Quite a sweeping statement there, but one that has a fair amount of truth to it. I felt compelled to write this post after hearing my friends talking about how bad the internet, and social media sites in particular makes them feel about themselves. It’s literally crushing some people.
I feel so pleased that social media only really took off whilst I was at University (when Facebook first appeared on the scene). I really do pity the kids of today who have to struggle through the complications of growing up with the added pressure of social media.
I’m frequently hearing my friends slating themselves when it comes to their body and appearance, and these are late twenty something ladies. They are literally slating certain features they have, and are unable to appreciate how beautiful and unique they are. I’m the same.
There used to be a time when I was pretty confident about the way I looked, but now it seems I never feel good enough. How the hell are the teenagers of today coping? What impact is the public nature of social media, and the standards and expectations that come with it having on people?
Celebrities, bloggers and even your average social media users are touching up photos so much that they aren’t real anymore. We scroll through our Instagram feeds thinking everyone really is that stunning in real life. It’s all a big scam, and it’s raising beauty standards through the roof.
Image courtesy of laddiez.com
Something one of my friends said has really left a mark on me.
You see all the amazing moments in people’s lives through social media, which gives a warped sense of reality. What you don’t see is the dull side of people’s lives, and it distorts how you view the world.
Most people won’t post their darkest moments or most challenging experiences on social media. For example, you might see that someone has got a promotion on social media, but you don’t see the blood, sweat and tears that has gone into achieving it, or what they might have had to sacrifice.
I have taken the Facebook app off my phone, because I finally realised that having a sneak peek into everyone else’s lives isn’t necessarily doing me any good. Today we don’t just live our own lives anymore, we live our lives whilst constantly comparing ourselves to others, and it can often leave our confidence in tatters. You see Facebook friends enjoy success, get pregnant, get engaged and achieving amazing things; which often makes you wrongly feel your life is missing something.
Why do we care so much what other people are doing, rather than focus on the positive things we have in our lives? Ten years ago we would never been able to compare ourselves with others in this way. The most you would get is a bit of gossip and news over the phone here and there, or the odd text announcing someone’s good news.
I want to go back to a time where I hear about a friends engagement or pregnancy over a cup of coffee or by reading a personal letter than by reading it on Facebook.
It would be nice not to be bombarded with constant messages about how I should look. Our perception of a healthy body is becoming very extreme, and social media is setting unrealistic body goals for a lot of people. A herbal tea detox is not going to give you abs of steel and a body to die for, that takes a ridiculous amount of hard work. People are getting all kinds of f****d up about their body because of the expectations that are set on social media.
It’s heartbreaking hearing people who are perfectly healthy, have a wonderful figure and are obviously beautiful seeing themselves in such a negative light.
Got a slightly bent nose? Fix it. Lips not full enough? There’s always lip injections. The pressure to have perfect eyebrows alone is ridiculous enough. Celebrities are ‘fixing’ themselves and making people feel like it’s the right thing to do. Your face, nose, lips and teeth are yours and yours alone, and that what makes you unique, why would you want to change your features to look like everybody else? Because the internet is telling us to, and so are highly influential role models, like Kylie Jenner for example…
Image courtesy of look.co.uk
What is encouraging is that although my age group are feeling the burden of social media, they appear to be aware of what it doing to them. It won’t yet stop them from using social media all the time, but at least they are aware of the harsh way they are seeing themselves.
For younger generations this may not happen, as it’s what they have grown up with, and it’s all they know. I wonder how messed up they will be later on down the line if something isn’t done to change the way they see themselves.
It’s frustrating because things aren’t going to change. People aren’t going to magically delete all their social media accounts and work on building their confidence back.
What we can do is cut back, and if we have to use social media, do it with awareness.
Scroll through Instagram being mindful of the fact that everything is not as it seems, and do not allow crushing thoughts to tear us apart. Personally, I am planning a social media cleanse. I will use it to promote myself and my business but I will try not to use it so much myself. I want to go back to feeling good about myself and not constantly comparing myself to others. Care to join me?