What Deleting SnapChat Did to My Self-Esteem

For the past six months, I have been completely SnapChat-less and honestly, re-downloading it wasn’t as satisfying as you might think. In the past, I may or may not have been the type of person who posted several selfies per day on both my SnapChat and Instagram stories but now, unless you see me face-to-face, you likely haven’t seen my face at all. Deleting SnapChat shook my self-esteem to the core in both good and bad ways as I had essentially forgotten what my face looked like without a filter.

To this day, I have a friend who still makes jokes that his parents refer to me as “puppy girl” since all of the photos we had ever taken together were of me using the SnapChat dog filter. Even now, looking back through one of my Facebook albums from 2018 that currently has 919 photos, I cannot find a single selfie in which there was not a filter of some kind masking my true self. While most of the filters are seemingly harmless, I became specifically obsessed with the ones that smoothed out my skin, corrected/hid my blemishes and contoured my face. When I recognized this obsession for perfection, I began looking into makeup and other products that would make my face look like it was filtered whilst being unfiltered but found that nothing could ever make me look as good or feel as good as the filters.

          I was undoubtedly addicted to the way filters made me feel about myself. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Evidently, this was not a healthy fixation as I was consistently going out of my way to ensure that I was only being portrayed or seen as this filtered version of myself. This often meant I would get really depressed, angry and upset if anyone ever posted photos of me without allowing me to edit them myself (I’m looking at you club photographers) and I would feel the need to feed this addiction by taking more filtered pictures of myself. When I look back now, it is very clear that the filters were positively impacting my self-esteem in the short run but negatively affecting it in the long run. Even just opening the app, nothing would hit my self-esteem harder than seeing the difference from being on a filter to off. I would look at myself and think: “Oh shit, is that really what my face looks like to people in real life?”

          NOT GONNA LIE; THIS WAS A BIG MOOD.

Despite my clear obsession with SnapChat and all of its features, last October I decided to completely delete the app off my phone in an attempt to live more presently. Within the first few days, the number of times I grabbed my phone to take a selfie was undeniably countless but none of the built-in iPhone camera filters can compare to SnapChat’s so I was left disappointed and unimpressed for many, many days.

There was, however, a positive side to not liking the built-in iPhone filters. I began to notice almost immediately that I didn’t spend nearly as much time leaving the house or even being on my phone because I wasn’t tied up in making sure I updated everyone with a filtered photo of my face. Additionally, once the only photos of me online were of those taken by others, I began to realize how much happier I look when I am not attempting to make every single detail perfect. Whereas in the past I would demand to see any photos that were taken of me, I was suddenly able to live in the moment and accept what was. Even now, after re-downloading the app, I purposely avoid taking photos of myself as I inherently swipe to the face filters.

So, while SnapChat is obviously a great way to stay in touch with friends and keep everyone up to date on your whereabouts, I learned through deleting the app, that my self-esteem needed some serious work. Once I broke away from the filters I had relied on for so long, I was able to recognize and love myself for who I am—imperfections and all.

The next time you post a photo of yourself on Instagram, ask yourself, “Am I showing my authentic self?” If not, consider making those small changes such as deleting the apps that edit who you are. I promise you, you definitely won’t miss it as much as you think you will.

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