I believe social media has it’s pros and cons and it really stems from the mindset of the user and the accounts they follow. This directly effects what they are exposed too and how they let it effect their perception of themselves. According to a Huffington Post article, “Social Media’s Impact on Self Esteem” 60% of social medias users ages 28 to 73 reported negative feelings abut their self esteem after using social media. It’s easy to see how this can happen. We live in a world full of comparison culture, social media being it’s number one endorser. It’s easy to scroll down Instagram and admire the view from the greener grass on the other side. In Healthcare, we especially have a tendency to do this. I’m a huge offender. I try to avoid doing it but it’s a challenge and very much a skill that comes with experience and growth.
On my journey into medicine, I tend to be overwhelmed with a fear of making the wrong decision. This leads to wanting a lot of information early on. I definitely have an anxiety for asking the wrong questions, or even worse: asking the right ones, just too late. I’m obsessed with getting information early on because my Type A personality loves being armed with the facts and being ahead of the game. I realize this was born out of regret over my previous “mistakes.” I tend to view them as learning experiences but there’s something to be said for giving yourself some grace for falling while still in training wheels.
I stress over my present choices being right for the future. I stress over choosing the right specialty, the right med school, the right way to study for the MCAT, the right classes to take, the right experiences to put on my resume. I stress about not wanting to be wrong. This is born out of being a perfectionist. It pushes me to do my best work but also drives me off an anxiety ridden, worse case scenario, cliff. I stress over making the right plan (usually based on the recommendations of others.) It’s kind of funny the amount of times my plans were derailed and how much those derailed plans have impacted and shaped my life,for the better.
I never stress over one thing. I never stressed over if these choices are right FOR ME. I ask everyone’s opinions on what they think and what they did, thinking I can apply it to myself and be happy. If I follow their plan, it will work out. I know I want to be a doctor and I figure there is a right and a wrong way to get there. I clearly desire to be great, not even good. With a history of poor grades early on in undergrad and a couple of poor MCAT scores as a track record, my head has a habit of letting paranoia take over and saying there’s no choice in the matter. I am fueling a path to being the ideal great doctor, but I now realize I am nowhere to be found in that image, everyone else is. I also have a bit of distrust of my own gut and that is a recipe for disaster.
I failed to realize that this distrust came from a different time. I was not the same person that started this journey and I would never be her again. I want this too much to ever let myself make these mistakes, have a support system (both in real life and on Instagram which keeps me sane) and am slowly gaining confidence in my skills, enough not to question being worthy of taking my next step and having this eventually be my career. So, prior to this realization what was I afraid of and why was I comparing myself? I was afraid of the way others were going to view my life. I was afraid of others viewing the kind of doctor I was setting myself up to be and thinking, she’s not enough. How awful is that?
It doesn’t matter how others view your choices. Your job. Your life. If it makes you happy and is true to who you are, you made the right decision and if it doesn’t you currently have the power to adapt to make the image a bit brighter. It matters that you make choices and decisions because YOU want too, not to compare your life to others and to take value in the experiences that have shaped the person you have evolved into along the way. Be proud of that instead of comparing that to what you scroll through.