Ever noticed yourself seeing the same thing over and over again on your Instagram feed or on your for you page on Tik Tok and suddenly want it? Yeah, me too. 

Dr. Breuning explained that mammals aren’t born with survival skills, therefore, seek what others have in order to create a survival strategy. She explains that when a mammal witnesses another mammal get rewarded for a certain action, this motivates the mammal to seek the same reward. Furthermore, when a mammal meets a need, dopamine is released, which motivates them to repeat this behavior and expect good feelings. 

As humans, our self-consciousness is unable to act in a relaxed and stable manner. This shapes a pattern for our lives. When we enter school, we naturally try to conform to social expectations not only by ourselves but also by our parents with the hope that we prosper in society. After school, the remaining edges of our personality get smoothed off even further as we enter the real world. Later in our lives, as our parents and friends celebrate our individuality, they recognize the same universal wish for self-expressing they have in themselves. In other words, we always follow other people’s intentions for us to shape our journey and who we are. 

We want what others have not only because we aspire to be like them and prosper, but because we want to be liked by others, and feel like we belong. We want to be accepted, and for that we act in this way to please others. Early humans weren’t able to live on their own, it simply wasn’t possible to be individualistic. Due to this, we had to be part of a group, and in order to be part of a group, people had to like us. In today’s age, we are able to live alone, but we still have the need to be desired. We are hard-wired to desire, and being part of a group fulfills the strong need to be accepted by others. 

In today’s world, we are constantly seeking approval from others from both people we know and strangers, thanks to the internet. From likes on Instagram to upvotes on Quora, we look for approval in so many different ways and dimensions. 

Following trends (or a trend) gives us some sense of approval from others because people around us are following them, enabling us to feel a sense of belongingness. We follow and idolize celebrities blindly because it makes us feel at par with those icons. We even end up following trends that celebrities wore that we look back on 10 years later and ask yourselves “what in the world was I thinking” (i.e. dresses over jeans, super low-rise jeans, owl necklaces, mustache tattoos, wedge sneakers, the list goes on). 

There is a not-so-subtle pressure to conform to society, especially in our youth and early adulthood, when we are most insecure. Most people want to be popular and admired. They will do whatever it takes to feel that way, and therefore, do the things that marketers have convinced them will make them more attractive. We can’t forget about the continuous rise of influencers on Instagram and Youtube. All we see is their picture-perfect lives and we start comparing ourselves to their perfectly curated pictures. It is important to remember that for many influencers, this is their job, and because their job is to “influence” others and work with brands and such, they won’t be posting pictures of them on an off day. It’s easy to spend hours and hours comparing yourself to these influencers and wanting all the things they have, so reminding yourself that this is their job will only benefit you. 


Image Header: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/29414203806573412/

Next Post

Food Insecurity in Remote Indigenous Communities