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For the last two years, I’ve been trapped in a vicious cycle. I have a horrible habit of deleting and re-downloading my social media platforms, specifically Instagram and TikTok. Usually, the deleting happens after a frenzy of comparison and negative self-talk. I set myself up for this every time. I sit in my bed in my sweatpants with no makeup and a bag of salt and vinegar chips glued to my left hand. I will then scroll for hours, comparing myself to beautiful women who are traveling the world, living their best life. I proceed to get up, see myself in the mirror, and pick myself to pieces. I am comparing my unedited life to a stranger’s wide angle, highlight reel. As a result, I delete my TikTok and Instagram after a good cry. I realize comparison is depriving me of joy, but I succumb to this pattern every few months. 

I will then announce to my friends that I’ve deleted social media. I tell everyone and myself that I am going to work on self love. I say this proudly, and I almost believe it. I’ll start running more, making cute healthy snacks, and maybe I’ll even do a few face masks. Somehow, I deem that self-care. 

When I don’t have those social media platforms, I usually don’t notice that they are gone. I have more time for things I enjoy, such as painting, movies, and reading. So, you would think my life is better without social media. You’re probably right. For that reason, I can’t really explain why I re-download Instagram or TikTok every few months. Maybe it’s because of FOMO? Maybe I like the validation that comes from posting something? Maybe I really am a mindless gen z who is addicted to social media? Your guess is as good as mine. 

I know social media hurts me and my mental health. I know it leads me to compare myself to other women, feeling somewhat inadequate as I put my phone down every night. I do have control over this, though. I still follow the girls that I relentlessly compared myself to in high school. I follow supermodels who I obviously look nothing like. I have the recipe for making social media healthy. Follow body-positive creators. Unfollow those who don’t make you feel good. I really should take my own advice. On the other hand, I fear that I will still find women to compare myself to even if I unfollow individuals who distract me from my self-love goal. Social media is this large oasis that swallows up my confidence. I have a lifeboat and a map to shore, but I sit in the waves and sink. 

I know this is different from what HerCampus generally writes. We love to give advice, recommendations, and our opinion. I wrote this article to show that I don’t always have answers. I don’t have it all together like my articles might suggest. I am struggling to figure out this cycle as probably many of you are. For once, let’s sit in this uncertainty together. 

Sarah Briere

Furman '22

Sarah Briere is a junior at Furman studying Psychology. In addition to being a writer for HerCampus, she is the Merchandise Chair for Alpha Delta Pi sorority. In her free time, she enjoys painting, doing makeup, and dancing. After college, she hopes to help women be the best version of themselves as a Clinical Psychologist.
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