Is Social Media Affecting Your Perception of Reality?

Reality check: not everything on your feed is real.

What is perception? Our sensory receptors are constantly collecting information and what we make out of that collected information is based on our value sets, privileges, experiences, what we have had a lack of and various other factors and it is very subjective. Our perceptions are shaped by what we see and consume. 

As an example, someone who is deceived in love will view the world as untrustworthy, meaning that our experiences determine our perceptions and, therefore, our worldviews. What we perceive at any moment is not only determined by sensory input but various other personal factors.

Having said that, perceptions can build limiting beliefs, which is a thought or state of mind that you think is the absolute truth. These beliefs could be about yourself, people, or the world. It can have several negative effects on you and can keep you stuck in a negative state of mind and hinder you from living the life you truly desire. Based on our convictions, we determine our actions. Some of these thinking patterns unnecessarily hold us back from who we want to become.

How Are Limiting Beliefs Formed?

Limiting beliefs are formed based on our previous experiences. If someone has had a bad monsoon experience during a vacation, they will dread monsoon trips in the future, though they will not always have a miserable experience.  

If we see someone smiling on camera, we immediately believe that they are happy. Social media affects our perspective greatly. We see someone with a product, marketing how well it works for them, we blindly believe that it will work, and ignore other behind-the-scenes factors like lighting, camera, editing, filters, and Photoshop. Just seeing what they show, we have made a decision and believe that it works.

Consider another example: we see an influencer on a Maldives vacation with their lover. We perceive their life to be perfect and they are emotionally fulfilled. We don’t look at the backend of their life. Their struggles before and after are unknown to us. We don’t even know If they were upset when they posted that picture. We easily come to a conclusion that ultimately defines how we interact with the world.

Our senses have gathered that information through the pictures, and we make a conclusion based on what happiness is supposed to look like, which is what forms our perception. 

How Does Social Media Affect Perception?

Social media doesn’t play a fair game and can change the way we perceive reality and ourselves. We tend to believe that everything we see on our feed is real, but it isn’t, especially the way people look and their flawless skin; the beach bodies are distorted, and it’s sad that looking at those distorted images we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. On these platforms, users tend to only show the most positive aspects of their lives, giving a false sense of reality.

Filtered or polished portrayals on these platforms can lead to unrealistic expectations about lifestyles, possessions, physical appearances, and relationships.

It affects our thinking, the way we make judgments about our life and, in turn, how we live our life. The real problem is that it distorts our perceptions of reality and causes us to create a false mental model of society.

When we see things through our senses, it determines what we believe; therefore, our senses and our consumption through them are very important in determining what we believe, so our perception is directly related and influenced by what we consume. 

Evaluate Your Conclusions

We are doing so many things to please the world that we don’t know what really makes us happy. We do all these things mindlessly because it’s a trend, it’s cool, and everyone else does it. In essence, we are perceiving information that has been controlled by someone else, which is in itself terrifying. Our lives will be exhausting if we don’t regain control.

Most concerning is the assumption that people we follow on social media are better than us in terms of happiness, love, and money, even if they are our equals in real life. The problem is, we place someone else on a pedestal and think they are superior to us, and we subconsciously give our brain a message that we are lower than them and psychologically put ourselves down and feel like we can’t match them, creating a sense of hopelessness. It gives the brain a message that there is a lack of something in our lives and puts us in a lack mindset.

We tend to base our judgement only on the controlled information that is available to us, while in reality, the whole picture is completely different. Our senses take the one-sided information; thus, we build a perception about an influencer which is not the whole reality. We must consider all facets of a situation before reaching a conclusion, or else our perspective is likely to be biased in a particular direction. Our distorted version of reality can be redefined by seeking therapy to decode those limiting beliefs and find out what it is that we really want. 

Aditi Chandanani is a mental health coach specialising in cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, life coaching, and mindfulness coaching.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of The Gaggler.


