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Mental Health

Using Instagram as a Tool to Genuinely Build Self-Confidence

I must admit I am one of those people who LOVES Instagram. I spend way too many hours scrolling through my main feed, looking at people’s stories and creating my own posts. I love being able to connect with others and share happy moments of my life. I’m aware that I have a romanticized view of Instagram and that most of what we see is a highlight reel. It’s also true that a lot of people have an unhealthy relationship with Instagram, defining their self-worth through likes from strangers. When I was younger, this app definitely lowered my self-esteem. I would never post pictures out of fear of feeling rejected. When I did post a picture, I would obsess over why I didn’t get as many likes as my other friends or the other people in my high school. Did this mean they didn’t like me? Was I not as pretty as everyone else? Were people laughing at me? Should I be embarrassed of how I looked? I don’t think my insecurity originated from Instagram, it simply reinforced my fears that I wasn’t as good as everyone else.

Now, after a long journey of self-confidence, I am proud of who I am. I don’t define myself by other people’s standards and, curiously enough, I use Instagram to display my self-confidence. The very app that would bring me down is what I now use to gain and embrace that confidence.

Here are some tips on how you can turn Instagram into your ultimate self-confidence tool:

Start with a photoshoot

Ask a friend to take your picture and go all off. Strike a pose, and then 10 more. Even if you are usually not a picture person, pose as if you are the most confident person on earth. You are amazing and not afraid to show it.

Post it!

Once you have your picture, post it. Make sure you choose a picture that you’re proud of because you are being confident enough to be yourself in. Don’t choose the picture that makes you look skinnier, “prettier” or is perfect for a highlight reel. Basically, choose a picture that makes you smile and forget about what other people will think. Once you post your picture, turn off your phone and forget about it. I know this can be hard but just try. The first time you post a picture based on self-confidence and not based on Instagram “likeability” standards your likes may (or may not) go down. Do not let this discourage you.

Post another picture a few days or a week later

Post another picture a few days or a week later. It can be an imperfect picture of a happy memory or any other picture that makes you feel good inside. The one rule is: don’t choose a picture because it’s Instagram worthy. Once again, put your phone away or turn off notifications for a day. No matter how many likes you get don’t take it down. When you look back in a few months you’ll be happy to see a picture of a genuinely good moment!


Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t wait too long in between pictures! The more often you post, the more natural it becomes, the less you think about whether it's “good enough” or not, the more it becomes about making you happy instead of making others happy. Take a cute picture, a blurry picture or a silly picture. The point is to not be afraid to use Instagram to show who you are or what your life is like because you are proud of who you are.

I have been using this “method” for a few years now and I can proudly say that I no longer care about likes. Now, when I am having a bad day one of my favourite things to do is post a picture on Instagram because it reminds me of how far I have come in my self-confidence journey. I post it and I realize that I don’t care what happens with it. Unlike my middle school self, I can now post a picture that I feel good about and not care about how others will judge it.

We all have an insecure middle school girl in us, but we also have so much to be proud of, and if used right, I genuinely think Instagram can help you become your most confident self. So, get started on that first photoshoot and remember that only you can define your worth!

Camila Mercado

Queen's U '22

Camila is a third year student in Global Development and Psychology at Queen's University. She enjoys figure skating, learning new languages and advocating for mental health on campus!
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