Setting Online Boundaries: Creating Self-Compassion

The internet provides opportunities for growth, connectedness, love, and joy. Unfortunately, the good of the internet can sometimes be outweighed by the frustrations and hurt present online and the effects statements and pictures play on your self-esteem and sense of values. 

We often think of online bullying as something that teens and children experience. However, online bullying extends into adulthood, not only from other people but from your sense of who you are compared to what you see or feel you are expected to be. Online groups and social media impact you in many ways. Setting boundaries is critical to your well-being and allowing yourself to live according to your values.

Dangers of Social Media

The dangers of social media are varied and can include bullying and comparisons. You do not need to fall into any of these traps or dangers. Maintaining your mental health while still using social media requires well-established boundaries. There are other dangers of which you can speak to a coach or therapist for help in coping. 

Online Bullying Is Experienced by All

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains that 15.7% of high school students experienced cyberbullying over the past year. This statistic does not include what happens to young adults. Bullying is unacceptable at any age, and learning how to respect yourself enough to understand when behaviors are not acceptable by you or respective of your basic human rights is critical to setting boundaries for your well-being. You have the right to engage with others on social media without fear. 

Cyberbullying is about more than appearance and achievements. Bullying can also be about your values and your character. No matter the issue, bullying is unacceptable, and you have the right and responsibility to your well-being and the well-being of others to report and set boundaries.

The Comparison Trap

While social media is excellent for keeping in touch with friends, there is an issue of setting yourself up for low self-esteem and feeling unhappy with where you are in life. This can be referred to as the comparison trap. Constantly comparing yourself to the pictures and videos you see on social media can be disheartening if you are not where you want to be in your life. Remember: You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Your learning and experience curves are not like anyone else’s. 

Another thing to remember is how many people on social media are not entirely honest about their experiences and may believe they are better than everyone else. When you look at others’ profiles and posts, recognize they are also playing into the comparison trap. Comparing yourself to others’ online presence is like looking into a faulty mirror and not seeing what’s there. 

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is necessary not only in our in-person lives but also in our online experiences. In-person interactions can sometimes leave us feeling drained, especially when ridicule and pressure are present. You may think nothing of setting boundaries in those situations. You do not hesitate to speak up for yourself or avoid those situations if possible. 

Setting boundaries online is just as necessary as it is in-person. Why? Because online interactions can wreak havoc on your sense of well-being. You do not need to be bullied or feel less than any other person because of online experiences. Social media is a faulty mirror, and the comparison trap is real.

What Does Setting Boundaries Look Like?

Setting boundaries online is very similar to setting boundaries in person. Avoiding conversations and interactions with people who are bullying you or making you feel as though you are not good enough is the method many people use. What does it look like when in an online setting? Setting boundaries looks like unfollowing, blocking, avoiding news feeds, and sometimes taking a break from social media.

Being glued to your phone is typical in this era, but comparing yourself to others and being defined by what social media says is unhealthy and can lead to low self-esteem and a lack of positive emotions. Allowing yourself to take a break from your phone and social media could be the best thing for your sense of well-being.

Despite what social media says, learning how to love yourself takes time and effort. Overcoming the thoughts and behavior patterns social media declares necessary means taking a stand for your values. Taking a stand can mean saying no, arguing your point of view, or even ignoring or blocking the conversation feed.

There is enough negativity in our face-to-face world to allow ourselves to fall prey to the negativity online. You are an amazing person whose personality, achievements, and values are just as important as anyone else’s. Do not fall into the trap of online bullying or comparison. If you find your well-being has been affected, ask for help.

Setting boundaries, whether in-person or online, can seem overwhelming. In-person boundaries seem easier, as you can avoid the person or feel more comfortable standing up for yourself. Online bullying and harassment can seem more challenging to overcome. However, setting boundaries online is necessary for your mental health and well-being. Asking for help coping with the negative effects of online pressures is essential. Setting boundaries for yourself and your online experiences and managing your relationships online may help sustain your self-esteem and sense of empowerment. If you or someone you know is experiencing low self-esteem or feelings of disempowerment from online experiences, you can ask for help. At SokyaHealth, we provide various services to help you cope with problems of well-being. We offer medication management, therapy, coaching, and a wide variety of self-care resources. We know you deserve the best care. Contact SokyaHealth at (877) 840-6956 and learn how we can help you be your best.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

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