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Empowering Self: Unveiling Three Essential Strategies to Overcome Self-Doubt

Empowerment Through Confidence

Self-doubt is a common struggle that many people face. It can hold us back from reaching our full potential and achieving our goals. But what exactly is self-doubt, and how can we overcome it? We will explore the concept of self-doubt and unveil three essential strategies to help you overcome it and empower yourself.

Understanding Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities. It is the inner voice that tells us we are not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough to achieve our goals. It can manifest in different ways, such as fear of failure, imposter syndrome, or constantly seeking validation from others.

Self-doubt can be triggered by past experiences, societal pressures, or our own inner critic. It can hold us back from taking risks, trying new things, or pursuing our passions. However, it is important to remember that self-doubt is a normal part of the human experience and can be overcome with the right strategies.

The Power of Inner Strength

Inner strength is the ability to trust in oneself and one’s abilities. It is the foundation of self-confidence and resilience. When we have inner strength, we are better equipped to face challenges and overcome self-doubt.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Our mindset plays a crucial role in how we perceive ourselves and our abilities. A positive mindset involves having a growth mindset, which means believing that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and learning. It also involves reframing negative thoughts into positive ones and focusing on our strengths rather than our weaknesses. Cultivating a positive mindset takes practice, but it can greatly impact how we view ourselves and our potential.

The Importance of Self-Care

Self-care is often overlooked, but it is essential for building inner strength and maintaining a positive mindset. Self-care involves taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It can include activities such as exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, or engaging in hobbies. When we prioritise self-care, we are better equipped to handle self-doubt and build our inner strength.


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Strategies to Overcome Self-Doubt

Now that we have a better understanding of self-doubt and its impact, let’s explore three essential strategies to help you overcome self-doubt and empower yourself.

Practice Self-Awareness

Building inner strength takes time and effort, but it is a crucial step in overcoming self-doubt. Here are three strategies to help you cultivate inner strength and empower yourself.

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is a crucial first step in overcoming self-doubt because it allows us to identify when self-doubt is present and how it affects us. To practice self-awareness, try journaling or mindfulness exercises. This can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and how they contribute to self-doubt. Once you are aware of your self-doubt triggers, you can work on reframing negative thoughts and building your inner strength.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is important for building confidence and overcoming self-doubt. When we set unrealistic goals, we set ourselves up for failure, which can reinforce self-doubt. Instead, set achievable goals that align with your strengths and values. This will help you build momentum and confidence, which can help you overcome self-doubt in the long run.

Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

The people we surround ourselves with can greatly impact our self-doubt. If you are constantly surrounded by negative influences, it can be challenging to build inner strength and maintain a positive mindset. Instead, surround yourself with positive influences, such as supportive friends and family, mentors, or positive role models. These individuals can provide encouragement and help you stay motivated on your journey to overcoming self-doubt.

Self-doubt is a common feeling that can hold us back from reaching our full potential. However, with the right strategies, we can overcome self-doubt and empower ourselves to achieve our goals. By cultivating inner strength, maintaining a positive mindset, and practising, we can build the confidence and resilience needed to overcome self-doubt. Remember, self-doubt is a normal part of the human experience, and with determination and perseverance, we can overcome it and reach our full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly can I expect to see results when applying these strategies to overcome self-doubt?

Results in overcoming self-doubt vary, but with consistent application of strategies, individuals often experience positive shifts in mindset and confidence within a few weeks. Patience and commitment are key to cultivating lasting self-empowerment.

Can these strategies be applied to different aspects of life, such as work or personal relationships?

The self-empowerment strategies provided are versatile and can be seamlessly applied to various life aspects, fostering confidence, resilience, and positive transformations in both professional and personal realms.

Are there additional resources or practices that complement these essential strategies for a more comprehensive self-empowerment journey?

Supplement your self-empowerment journey with additional resources like self-help books, workshops, and mindfulness practices. Incorporating holistic approaches enhances the effectiveness of the essential strategies, providing a well-rounded path to sustained self-empowerment.


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