Don’t Hold Yourself to a Social Media Standard in Your Everyday Life

Your body and my body probably look a bit different when it’s relaxed and when it’s posed, shot from a specific angle, and then posted on social media. That’s okay-- don’t expect yourself to look that way all the time. 

You probably look your best on social media--so when someone takes a candid photo of you without notice, sometimes, we can be shocked-- “is that what I really look like?” 

We mostly see ourselves in the mirror, or posed for a picture-- that’s how we know ourselves and our bodies best. We don’t see ourselves the way other people see us, simply because we cannot see our own bodies that aren’t in a reflection or photo. So naturally, when you look at yourself, you will be posed, even if it’s in the mirror. When you’re candid for a picture, and don’t know that it’s being taken, many of us question our entire appearance. Yes, that is what you really look like, and it is okay to look like that. Everyone looks like that, you’re just used to seeing them in a way that you don’t usually see yourself. 

selective focus photo of a gold iPhone 6s home screen Photo by Benjamin Sow from Unsplash

Everyone you’ve seen in your life, you’ve seen them in a relaxed, unposed state, and you most likely don’t judge them for it. So don’t judge yourself for it either. You’re simply just not used to seeing yourself that way. 

You may not use FaceTune or Photoshop on your Instagram pictures, but your body is not in its naturally posed state. We take pictures from specific angles to make our jawlines pop, our legs look skinny, our stomachs look flat, our butts look big. We pose in a certain way to make our hips pop out, our posture straight, our stomachs firm, our knees bent. These poses and angles change the way we look in our natural state, and when pictures and mirrors are the only way we see ourselves, we begin to wonder why our bodies are so different in a natural state: our stomachs bloated, jawline rounded, our backs hunched. 

This generation compares ourselves to ourselves on social media, as well as others on social media, including influencers. While we, as normal, average people often pose for social media, so do influencers. They’re not in their natural state on social media, and that is not what they look like all the time. So, it’s unfair to compare our natural state to their social media state, because they look different in their natural state, too. We just don’t get to see it. 

woman looking at her reflection in mirror Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A new trend has spread on TikTok: people, often womxn, take a video of their bodies posed, and their clothes fitting a specific way. Then they transition to being unposed, possibly moving the top of their pants down to expose their relaxed stomachs, with the audio, “Bodies that look like this...also look like this.” While TikTok is an app that often normalizes disordered eating, poor body image, and an ideal of perfection, this trend has helped many to realize that what they see on social media of others, and themselves, is not their natural state, and their natural state is completely valid too. 

Person Holding TikTok with a Cloud Background Photo by Kon Karampelas from Pixabay

It’s easier said than done to stop comparing yourself to the version of you on social media or the version of others on social media. However, acknowledging that we’re not meant to look perfect is a first step to accepting ourselves. Your natural, relaxed body is just as valid and as beautiful as your posed, perfectly-angled body. We just have to start seeing it that way.

Photos: Her Campus Media