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Mental Health

#MakeInstagramCasualAgain: How to Stay Confident on Social Media

love sharing my life on Instagram. It’s how I keep up with friends, learn about new trends, and see news from my favorite celebrities and influencers. My profile is like a public photo album I’ve been curating for years, and I enjoy looking back on old posts when I’m feeling sentimental.

There’s pressure online sometimes to be a flawless person, and it can be easy to slip into a pattern of comparing oneself to the carefully curated snapshots shared by celebrities and influencers. Despite my love for Instagram, I’ve gone through phases of wanting to delete my profile altogether because of a pressure to communicate perfection in what I post.

Lately, I’ve been trying to embrace some new rules to keep having fun sharing content on my favorite platform without pressuring myself to reach an impossible standard. Here are my top three tips to stay confident on social media.

Remember your profile is for you

In my opinion, the most important thing to remember about social media is that it’s yours to participate in however you like. If you choose to have a profile and post, you get to pick what and how often you post online. Your posts, although they’re shared with others, are your own! If you want to post glammed-up selfies, you can, but you can also post a photo in your PJs with your dog if you’re going to do that too.
The name “followers” creates pressure to share content with the audience in mind, and that pressure can keep you from feeling like you’re able to post something you love. If you reframe your profile as something you’ve created for yourself rather than for others, you permit yourself to post without worrying about judgment from others.

Ignore “likes” – Or hide them completely

Because the “like” counts on social media posts are usually public, it’s super easy to compare posts against one another. This comparison can be harmful and can lead to judging one’s value based on how well a post is performing online.

Choosing not to look at likes or to hide them altogether removes the temptation to engage in this type of comparison and encourages you to value your posts based on how much you like them.

I turned off likes on my own Instagram a while ago, and I don’t miss them at all. I’ve found that it’s freeing to remove them altogether because I get to focus on the content I want to see.

Don’t edit out your imperfections

There are so many editing apps out there that can change your appearance drastically with just a few taps – clearing your skin, widening your smile, adding makeup, or even changing your hair or eye color. These apps can be fun to play with, but they can also create an impossible standard for people to meet by allowing them to remove every blemish from a photo.
Removing all your imperfections can lead you to compare your real-life self with the edited version of you online. When I post, I’ve decided that I’ll leave the blemishes in my photos. Acne or freckles don’t make a picture “bad” – they’re just a part of me, and accepting what I post helps me feel more confident in real life.

These tips work for me and help me feel empowered in what I post, but you might have your ways to use social media in a fun way for you. I hope you find ways to make your Instagram a place to show off your most confident self!

Lindsay Morris is studying Journalism and Political Science at the University of Georgia. She loves to read and write, especially about culture, style, and entertainment. When she's not doing that, Lindsay loves walks in the rain, creating ultra-specific playlists, and going out with friends.
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