I’ve come a long way in terms of self-confidence. Five years ago I was not nearly as confident as I am today and I struggled a lot with self-esteem. However, the height of my battle was at a time when social media was practically non-existent. I had just opened a Facebook account, didn’t know much about Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist. Not many people had smart phones so being “connected” and “plugged-in” 24/7 wasn’t common.
My journey to find peace was very difficult, but I can’t imagine how much harder it would be in today’s world…
While the messages from mainstream media (TV, magazines, Hollywood, etc.) are obviously prevalent in society, for me, social media is much more influential. I’ve been taught that what the mainstream media portrays is mostly fabricated and Photoshopped so I typically don’t take their messages to heart. If a magazine has a toned supermodel on the cover I know well enough that there was probably some airbrushing and doctoring behind the scenes. However, it’s posts on social media that tend to bring back some of the negative thoughts I had years and years ago.
For me, it’s harder to dismiss messages from friends and people I know in real life. (I don’t know Kim Kardashian so, even though I follow her on social networks, I don’t really care what she’s doing). But when I see a friend’s Instagram from a party or a tweet about working out for 2 hours, I often feel like my life is sub-par. Ok, sub-par is an obvious exaggeration…let’s say boring. It’s not so much that I have FOMO (fear of missing out) on social events, but more like I should be doing something different with my life.
People portray the best part of their lives on social media so it makes sense if they aren’t tweeting about that test they failed or the fight they got into with their boyfriend. It makes sense that they choose to Instagram a gourmet restaurant meal and not a picture of their typical breakfast (the breakfast I probably ate). I don’t know how long it took them to take the perfect picture or come up with a clever caption. Believe me, I’ve had to take dozens and dozens of pictures for some friends before they found one they liked enough to post.
Like mainstream media, I have to remind myself that what I see on social media is something I should take with a grain of salt. I hope that anyone who is struggling with self-confidence learns to look critically at social media and understands there is more to the story than meets the eye.
Because life isn’t always an Instagram-worthy outfit or dinner (hello, filters!)…and guess what, that is perfectly okay.