Getting on Instagram and scrolling through my newsfeed and explore pages has become a habit: when I’m standing in line at Starbucks, when I’m killing time before a lecture or when I’m doing a final scroll before bedtime. Usually, it’s just something mindless to do; but lately, it’s become almost toxic. I find myself comparing my life, my body, my face and my outfits to the people I come across—beautiful, model-esque women whose lives are seemingly as together and perfect as their abs and expensive outfits. All of these factors combined have led to a recent plummet in my self-confidence, as I don’t feel like I compare. I feel like my life isn’t as good or as glamorous, and like I’m not enjoying my life as much as these girls.
It might seem silly to feel bad about myself based on people I don’t know on an app I can easily uninstall—but considering the average person will spend five years of their life on social media, it’s not that hard to imagine that all of that time will start to affect you. It’s the same thing as when you compare yourself to popular girls at your school, who are so coordinated and effortless that you start to wonder if they’re even real. How is their hair that straight, their stomachs that toned or their eyeshadow that blended?
Let’s be honest — comparing yourself to people does nothing but hurt you. Which is why it’s so hard to learn not to; because once you start doing it, it’s incredibly hard to stop. It’s kind of like trying to rewire your brain, to focus on the positive side of what you have to offer instead of the negative of what you don’t have.
It’s been extremely difficult to combat how often and how harshly I compare myself to others. I’ve learned not to check my Instagram as often as I used to, and instead to focus on myself. Being self-critical can be good; it helps you change things about yourself that you don’t like. But being too harsh on yourself, and thinking you lack something others have, is what can be detrimental.
If you’re like me and compare yourself to the beautiful girls on your Instagram, try a few things I’ve found to help: not checking your Instagram as often is step one and is the most important. If you have a journal (which I highly recommend having), try writing down a few things you like about yourself each day; the way you talk to others, your smile, your freckles, your hair, etc. It can work wonders on your self-confidence. There’s also nothing wrong with asking a friend to help you feel better about yourself—it’s not vain if it really helps you or if you really need it. Take a selfie, and admire yourself the way you admire those girls on Instagram.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself, collegiette. It’s a harsh world out there, and you don’t need to make it worse for yourself! Love yourself.