I don’t remember the last time I met a young person who didn’t have an Instagram account, yet I can recall just yesterday overhearing a group of friends discussing how to get their feeds to “look better”, whatever that means. About three billion people have social media, and it feels like most of us are totally preoccupied with it.
Now, I’m not bashing Instagram, or any other social media platforms for that matter. I actually find the app quite fun (No matter how irritatingly time consuming it gets…), and most other people would agree! It is almost therapeutic seeing the photos accumulate on your personal page, showcasing the very best moments of your life. Personally, it makes me smile knowing I have such a valuable memory bank in the palm of my hand. I really do like having this highlight reel, but it is the same “highlight” reel concept that is the foundation of all of our potential jealousy. No matter how seemingly embarrassing it is to admit it, Instagram is so very toxic to our self-esteem. How often do you catch yourself mindlessly scrolling through feeds, but secretly wishing you had what they had, looked how they look, traveled where they traveled, be with who they were with, etc,…? The list could almost go on forever. It is sadly ridiculous.
We can deny it all we want, but the jealousy we accumulate through this app is unbelievable. The Huffington Post wrote that, “…almost half of 18-34 year olds said their various social media feeds made them feel ugly or unattractive, while 30% said it also made them feel lonely.” in an article talking about the negative effects social media has on us. We constantly see artificially perfect things online, but process it all as if it is completely real. This is not okay. The cycle of spending too much time obsessively looking at other people’s pages and then getting unhealthily jealous is draining and alarming.
I advise all of us to take a break from the Internet community of Instagram because I believe a quality of life is redeemed once you have nothing to compare yourself to. You suddenly have room to finally be content, and this is freeing. So very freeing. Try it out for yourself. Delete the app for a week and see where your mind takes you. Will you continue unnecessarily comparing yourself? Or will you spend some extra time on yourself? Remember, self care is the best care, so make sure to pamper yourself for a change. Forget about the highlight reels you’re bombarded with, and remember life is difficult for anybody, and never perfect, despite the illusions we see online.
I hope we someday learn to use social media as a tool to see all the good in life, rather than have it as a source of jealousy.
Featured image via thepinthemapproject.com