Social media has honestly become pervasive in the lives of young adults. With Instagram and Snapchat being so image heavy, it can get competitive to have the most likes based solely on how you look in a photo. Constantly looking at perfectly posed and edited photos of beautiful people dressed in perfect outfits can get a little disheartening when we see photos of ourselves that aren’t up to par. And we all know the feeling of getting less likes than we hoped on an Instagram post that we felt so excited about posting. We start to wonder if we don’t look that good in it, and we are filled with self-doubt.
There’s good and bad parts of social media giving us all these visuals from VSCO, Instagram, and Snapchat. On one hand social media can make us feel so connected, being able to see what all my friends are up to in college and being able to leave comments and show them support makes me feel so much closer to the friends that are 2000 miles away from me. And, as a blogger, of course I love seeing fashion posts and all the photos that my favorite bloggers post on Instagram and their blogs and I love seeing others in the blogging community succeed. I love reading blogs, seeing beautiful homes and the talent some people have in doing their makeup or creating outfits. There’s something to be said about the connection and content that social media and our whole digital world gives us that can sometimes get overlooked by the negative aspects that consume us sometimes.
On the negative side, it’s so easy for us to lose sight of the fakeness that underlies a lot of social media. Those “candid” photos we see are most likely a few of hundreds taken to get the best one to post. Average photos are edited to look stunning and we think about what we see, not what goes on behind every photo. We see the clean homes, perfect makeup, amazing outfit days or even moments. We don’t see their “bad skin” days or the days that their house is a mess and they’re in their pjs all day. These faces we see on social media are real people with real self-esteem issues and real-person problems. I love seeing more and more the “real” content that lots of bloggers have started posting that shows their real surroundings and what they really are like, unfiltered. It helps me gain a little perspective on all those perfect posts I see across my feel. Social media puts a curtain behind their online persona and hides the not-so-glamourous stuff, we all do it too. It can make us think that someone else’s life is perfect and ours isn’t but nobody’s is. It helps me to feel better when I find myself losing confidence over Instagram by thinking about how social media and especially Instagram is a highlight reel of the best moments we all have.
We all have those days when we can’t help but compare ourselves to those around us and all the stunning ladies on social media but it’s important to learn how to work around that comparison and get back to being your bomb ass self. I think twice and recognize that they’re beautiful but so am I (and so are you). Everyone is beautiful in their own way and just because one person is drop-dead gorgeous does not make you any less beautiful. I remind myself that girls shouldn’t be comparing themselves and feeling insecure because of other girls, we should be hyping each other up. We should be seeing our different strengths and weaknesses as what makes us all unique and special. Girls supporting girls is one of the best things to see, those comments making each other feel great about themselves are so great to see.
For me, my body confidence goes up and down. Some days I’m feeling really good and other days I see so many flaws. Here are 5 ways I try to keep the good days to a maximum:
- I exercise often because it makes me feel strong and I know that I’m doing something so good for my body. It’s also a huge plus that over time I can see physical results from all my hard work and I feel more confident and happy in my own skin. This is also something purely self-sufficient I can do to increase my body confidence, I can go to the gym by myself and do whatever I want that day, even if it’s not an intense or long workout but it makes me feel good. I started working out consistently in February after years of on and off working out whenever I felt like it. I’m also the type of person that likes to work out when I’m stressed and anxious so it’s been a great way to deal with all the extra stress of transitioning to college life.
- Eating well also just gives me that mental positivity of I’m doing good things for myself and giving myself the energy and nutrition I need to do what I love every day and live my best life. I’ve started carrying around apples to eat for a snack instead of fruit snacks or just not snacking when I’m hungry and tried to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into my diet. Little switches like whole wheat instead of white bread or veggies and hummus instead of another dip make a difference and they’re so easy to accomplish.
- Wearing clothes that make me feel good about myself. This is something I’ve become really picky about over the past few years. It used to make me feel so bad about myself and my body when none of my clothes fit that well and what did fit I didn’t really like that much. So I did a massive closet overhaul and donated, sold, or passed on to friends everything that didn’t fit well and didn’t make me feel great. I got rid of so many ill-fitting bras, swimsuits, jeans, dresses and more and started just wearing what I felt good in. A massive part of that was finding bras and underwear that I loved and felt confident in because really, if a bra is super uncomfortable, doesn’t fit well, and doesn’t make me feel like I look amazing, it’s not worth wearing. It’s more and more common to see brands dedicating extra effort towards fitting rarer sizes and making bras more comfortable. True&Co makes all kinds of bras that are super welcoming to all sizes and there’s a quiz you can take to find out which of their styles and sizes will work for you best. Another great brand for this is Aerie, they’ve started doing their campaigns about being real and no retouching, using all sizes and shapes as models! I think starting from the most basic part of getting dressed and working your way to an outfit that makes you feel the best is the ideal route to feeling confident in your appearance daily.
- Skincare also is another massive confidence booster for me. Some of the times that I feel the most insecure is when my skin is dry and cracking and I’m breaking out really bad (which is, um, right now). Being consistent with my skincare routine has always been something I’m very conscious of. I never go to bed without washing my face and I exfoliate a few times weekly to keep the dry patches at bay. I’m still working on the whole blemishes thing but having skin that’s not too dry to put on makeup has been a massive improvement for me.
- On top of that, wearing makeup has always been fun and makes me feel good. I love wearing my absolute favorite makeup (Nars Sheer Glow, elf Back to Basics cream eyeshadow, benefit Dandelion blush to name a few) and trying new makeup has always been fun for me (which is why I started this blog in the first place). Feeling like I look good in photos increases my confidence so much because there really is nothing worse than feeling cute until you see the photos from that night and suddenly your whole concept of the evening is clouded by doubt and insecurities. For me and my problematic skin, finding makeup that I feel confident wearing despite the spots is super important so I’ve started sticking with what products work the best for that and going from there with new purchases.
It’s important in such a digital world to keep some perspective on what we see all day every day. No one is perfect and the photos on our feeds aren’t representative of a person’s full life, so it’s not a fair comparison to put your bad days against someone’s perfectly edited good day. Of course we are going to be impacted by what we consume on a daily basis but rerouting your thinking to recognize that social media really is just the highlights of someone’s life and that someone else’s beauty doesn’t devalue yours at all can help reduce that hit to the self-esteem we can sometimes feel while scrolling through social media. Find what makes you feel great and keep up with it, find your way to flourish and support others who are doing the same. Social media doesn’t have to be a community of comparison and competition, it can be a place full of support and connection but each one of us individually is responsible for making it that kind of environment. Get out there and find what makes you flourish.