Why You Should Stop Measuring Self Esteem With Likes And Follows

08/17/2015 01:12 am ET Updated Aug 16, 2016

Originally published on Unwritten by Allison Berger.

Remember  in elementary school when you wished you could just use a calculator to solve an equation, but the teacher wouldn't allow you? Or those
ridiculous word problems
that you despised that made
ZERO
sense? Johnny buys seven bananas for 75¢ each, how many friends does he have? It can't just be me. What if I told you we are still dealing with problems like those every day? It seems as though our equations have evolved into:

                                    Likes + Follows = High Self-Esteem

Now that seems like basic algebra. I'm certainly no mathematician, and my math grades would prove that, but it seems like that shouldn't add up. Why is it that our generation is focused on Keeping Up With the Kardashians instead of keeping up with our own actual lives?

How many of us have notifications for social media sites pop up on our phones? We treat these notifications like gold, but forget to realize what should be fulfilling our self-esteem. Maybe that equation should look more like this:

                                    Life Goals + A Plan = High Self-Esteem

Still don't believe me? Do you think you aren't as connected to social media as you really are? What if all your social media accounts were deleted? Most of us use the excuse that it's our way of staying in touch with family and friends we don't see often. Instead of commenting on someone's Instagram post and considering that a "catch up sesh", how about we email or call the few we actually care to stay in contact with? That girl you're secretly envious of will be just fine without you stalking her pictures of her latest trip to Cabo. Your library of selfies will be okay without the likes of validation from those people you barely speak to, if at all. Harsh? Maybe a little. Necessary to reconsider? Absolutely.

Likes, follows, and shares all seem to mean something to us. What do they truly mean? What if your latest selfie or picture of cheese fries went unliked? Do you feel a twinge of doubt? A sudden questioning of why no one likes you? Why is your most recent post not being "liked" by anyone? Too often these are becoming your questions as to why no one actually likes you as a person.

We've all seen those "Instagram posts vs. Reality" articles. Why do you think they exist? They have immense value to them. Every time I see the reality of the glorified posts, I chuckle. We've become so obsessed with staging the perfect photo. The posts that are worthy of making it onto our social media platforms are our best moments. Social media allows us to compare someone's best with our worst. Doesn't that stack the odds against us or set us up for failure?

Since when have we all become so obsessed with who likes what we ate last or our "OOTD"? Stop living your life for the likes of others. Don't the likes of your own life matter more?

Sorry, Mr. Zuckerberg, I'm not trying to shut down your empire; I'm merely a girl who has gotten swept up into the social media tornado we live in. We are living in a world where we can buy our followers in an attempt to prove our worthiness. Sorry, this chick isn't for sale.