Why do I not look like that? Why are my clothes so ugly? Why do I not have that many friends? What am I doing wrong? Why do I not have blue eyes or dimples or a 23” waist? Why am I not that happy?
These are questions I ask myself as I scroll through my Instagram feed. Instead, I should be thinking: She is so pretty! Wow, I love her style! Her friends seem so nice! She looks happy, good for her! And more importantly: your brown eyes came from your beautiful parents, as did your build and every other feature you know is genetics and cannot change.
Comparing yourself only makes you more insecure.
Instagram is the epitome of life in rose-colored glasses. We only post the highlight reel. We share our “happy” moments, because who wants to see us crying for the 5th time this week over BS? But, I put happy in quotes for a reason: it is important to understand that someone’s Instagram feed is NOT a reflection of their life. Just because they look like they have it all, they don’t. They just do what you and I are guilty of, too: share images that make life seem perfect.
I constantly find myself going into this dark hole of social media, spending hours scrolling through pages of gorgeous, talented girls, envious of their looks, their possessions, their abilities, and their likes.
It’s weird to admit that I care about something so superficial, but I do. I care about looking good in every post. I care about filtering out my flaws. I care about the comments.
Soon, I started realizing how toxic it became. The amount of editing that went into each post, the number of plausible captions before picking the “trendiest” one, and the likes stacking up as if it meant I did something meaningful. Yet all I did was create this fake profile of a girl who seems like she has her sh*t together. Trust me, I don’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have maybe a thousand followers on a good day. No, I am not some social media influencer, nor do I want to be. But, Instagram affects my life just as much as anyone else’s. And I still like a good aesthetic.
I can trash talk social media all I want, but I will never delete it. I will never “cleanse” my life of it. Because it is important to recognize the many, many good things it does. You might not be reading this article if it weren’t for my Instagram. You might not know what’s going on in the world if it weren’t for news articles on Twitter. You might not have gotten that job without a professional profile on LinkedIn. And, it is nice to see what your friends are doing while you’re a thousand miles away, and equally nice to share your fun moments.
So, a new year’s resolution I gave myself (and I hope will find its way to others) is to only use social media for good. If you don’t like a picture but feel the need to post it to show off your new shoes, just don’t post it. Nobody really cares after the 5 seconds it takes them to comment “love the fit *heart eye emoji*” They just continue to scroll and forget about it. So, don’t let it mean that much to you.
Post when you feel good about the moment you’re sharing. Tweet when it gives inspiration to others. Snap when you and your friends are being goofy and give everyone else a laugh. But don’t post something that makes you feel like a different person. And most importantly, don’t post something for the benefit of anyone else. There is so much good that comes from being able to share a single moment with thousands of people.
So, make sure that single moment is a true reflection of you—and the you that you’re not ashamed of.