What If I Don't Look Like "That" Girl On Instagram?
I wake up in the morning, I look in the mirror, and I feel pretty good about what I see. I go on Instagram, I see Instagram "models" and beautiful women everywhere, and instantly I start to doubt myself. They're thinner than me, taller than me, more tanned than me, they have smaller noses, more symmetrical eyebrows - and I almost immediately convince myself that they're far more beautiful than I'll ever be. Cue the self-loathing. Bring on the insecurities. Here comes the self-deprecation. Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever felt good about yourself, only to instantly feel self-conscious after looking at social media? If so, you're not alone sister.
Social media is a very powerful thing. It can bring us together with like minded people from across the globe, and it can also be the very thing that tears us apart. It has the power to create incredible things and opportunities, yet it also has the power to create self-doubt and insecurity. It can be a wonderfully positive tool, but it also has the potential to be harmful - for our minds and our self-esteem.
With the rise of social media, particularly Instagram, it's easy to fall into the trap of comparison. We see beautiful people, in happy relationships, living what appear to be perfect lives, and suddenly we feel inadequate. We take a look at our own lives and convince ourselves that we don't have any of those things. We convince ourselves that we're not as beautiful, that our relationships are lackluster, or that our lack of a relationship makes us lonely or unlovable, and ultimately that our lives suck in comparison to everyone else's. We, myself included, fall into this trap of comparison.
Unfortunately, social media is unlikely to change. It will likely always be a place for most people to showcase only the highlights of their lives. And that's okay. That doesn't have to change, those people don't have to change the way that they use social media. We need to change. We need to change our perspective, we need to change our outlook, and for Christ's sake do we ever need to change the way that we aimlessly compare ourselves to others. How? I'll admit, I don't have a definitive answer.
I do believe that it starts with eliminating the need for comparison. Every single human being on this earth is unique, there is no other human like you or I, you are the only "you" that there is. So, why, then, do we compare ourselves to others? Why when we see someone beautiful, do we instantly feel the need to call our own beauty into question? What if we learn to acknowledge another person's beauty, without downplaying our own? What if we see a beautiful woman and think "She is beautiful." Not, "She is way more beautiful than I'll ever be." What if, we go one step further, and say "She is beautiful, and so am I." Why don't we accept that beauty comes in a million different forms?
What if we stopped following people on social media simply because we wish we looked like them? What if we followed people because we liked them as people? What if we followed accounts that inspire us? Not accounts that solely inspire us to be as thin as possible, or as contoured as possible, but inspired us to be better people? What if we unfollowed the accounts that we know, deep down inside, (unintentionally) make us feel worse about ourselves? What if we stopped bombarding ourselves with accounts that make us feel like shit? (If this means you feel the need to unfollow me, do it. Seriously.) It's okay to distance ourselves from things that hurt us - mentally, physically, emotionally, or otherwise. In fact, it's an act of self-care.
What if we focused more on liking ourselves, and focused less on the amount of likes we get on our photos? What if we focused more on liking ourselves, and less on liking photos of celebrities because we wished we looked like them? What if we focused on liking who we are, instead of focusing on who we wish we were? What if we focused on liking ourselves? Authentically, truly, honestly, liking ourselves.
The next time you see a beautiful person on Instagram, I want you to make the conscious effort to tell yourself "She is beautiful, and so am I." Because we're all beautiful. Yes, that means you. No, you may not look like that girl on Instagram. But the good news, is that you don't need to. Because you're not her, and she's not you. You are you. The only you that there is. And that's pretty great, don't you think?
She is beautiful, and so are you.