Why Social Perfection Can Be 'Toxic' For College Students

Hiding your flaws online can hurt both yourself and the people who see your posts.

Nearly 1,100 suicides happen on college campuses each year, indicating that many students who portray themselves as happy-go-lucky on social media are not as cheerful as it seems. And that's a big problem, according to Gregory T. Eells, the director of Gannett Health Services at Cornell University.

Eells talked with HuffPost Live on Thursday about what he calls "social perfection," or the appearance of living a perfect life across various social media platforms, which Eells said can be just as damaging to the person posting the image as it can be to the people who see it.

"Social perfection can be a very toxic concept because it's something that we internalize," Eells said. "It's not as if you really think I have to be perfect. It's that I think that you think I have to be perfect."

To push yourself to be the portrait of impeccability, Eells argued, is to miss out on the chance to improve yourself by recognizing your imperfections.

"Part of being human is that we all make mistakes," Eells said. "That we really can develop a growth mindset, which is when there are those setbacks, they're opportunities for growth. They don't mean you're a failure, they don't mean that you've done something wrong. They're an opportunity to learn and develop some sense of resilience and develop some adaptability."

Watch Eells describe the dangers of social perfection in the video above, and click here for the full conversation on college students increased rate of suicide. 

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