Instagram Is Not Real Life

It seems as if everyone has an Instagram these days, from brands that want extra publicity to people impersonating their pets to people who are literally making a living off of posting their life. Instagram definitely has its fair share of content that is bound to appeal to anyone, whether you’re looking for memes, outfit inspo or just seeing what your friends have been up to. However, despite how much we all love Instagram, it can have detrimental effects on our mental wellbeing. 

 I can’t be the only one who follows various influencers, whether they’re old “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” contestants or some bada** female doctors that inspire me. I see plenty of people who basically have a part-time job on Instagram. All of their photos are perfectly staged, with the perfect outfit, hair and makeup, all topped off with the most perfect filter or preset possible. It can be difficult to not compare yourself to these people. 

 Instagram has become a highlight reel. It’s basically the equivalent of a huge billboard advertisement of our lives where you only get to see the positives. Let’s say someone you follow goes on vacation. You’re going to scroll through their pics and see them sunbathing on the beach and immediately get jealous; what you may not see is the fact that they missed their flight, had a six-hour layover or even lost their luggage. You don’t get to see all of the horrible moments that may have happened along the way because not all memories make the cut to be displayed for all to see online.

woman surfing at sunset Photo by Rafael Leão from Unsplash On Instagram, we often correlate our number of likes or followers with how “successful” one of our posts was. It is so disappointing that we turn to other people’s approval to validate our photos. We are constantly pressured to know our best angles, make sure that our poses don’t look too forced and edit out all of our flaws. 

 Every couple of weeks, I take the time to purge through the people I follow on Instagram and unfollow some accounts that may have been causing me feelings of jealousy or inadequacy. It’s easy to look at fitness models and wish that my stomach was as flat or that my butt was as large, but it’s just not good for my mental health. There is no reason for me to be looking through my feed and just be overcome with a wave of guilt for not going to the gym one day and feeling as if I will never be good enough to look like the influencers I follow. 

 Recently on Instagram, many of the influencers and models that I follow have been participating in a trend where they are posting their own versions of “Instagram vs Reality.” This has looked like some posting the before and after of their edited photos so that their followers can see just how much editing goes into a photo. Others are posting side by side comparisons of their bodies staged vs. relaxed in order to show others just how easy it can be to make your body look a different way with changing something as simple as their pose or angles. 

 At the end of the day, I’m not saying that you should delete your account or delete Instagram off of your phone. However, it is important to realize that the accounts you follow may have a direct effect on how you view your own life. Recognize these feelings and battle them. There is absolutely no reason for you to feel inadequate or less than someone else just based on the highlight reel of their life— I mean— their Instagram feed.