It’s strange to think that social media has changed our opinions on everything; what’s in, what’s out, what's trending, and how we think about ourselves. But what I find the most bizarre about social media, is this turmoil of portraying an aesthetic to please everyone around us apart from ourselves - having the constant fear of not being accepted into society.
We, as a young generation feel the need to convey a certain persona that people will like and be accepted. But at what price are we willing to go to to get that extra follow, or that comment on one of our images on Instagram? When Instagram was first downloaded, nobody was prepared for this little app to dominate ourselves, likewise with Facebook and Twitter. But I feel Instagram has taken a shine to the young generation and I don’t think in a positive way either...
At first, social media seemed harmless didn’t it? Post a quick snap of your cup of tea, or a simple picture of you with the caption #seflie and that was it. Simple and fun. Now, things have dramatically changed. If we want to post a selfie or an outfit snap, we have to think of; angles, lighting, background, poses, natural, candid, the list goes on. Why do we have to portray a certain theme to our platform when we all know that in the corner of our rooms there's a pile of washing that desperately needs to be put on, but we don’t want the world to know this. Why? It’s life, it’s the mundane things that makes us human.
It feels like social media has generated this imposter syndrome to use where we feel like we have to be happy, healthy and above all perfect. As everyone says, no one is perfect, everyone has their own perspective of perfect, so no matter how hard you try and change the way you look, act, think, whatever. There’s no point, because you literally cannot please everyone and that is ok.
Trying to please everyone will damage your mental health and trying to approve someone's opinion of you will not increase your own self nor lower yourself worth. It may seem flattering at the time to achieve the approval of someone but in reality, why does it matter? Should we really care what that woman on the bus is thinking of you? Do I need to dress a certain aesthetic to be accepted into the friendship group? Do I need to talk a certain way to appear knowledgeable around certain friends? No. You do not need to change who you are. If you feel uncomfortable or anxious when scrolling through the ‘gram on your day off, unfollow people that make you feel that way. Curate your feed where you feel empowered, comfortable and inspired. Social media should be a place where you enjoy looking at people’s images and videos, it shouldn’t be a place that you go to punish yourself because you undervalue your self worth.
It’s also important to set boundaries for yourself. Take time out for your mental health and have days where you focus on yourself and the hobbies that interest you. Don’t feel bad on the days where you need to turn your phone off and ignore messages, as previously stated, by setting these boundaries, they will help improve on your relationship with social media.
If you’re feeling in a rut, or feel the pressure of social media nibbling at you, the best thing to do is to walk away from it. And understand that it’s ok to prioritise your mental health. Take time, take a break and look after it.