We live in a world where we are all crazed by looking good, social media has taken over and we’re all feeling pressure to live up to unrealistic beauty standards, forced upon us every time we look at our phone. Apps such as Instagram could quite easily be mistaken for an online beauty pageant or a popularity contest. There’s endless airbrushing, filtering, waist thinning, face smoothing, digital tanning, but when is it going to stop? This shit storm of a trend we’re in is fueling all kinds of mental and emotional trauma within young people. Everyone is insecure within their own skin and is going mad comparing themselves to others.
Comparison is something that I can all too easily relate too, it's something that a few years ago I had my own battle with but recently I have been noticing how much of a problem it has become for so many people around me. In todays world we are inherently programmed to compare ourselves with others, the idealistic environment we live in is a breeding ground for complexes to develop. The media is constantly trying to beat us down and make us strive for "perfection". Body shaming has become a norm in the society and we are forever unconsciously absorbing unrealistic ideas of what beauty is from marketing campaigns that have been airbrushed beyond the point of reality.
When I take a step back and look at social media objectively I can see that it does hold power to do some pretty amazing things and to create good in the world but I also see it damaging so many people. We’re in a vortex where the Z list celebrity is being romanticized, shows like Love Island are setting the president for body image and young people are aspiring to be social media influencers; these trends are major catalyst for insecurities and comparisons. So many of the young people I know, myself included spend hours aimlessly scrolling through accounts, daydreaming about what it must be like to be that person, because their life is so perfect right? Wrong. Social media is providing us with a false sense of reality, apps such as Snapchat and Instagram are providing a filtered view point for us to look through but also live behind.
I want to go back to my battle with comparison, as I mentioned earlier it is something I know oh so well. A few years ago the guy I was seeing vanished and rumors started that he was seeing someone new – que a surge of detective type social media stalking from me. It turned out that the two of them were indeed together. My insecurities and emotions went into overdrive, not only had I lost the guy that I really liked but I’d lost him to the girl that at the time I deemed the most beautiful girl on the planet. She was stunning, undeniably beautiful and her Instagram was like a showcase of the editorials you find in fashion magazines.
It has taken me many years to comprehend what happened in the months after finding out that the pair were together, if I‘m honest I don’t think I realised how out of control my emotions had got until recently. Now I can look back and admit that I was crazy, out of my mind insecure and in definite need of help. I was being driven crazy by my minds perception of this girls perfectionism. I spent months terrorizing myself, scrolling through her social media, staring at her images condemning myself because I wasn’t as beautiful or as fun as her. I wasn’t as perfect as her. After minutes of staring at her images a wave of insecurities used to rush through me, self-hatred would consume me. Why did he want her and not me? What did she have that I didn’t?
Comparison literally f*cks with people’s insecurities. I spent months of my life, my precious life wishing I looked like someone else, wishing I was someone else. It is so sad. Social media is the devil when it comes to comparing yourself to others, we all only upload our best photos, the good days, the good angles. We all filter them, smooth them over. Next time you’re obsessing over someone’s online profile remind yourself that they might not have their shit together quite as much as they portray. They are insecure too. Stop beating yourself up for not being like them, or looking like that, or dressing that way, or behaving the way they do. You are YOU and trust me when I say you are amazing exactly as you are. It might take a little work to believe me but start trying to be comfortable in your own skin.
When I was in the midst of losing myself down the rabbit hole of comparison a friend of mine shared a quote with me and even though it is a sickeningly cliché it stuck with me, she said "remember, the sunflower doesn’t compare itself to the rose, it just grows". It's time for you to grow, get off Instagram, stop staring at their account and start living comfortably in your own skin. Life is too short to be stuck behind the filter. Live more, live happier.