Digital Pandemic: Low Self-Esteem Compelled by Social Media Use – Part 3

John Winstanley
John Winstanley
Internet Safety Advocate, Husband, Father, Runner, NOT perfect...and that is o.k.
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Note: The solutions presented in this particular blog will be continually augmented over the next couple of weeks, months, and/or years due to the universal appeal of the subject matter. We all need this blog content…and FortSafety is committed to providing our audiences with effective and easily implemented solutions to digital issues.

Digital Pandemic Blog - Part 3: Learn How to Diffuse Negative Social Media Habits

Okay, don't ever let somebody tell you that you can't do something…not even me, all right?! You have got a dream and you got to protect it. When people can't do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can do it. You want something?.... go get it. Period.

Pursuit of Happiness (Movie) Tweet

Ok, we’ve talked about the problem of weaponized social media on our self-esteem in part one of this blog and then we unpacked self-esteem in easy to digest “Self-Esteem Tidbits” in part two.

So, now we are ready for the Grand Finale:


Simple and practical tips and habits on how to deal with low self-esteem, and create healthy boundaries for yourself and your loved ones when it comes to dealing with toxic social media content and users.  

self esteem blog

#1 Find a Purpose/Meaning in Life

My two favorite inspiration for this habit is Dr. Victor Frankl, the celebrated mind behind Logotherapy

Frankl was born in Vienna Austria in 1942. His entire family was arrested by the Nazi invaders and sent to the death (concentration) camps.  He was separated from his family and spent 3 brutal years in the most inhuman conditions, watching helplessly as millions of his fellow prisoners died of exhaustion, disease or were sent to the gas chambers.    In 1945, Victor was liberated from the Dachau death camp.

Side Note:

I took my wife and son to visit the Dachau camp. It was the only place I ever visited where people stopped talking the moment they entered those gates emblazonment with the words, Arbiet Macht Frei. You could feel the evil and the death in that place…hence the silence.

End Side Note


It was after his liberation from the Nazis that Victor found out that his wife, his unborn child, and the rest of his family had all been murdered while in the concentration camps.

Frankl could have given up…after all he went through, nobody would have blamed him for giving up on the human race or living the rest of his life on a tropical island somewhere…but he didn’t .

He used the knowledge he gained during his ordeal to help millions overcome low self-esteem, depression, and suicidal thoughts. He realized that those that survived the concentration camps the longest were not those who were physically strong, but were those who had a purpose and meaning in their lives.  His books have helped many more people than the Nazis killed. Frankl recommends the two following habits to find meaning and purpose:


  • When you have a “strong why” in your life you can get through any “what”. If we have a goal or a mission on the horizon – something we are focused on and that we are passionate about –  then daily issues and life’s problems are easier to overcome.
  • We all have the ability to decide how to react to any circumstance in our life. As Frankl describes it in his book Man’s Search For Meaning, between an event in life and our response to that event there is a gap…and in that gap we have a chance to respond. For example, it isn’t math homework that makes us upset, it is our response to math that makes us upset. We can choose to see math as an irritant and give up….or we can see it as something we need to learn and get a tutor. Two different responses,  both valid, but one is more productive.  If you drop your phone and break it, you can choose to be upset or see it as a chance to get a new phone. If you are interested in learning more about Frankls ideas here is a neat video that summarizes the book:
viktor frankl quote

# 2 Do something nice…it feels great!


I can’t explain it…it just is: when we do a good deed…a simple act of kindness…we get so much joy and confidence out of it (sometimes more than the person being served) We are human beings…not human doings…and that means we are designed to live our lives in community. When we unselfishly give of our time, talents, and resources everybody wins: the person, the giver, and the community at large. Go on:try it!

self esteem illustration

Take a Break (yes, it is that simple!)


Take a walk outside. Get some fresh air. Get back to nature. Notice the daisy’s pushing up through the concrete pavement, and the birds singing. Break whatever routine you have in order to get some rest and relaxation(RR), because RR is the most recreating force in the world. Reduce screen time. Block, mute,  or un-follow negative or disturbing content or friends on social media. You have control => Take it!

mental health fortsafety

#4 Talk to Someone / #jointhediscussion (#JTD)


Again, it sounds so simple, but it is the truth. A simple face to face conversation with a trusted friend or advisor can work miracles.  I tell my audiences during our #LifeHacksbyFortSafety presentations that when I “hit bottom” during my addiction years, it was a talk with a friend that was able to get me out that hole of hopelessness, guilt, anger, depression, and relapses. So, I know from first hand experiences that this WORKS!

Social media status updates ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE for an actual talk with a friend. Lets face it: how real are we about what is really going on in our lives when we post that “best life ever!” post.

My recommendation: connect with a group of people that share your interests online (music, hobby, food, crafts, faith, sports, etc.)…and when you feel safe…actually go and meet them. I’ll say it again: we get through life TOGETHER in authentic, real, and life-giving relationships. Note: a spouse can be one of those relationships, but PLEASE do not expect ONE person to meet all of your needs. You will be disappointed. That is too much pressure to put on person…no matter how much they “complete you”.

Self-esteem is a characteristic that is bestowed upon by another person. We learn it by being in a relationship with others (see my video clip below).


Study after study after study show us that YOU have the greatest influence on your child’s view of:

  • themselves
  • others, peers
  • marriage
  • sex
  • faith
  • relationships

(not TV, not video games, not social media, YOU )

Let’s start talking. Share your story with others. Share your story with us:  Click on the “CONTACT” button above or click here to share your comments, questions, or stories.

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