve lost our sense of balance around technology altogether.”  And we’re living in social isolation.

On that note, learn how social media is making us lonely.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada

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