It seems that one of the first things that we all do in the morning is pick up our phone and scroll through social media. While there are numerous benefits to the digital age that we have all entered, there are dangerous consequences that must be kept in mind as well.
Instagram culture has perpetuated an increasing comparison mentality, in which viewers feel insecure due to the pressure to measure up to the successful Instagram models and enthusiasts that dominate the platform. It is integral to save the confidence of the population that struggles with this mindset and move into a period of more self-acceptance. Here are a few words of advice if you or anyone that you know is feeling the pressure of society’s standards of perfection.
1. Remember that there is not just one kind of beauty or success
There is not one size, skin tone, or carefully crafted mold of what represents beauty. People are not made of clay and our life purpose does not rest in trying to craft ourselves to be a certain way to appease the eyes of our peers.
Standards of beauty have changed throughout the decades prizing certain body types and facial features over others. The standard for beauty will always change and what is considered to be beautiful will never cease to be replaced by something else. Likewise, there are too many cultures and different types of people to have only one version of beautiful. Not only that, but what is beautiful or successful to one culture may be perceived entirely differently in the event that it crosses over to the next.
Success is likewise narrowly seen as how much money you have. However, you must consider the entire life of one person and the fact that not only what you are seeing may not be true, but likewise our success is not just determined by how much we make. Think of what you have achieved so far in your life and realize that the act of overcoming or accomplishing anything is a form of success in itself no matter if it reaps material or abstract benefits. Your life purpose is greater than what you look like or how financially successful you are.
2. For a while, you may need to unfollow accounts that make you feel insecure
This is not to say that your favorite celebrity’s Instagram account is “bad” or that you have to unfollow them but consider the material that you consume on a day to day basis and how it makes you feel. If you find that after looking at certain people’s pictures you are feeling down on yourself, maybe it is time to take a small break from following them and having their pictures constantly flooding your feed. You are under no requirement to follow anyone at all for any reason.
Sometimes we need to go on an Instagram “cleanse” and follow more people that look like us, or follow people famous people that have reached admirable positions in society despite not living up to its standards of beauty, and unfollow people that make us feel inadequate so that we don’t feel that there is a narrow aspiration of beauty. Aim to reach a level of self-acceptance and confidence so that when you re-follow the people that you used to compare yourself to you no longer have feelings of jealousy or dread.
3. Remind yourself of how far you have come
Think about all of the events in the world, including the creation of the world, that had to take place in order for you to exist and be here today. So many things had to occur for you to be exactly where you are now, and that much effort in the universe for one person to be created should not be overshadowed by your view of someone else in comparison to you. You have already accomplished so much in your life, and the future is limitless.
Try to appreciate how special it is that you are here sitting or standing wherever you are reading this right now. There is only one you, even if you have an identical twin, you are not the same and have your own varying traits that make you amazing. Only you can offer the world what you can offer, no one else can take your uniqueness away from you. Our differences are what make us great.
4. Realize that just because they are beautiful does not mean that you aren’t
On a beautiful snowy winter day, when the holiday festivities are in full swing, the twinkling lights that travel around a Christmas tree shine brightly in a stranger’s living room. Perhaps on the window panes, one can look up close and see the lovely individual designs of feathered snowflakes falling throughout the night. Both of these elements, Christmas lights, and snowflakes, are considered to be the delights of the holiday season.
Can you say that one is more beautiful than the other? Why would you compare the beauty of Christmas lights to the beauty of snowflakes? They are not the same. The same case goes with the people around you.
Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way, and those who are not beautiful to some are without a doubt beautiful to others because beauty is a social construct and in the eye of the beholder. The presence of someone else’s beauty is not the absence of your own. You can be beautiful in a way that is different than them because what makes you beautiful is different than what makes them beautiful.
5. Recognize that your thoughts of comparison may be driven by unrealistic standards
In society today our beauty standards have been crafted to the extent that people will go under a knife to change themselves. There is nothing wrong with getting plastic surgery, however, recognize that sometimes the standards that are pushed upon us may be unrealistic or even unattainable for some.
Likewise, these standards are bound to change in the future depending on what is appraised to be beautiful in the next few years. Not only that but in an age of photoshop, we are not always given the real picture of what we are being pressured to live up to. The model or Instagrammer that you are worshipping could be extremely photoshopped or even placed at certain angles to look a certain way. Likewise, the Instagrammer that posts consistent vacation pictures may be struggling for income in reality.
Overall, you are amazing just the way you are. No one on this earth is exactly like you! The digital age has made several accomplishments in our society, however, it is important to take care of your mental view of yourself in a community that is very image driven. Self-acceptance is not always easy, but it is definitely worth it. Next time you’re scrolling through Instagram try to keep these words in mind.