Our individual judgement on our own self-image becomes increasingly relevant in our lives as we age. When progressing through our development we try to achieve the goal of Self-Actualization. Once achieving this mentality a person realizes that they are satisfied completely with their current physical being or the environment that surrounds them. In the book The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf, the idea of creating an image for oneself and ignoring stereotypes that may challenge a person later on in their life is discussed. Self-Actualization helps us form a person that not only the public can be proud to be seen with but also a person that we as individuals can be proud of being.
With the increase of the use of social media in the youth of the world today, many under-developed young adults find themselves losing grasp on who they see themselves as. This is due to the pressure to maintain a certain “social image” in front of friends and peers. As mass media increases these trends begin to spread throughout social media and television leading to the kids of today being exposed to peer pressure and other trends that are spread peer to peer. This causes children to lose the ability to form their own “Self-Actualization” to help find who they are to themselves. This is due to many people worrying more about who others see them as instead of who they see themselves as. This begins the destruction of self-actualization from one generation to another, continuing the deterioration of not only, security in oneself, but also the ability to find who one wants to be in their own mind. This decides how future generations not only present themselves in public but also see themselves in their private lives. This problem in itself due to the social disorders that can stem from “fixing” one’s image to be more accepted in the eyes of society. When constantly changing who people see themselves as they cannot only deteriorate the number of friendships they have but also decline the number of new friends they can make.
In an article on the APP Gateway website from the American Academy of Pediatrics about pediatric social-media use states “According to a recent poll, 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day. Seventy-five percent of teenagers now own cell phones, and 25% use them for social media, 54% use them for texting, and 24% use them for instant messaging. Thus, a large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cell phones.”(Source B), This statement shows the disturbing statistics of the relevance of social media in the lives of the youth. The large amount of time that kids and young adults spend on their devices allows the input of others and of social trends around the world to interact with the individual viewing them on a more personal level. This personal interaction allows the opinions of others the effect a person tenfold, leading to the increasing likelihood that a person will conform to please the opinions of others. In source B when speaking of children and their use of social media it is also stated “Because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media.”, This shows the increased likelihood for kids to alter their personas and attitudes depending on the opinions of others.
Public shaming and stereotypes are a consistent problem for that many people face in today’s society and that others have faced for centuries. This issue, which often leads to the mental and emotional break down of an individual, is an ongoing problem among young adults today. These stereotypes stem from the image myths that surround men and women today. In The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf, it states “The model fantasy is probably the most widespread contemporary dream shared by young women from all backgrounds…”, This is due to the increasing pressure on young women by one another to “be flawless” like celebrities they see on mass media. This leads to an extensive increase in the bullying of those who don’t change their style to match the images they see on social media. As it is seen more and more regular to conform with the “trends of today” many people feel the pressure to keep up with others; leading to the fear of failure. This leaves many people struggling to find their public image because the hesitation that comes along with the fear of making the wrong social choices.
Many people lose the ability to see who they are in reality due to their constant forming of their “image”. In source C it states “Some believe that a person’s self-image is defined by events that affect him or her (doing well or not in school, work, or relationships.)”, This shows how not only social media but also social interaction in general can harm a person. With the increase in the spread of social media among today’s teens and young adults many people fear that their insecurities will be more visible to outsiders. Source D states “The effects of low self-esteem can leave you feeling pretty down.”, this shows how a person without strong self-actualization is missing the necessary protection from the grasp of social judgement.
In the image shown in source E it is shown that self-actualization is the biggest requirement for a “successful being”. Actualizing the self is the greatest way to find who one is and who one is meant to be. Source F shows the lack of self-actualization in teens by showing the most common body image perceptions that teens have about themselves. These things include things as 81% of 10 year olds being scared of being considered overweight. This shows the disturbing reality that surrounds our youth of today.
Without self-actualization teens and young adults today are missing a critical strategy when it comes to maintaining their self-esteem in the face of constant external pressure. The need for a strong self-actualization is even more relevant in today’s social media based generation. With the constant pressure to maintain trends being crammed down the throats of the kids in today’s society, it is crucial that the desire for self-acceptance be entwined in the generations to come. Without self-actualization the problem of conforming will increase to grow in the youth of the world, ultimately, leading to the destruction of individualism in society.