5 WAYS GAY MEN DAMAGE THEIR SELF-ESTEEM ON FACEBOOK

facebook gay men and self esteem

Are you a gay man finds yourself increasingly agitated when you go through your feed on Facebook? When you see pictures of friends and acquaintances, do you sometimes feel like an outsider looking in? Finally, do the photographs of attractive looking guys activate your personal body image issues?

If so, you wouldn’t be alone. For all of the great things that social media does in our lives, like keeping us aware of breaking news stories, it can also have a damaging effect on your self-esteem if you aren’t careful.

As a counselor who works with gay men, one of the prominent themes that comes up in therapy is the topic of social media.

Almost to a fault, many clients have shared with me that when they open up their app in the morning, they experience the high of catching up on the latest happenings – followed by the immediate low of feeling like they aren’t part of what they’re seeing.

Does this sound familiar?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret folks. Most all of what you see on your Facebook feed is manufactured – meaning the pictures and narrative have been carefully crafted as a way of grabbing attention. That means your attention.

To keep it real, this isn’t the case for everyone but certainly is for a lot of people. But the main point here is that what you see on your feed may not be exactly what you get.

What follows are five primary ways gay men unintentionally damage their self-esteem on Facebook. If any of these ring a chord of familiarity, maybe it’s time to take a step back?

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5 signs that gay man is emotionally unavailable

1. Regularly messaging hot guys for hookups

Just because an attractive guy posts his shirtless pictures on Facebook doesn’t mean it is an invitation to send him a private message for a hookup. Here is why:

First, the photographs may be old or they may be new. It’s hard to tell. Second, pictures can often be edited and manipulated. Third, if the person regularly posts these kinds of pics, he may be looking for validation. In some cases, you may be unknowingly dealing with a full on narcissist.

Regardless, when you message him with a “What’s up” note, you need to look at your motivation. Are you hoping he’ll write you back to validate you or are you wanting a hookup? If he seems uninterested or doesn’t respond at all, how will this impact your own self-esteem?

2. Playing the game of comparisons

When you look at the pictures of guys on your feed, do you often compare your body with theirs? Are you a part of a Facebook group that allows members to post random photos?

While it is only natural to admire attractive looking guys, it becomes unhealthy when we continually focus on what they have and what you perceive as not having. It’s called the game of comparisons and it can be toxic.

What is important to keep in mind is that when you play this game, you do great hear to your self-esteem. And that is what it is guys – a game. As in any game, there can only be one winner and one loser. Which one are you?

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3. Assuming what you are seeing is authentic

Have you ever seen a group photograph of friends who appear to be having a good time? In many cases, you will see them smiling and hanging on to one another – almost like a celebrity snapshot.

Look at the photograph more carefully however through the lens of reality. In many cases, you will see that the entire thing has been staged, designed to give the appearance of something that simply isn’t reality. It may look fun, but do you really know what was going on behind the scenes?

And so if you are wondering why you experience the phenomenon where you feel like an outsider looking in, bear in mind that many of those photos are designed to send the message “Look at me – aren’t we great?” Do you fall for it?

4. Posting non-stop selfies of yourself

A selfie here and there is cool but if you find yourself needing to post several pictures of yourself each day, you need to ask yourself why. Is it because you really want to share something new or is it you thrive on getting “Likes” from people on your feed?

People can always tell when someone is making a play for attention. After a while, it can be a real turn off. The end result is having people who unfollow you or worse, block you from their feed. How will that impact your self-esteem?

Here is a tip. If you really want people to like your updates, take the time to comment on what others have shared and “Like” their stuff too. Over the course of time, you’ll find that folks who are truly interested in who you are will regularly follow what you are up to.

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5. Not having a life of your own

The final point is simply this – if you live on Facebook and other social media apps, you probably aren’t living a real life. There is an entire world out there just waiting to be seen. But how can you partake in what the world has to offer if you are glued to social media like a moth to a flame?

Instead of living vicariously through others, what would it be like to create your own reality – and do so in a way that isn’t designed to be plastered on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and so on?