Social media empowers and connects us to our community but can also reinforce societal beauty standards and pressures that perpetuate self-doubt.
Have you ever met someone who was 100 percent satisfied with their life and their appearance?
Chances aren’t good—even the people you thought lead perfect, happy lives struggle with self-confidence. Beauty standards are constantly evolving, and whether these ideals are more inclusive of different forms of beauty or not, they affect every single person.
Studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information show it is imperative for cancer patients to remain in high spirits and foster a positive outlook to encourage their bodies to heal. Just because someone is fighting cancer doesn’t mean their needs and desires to feel beautiful evaporate. Societal beauty standards hang over our heads like a storm cloud, and while on some days the sun may shine, other days may feel like we have been caught in a torrential downpour of self-doubt and deprecation.
From reflecting on my own insecurities and talking with friends and family, I’ve determined that social media is the trigger for most. As a social media influencer, it would be impossible for me to delete my internet presence. Even so, if I quit using social media, would all of my insecurities melt away? Probably not, but I know my insecurities wouldn’t weigh me down every day. Instead, they might come in the form of an occasional, light spring shower—a necessity to keep me progressing and growing, just like blooming flowers. Social media is a tool for community building and connection.
Rarely are things as they seem online. An image can be altered or staged, a smile could hide depression, and all of the followers in the world don’t necessarily equate to actual love or friendship.
So what can we do to embrace the positives of social media while also making it a safer space for our minds, bodies, and spirits, especially if a clean break isn’t an option?
Mute, block, snooze, and repeat.
Users have the option to mute, snooze, or see fewer posts on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. My trigger was the Kardashians. I became obsessed with their beauty and constantly compared myself to them. It had to stop. So, every time a photo of one of them popped up on my Instagram feed, I would click the photo and the three dots on the upper right-hand corner of the post, and then select “see fewer posts like this.” I followed these steps for a couple of days until I didn’t see anything Kardashian-related on my feed. It may sound silly, but this action alone drastically improved my self-esteem.
Change your notification settings.
Social media can take up a significant amount of my day. I had to implement some balance because there was no way spending eight hours a day on my phone was healthily impacting my self-esteem. I decided to mute all social media notifications. You can easily mute notifications by visiting your settings panel on any social media site. Usually, the platform will ask if you would like to “receive push notifications.” Switch that setting from on to off. My screen time went from eight hours to four in a week. My mind was instantly clearer.
Shift your mindset.
Social media is so impactful because it allows us to have a connection to people and places we might never have met. But it also serves as a breeding ground for emotionally damaging content. Therefore, the ultimate tool to block the social media noise is your own mind. Rarely are things as they seem online. An image can be altered or staged, a smile could hide depression, and all of the followers in the world don’t necessarily equate to actual love or friendship. It’s important to remind yourself that you have everything you need within yourself, and while you have your own battles, so does everyone else—even if you may not see it at first.