How to keep social media from impacting your self-esteem
We all do it! Sometimes it's impossible not to go on social media, see all the beautiful photos, and start comparing ourselves to the people in our feeds. It is only human to feel a little envious of luscious locks, sculpted bodies and perfectly executed make up. However, appreciating another woman's (or any other gender!) beauty doesn't mean that we have to think badly about ourselves.
According to Danah Boyd, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, in our current society "we’ve normalized a whole set of things ... Instead of saying, ‘Oh, I got such a nice compliment from you today!’ we say, ‘I got six likes and it doesn’t matter who they’re from.’”
We know living in the age of hashtags and likes is hard work! That is why we have put together this helpful guide to work towards more positive mental health patterns as you scroll through your feed.
A picture is worth a thousand pictures
Firstly, it is important to remind yourself that while you are seeing your bed hair and morning face reflected in your phone screen, the photos you are seeing on Instagram or Facebook are the best of tens, hundreds or even thousands of shots that were taken before it. Remind yourself, no-one looks perfect all the time, nor should we. The photos you see on social media can be aspirational or inspiring, but they shouldn't place unrealistic expectations on you to look pristine 24/7.
Beauty comes in many different packages
We know you hear it all the time, but it can be helpful to remind yourself that beauty is not prescribed by the number of likes a photo gets or societal expectations of what a woman should look like. It is a really good idea to follow a range of women of different shapes, sizes and backgrounds so that your feed shows diversity, and you can easily slot your own unique beauty into the mix.
Turn lemons into lemonade
Positive psychology will tell you that thinking happy thoughts, even when you don't fully believe them straight away, will eventually change your patterns. Instead of feeling jealous or angry about your boyfriend's exe's perfect beach shot, why not pay her a compliment in your mind. Think about how happy she looks, or how she has inspired you to get back into the gym. The power of positive thinking is real!
Of course, it's not always easy, but these tips will help you work through the low self-esteem that social media can inflict on us. And if all else fails, remember it's ok to take a break from the online world. Put your phone down, get outside, and do something that makes you feel great.