Self-esteem and Media
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Even as a busy mom and therapist, I know a lot about the Kardashians, the Royal Family, and Cardi B. Not that I seek updates of these celebrities but somehow, as though through osmosis, I am up to date on the latest publicized drama. Its like this with so many things in our culture, we just soak up messages whether intentionally or not. And the messages are often complicated. They aren’t simply toxic images of beauty and wealth, which might be easier to turn off, but they are also entertaining and sometimes provide some insights into ourselves or the people around us. We know that exposure to media, especially social media, is associated with increased levels of anxiety, depression, and lowered self-esteem.
But, is there a way to still enjoy the entertaining aspects of social media while maintaining or building upon your own positive sense of self?
I worked with a client who I would describe as stunning, successful, and so smart. She instead would describe herself as dowdy, failing in her career, and destined for a life of loneliness. Together we embarked on some deep trauma work and we also examined her media diet. She watched hours of Real Housewives and Love and Hip Hop and she followed models and influencers on Instagram. She also happened to work in an industry in which the majority of the women did not look like her. So, instead of aiming to reduce her time watching those shows – because, damn, those shows are fun- we increased her intake of some other images. She started to seek out shows and social media with more body and skin tone diversity and to read some feminist articles and books about beauty standards…and she hated it! The articles and books made the problems seem too overwhelming to solve and there was still a “perfect” plus size body according to social media.
In the end what helped her love herself more was healing work from childhood trauma, engaging in more creative activities, meeting people outside of her industry, spin class, and reading more for fun.
As a therapist, I love partnering with my clients to discover what avenue is going to work best for them. There is no one size fits all for how we work towards loving ourselves but it is still possible and worth fighting for if we are able to step outside our comfort zones.
Would you like to explore how therapy can help you? Contact me today.