As I spend my quiet Sunday evening scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, all I see are smiling faces. I see friends out celebrating, perfectly filtered holiday snaps and some motivational slogans. If you go by these photos alone, everyone seems to have their shit together. Sometimes we are left thinking: why don’t I?
Now don’t get me wrong, social media can be great. I live away from my family and social media makes that distance feel ever so slightly smaller. Love is sometimes found and life-long friendships are formed. Businesses are grown and cat memes are there to be enjoyed. But on top of this, there is now an added pressure. We all want to look good online and to portray a certain image. We have to be funny and we have to be attractive. Our lives now need to appear ‘interesting’.
It’s amazing how great you can feel yet after a brief spell on social media you start comparing your life to others and negative thoughts creep in.
Ironically, the fitness industry is a breeding ground for unhealthy behaviours. Eating disorders are rife and steroids are being used by gym-goers in pretty much every gym across the country. Guys and girls are striving to look like their favourite movie stars or favourite Instagram models. Diet pills, detox teas and mass gain powders. The dodgy supplement industry is booming as they all promise us the bodies we think we need. Hey guess what: you don’t need ANY of it! You don’t need slimming tea. You don’t need weight loss coffee. You don’t need detox supplements and you don’t need those chemical shit storms that are mass gain shakes. You know that picture of the ‘ideal’ body shape you see? It’s been filtered within an inch of its life and the model in the picture doesn’t even look like that!
Our mental and physical health is suffering as we are all being pressured into looking perfect. Surely this crap has got to stop. It’s time we stop focusing on what other people think and we just do ‘us’. The images we see on social media are carefully selected snapshots of someone’s life and the ‘bad’ parts are never spoken about.
Here are three tips to help boost your self-esteem:
– Firstly, always focus on how far YOU have come, rather than comparing yourself to others. Celebrate your own achievements and schedule in time with the ones you love, rather than watching their lives through a phone screen.
– With a pen and paper, every evening write down three things that you can appreciate about yourself or that you are thankful for. The first few times you do this it may feel a little bit…odd. But in a few weeks time when you start to feel low, read your list for a quick self-esteem boost. It could change your perspective on those days you need it the most.
– Spend more time with uplifting and positive people that are going to support you on your journey. Don’t waste time on negativity and criticism. The same goes for accounts you follow on social media. If any accounts make you feel insecure or negatively affect your confidence, unfollow them and focus on individuals that will help push you forward.
We are so busy documenting our lives that we forget to actually live them! For my own mental health, one of my goals for this year is to limit my time mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds and to just live ‘in the moment’ a bit more. Sometimes its good to unplug yourself from the madness of social media and focus on your journey and what makes you awesome. Because once you stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll realise just how great you are.