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Wellness > Mental Health

The Truth Behind Social Media

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Imagine an apple in front of a mirror. Now think of its reflection in the mirror. It’s just a green or red apple. Now imagine yourself standing behind the apple and noticing  the other side of it is rotten or bitten. 

I saw a picture that fits this description with a caption that said, “Social media is not reality”, and that was when I began thinking. Most social media  users are aware  these platforms are not healthy and sometimes they sell images that are not real, but are we conscious about it? Do we actively avoid being a part of it?

A friend told me she felt insecure of a boy liking her because there were ‘prettier’ girls on Instagram, comparing  herself to girls who are professional models or have  good Insta feeds. I realized  I’ve felt like this  before, too. Not with a boy but with  everything on Instagram that may make us question ourselves. Are we pretty enough? Do we have a good body? Are our  clothes fashionable enough? Is our hair as luscious as the ones we see in beauty commercials? Do our cars reflect a prominent lifestyle? Are our friends extravagant? Do we have a good life at all?

Then I realized I was guilty of doing the same thing. I have posted beautiful pictures, stories smiling and shared some amazing things while I was in the darkest moments of my life; when I was not feeling myself at all. 

Now, here is what I’m going to remind you about the truth behind social media:


What you see on social media is not always true. The people you see posting  stories or pictures smiling, drinking at a nightclub, at the beach with some friends, blogging about their days, artists sharing some expensive goodies, beautiful models posing with bikinis,  are not always as happy as they seem. 

At the same time some people share these things they may be feeling lonely, sick, empty, grateful but not full inside no matter how much they have. Some are having family or relationship issues, anxiety, depression, mental or eating disorders and going through other situations  that happen in real life. 

A picture is taken in an instant, a second. A video  you  post on a story can take  about 10 seconds to record and that’s it. A smile in that  picture, that story, does not define how the person feels for the rest of their day or what is going on with their life. It’s easy to take out your phone, smile and then go back to crying, or  sleeping, or  thinking about what is actually happening. 

Another important fact to remember is that  filters and poses create unnatural and deceitful qualities. Filters add up shape, color, movement or different effects to what is actually real. Nowadays, filters can add different piercings, makeup looks, hair colors, and voices to a picture or video.  It’s enough to make it seem real.  It also happens with posing, which makes your body look different depending on the angle you choose to display in a picture.  

 The truth is, they’re not real.  We should never jump to the conclusion that someone looks a certain way or is a certain type of person without knowing them in person. Sometimes it can even be a surprise getting to know someone you saw on Instagram in person because you  may not get what you expect.  It doesn’t always have to be in a bad way. Maybe this person looks better or is a better human being  than what they portray on social  media. 


Not jumping to conclusions is the most important message from this article.  An important rule in life: don’t make assumptions. Never assume how other people think or feel by what you see or understand from  their behavior; unless, of course, you ask them,  they tell you or you actually know their real life conditions. 

Social media is not real life. It should be seen as what it is: an entertainment platform.  Remember that a smile or filter doesn’t define how someone looks or feels, and that’s why some of the greatest and happiest people the world has known have ended up in different kinds of terrible situations. Take, for example, drug addiction or suicide.

I want you to remember  it’s okay to use social media and that not all cases are this way. You should never feel insecure about wanting to be something or someone else by what you see, neither before or after conscientizing what could be really happening behind  the scenes. 

 Always speak up about how you feel. If you get overwhelmed by what you are seeing, a healthy option could be to deactivate your accounts for a certain time.

Remember that as social media is helpful in connecting people,  providing information  and sharing all kinds of things,  it’s also a useful platform where  you can  ask for help if needed. 

Itzel Rivera is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She's studying Information & Journalism with the purpose of providing people the knowledge they need to educate themselves. Itzel aspires to execute her profession, values and principles in a way that it impacts society. Also, she loves lifting weights, studying and doing anything that will get her closer to her dreams!