This blog first appeared on April 26, 2019
Like! Share! Subscribe! Follow! We hear this all day every day while we consume social media. These are the measurements used for our life in the 21st Century. We are living in the age where we let our social media profiles define who we are, who we decide we can be, and how we feel about ourselves. We may have fallen trap to this ‘filter’ generation and found ourselves continuously comparing our lives to the curated ones online. Constantly asking ‘am I doing something wrong?’, ‘am I good enough?’ or ‘am I beautiful enough?’ are the results of this comparison.
Social media has also recently become a space where people try to seek information on certain controversial topics, be it the pandemic, vaccinations, or body autonomy. This has caused social media to become a space where one is constantly comparing themselves, getting into a negative mindset, or seeking validation from followers who may not know them in real life. Online the more followers and likes you have, equal the more beautiful, exciting, or intellectual a person is. This is far from the truth.
Unrealistic beauty standards have always existed in the media, misinformation as well, and now, with the prevalence of social media, it has entered our lives in a way that many of us cannot deny. With that being said, here are some positive ways to navigate social media so you stay whole.
You are more than your online profile: Most people online don’t even look like their online persona; many are fulfilling the unrealistic and sometimes unattainable standards that exist currently. This is why Photoshop and photo editing software apps are very popular, allowing the poster to manipulate their body in any way they wish to fit this standard. Many only ever post that one selfie that came out just right—after taking 500 pictures overall— and is manipulated by numerous filters. Kylie Jenner herself has admitted to this, even as she has been viewed as an effortless beauty by many. You do not need to compete with that because being you is not a competition. On the topic of manipulation, someone’s online persona is oftentimes very opposite to their true selves; so, unless you know someone’s true self take their online image with a grain of salt and don’t judge yourself, or your life against theirs. There is no need to change who you are to get more likes; true engagement occurs when you show the real you. You are more than your online profile and your beauty stands out because it is unique.
Likes do not define you, You are enough: Your face, body, skin, and hair are unique to you and as cliché, as it may sound, you need to love the skin that you are in because it is the only one you get. Why spend your life bemoaning how you don’t like one aspect of your physique when you can spend the time finding all the things that make you beautiful? Show this off, find the love from within, without looking for external validation which often comes at a negative cost to mental health.
Live your life offline: Why let current online trends dictate whether you can wear those skinny jeans this season, or what activity is recognized as self-care? If those jeans make you feel beautiful; wear them, honey! If your idea of self-care is re-watching your favourite movie, then do it! Do what makes you happy and makes you feel the most you! Ditch the ridiculous expectations and live your life offline.
So next time you start comparing yourself and your life to an online persona, make a conscious effort to value yourself; value the very part of you that you are comparing. Make a conscious effort to love yourself, and if all else fails remove yourself from the platform that gives you great anxiety. Beauty is only skin deep, and it cannot be defined.