It’s been a little while since I wrote a blog post discussing my views on social media- a topic that you all know I love to analyse. Over the past week, there have been several conversations raised amongst my friends and colleagues around Instagrammers editing their pictures and it got me thinking…
It’s come to my attention that there are way more fraudulent Instagram accounts out there than I thought. I mean, with the perks of being an ‘influencer’ and the difficulty of growing followers organically, I can kind of see why people resort to such extremes. Kind of. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with it. I’ve worked in the blogger industry for enough time now to see how much hard work goes into growing a genuine following. I know people that have worked years to build their online presence and deserve every bit of success that comes their way from it.
I haven’t written anything personal in a while yet I think it’s about time that I do so, especially seeing as I’ve got a certain issue on my mind; body positivity.
Social media is great. It helps us connect with people that we may never have had a chance to encounter otherwise. It builds friendships, has helped many to find love, provides hours of fun and can be a great motivational tool (if you’re following the right feeds). On the other hand, there are a few issues generated from social networks that are pretty unhealthy to say the least. It can cause feuds, end relationships, feed our shopping obsessions, leaving your bank balance feeling pretty sorry for itself, and can turn even the most sane of us into obsessive stalkers. It’s OK, we’ve all been there.
The thing is, actions that would be frowned upon in real life become acceptable in our online world. We can see everything and if we can’t, we’ll find a way to do so. Crazy, I know.
‘What does this have anything to do with body positivity?’ I hear you say. Well, let me explain. Everything that we see and become obsessed with online, sparks how we feel in person. When we feel inadequate on social media, we also feel it in real life. Yes, it can bring the highs, but it can bring us crashing down just as quickly.
World renowned author, Paulo Coelho, writes that, ‘Two things prevent us from happiness; living in the past and observing others.’ Let’s focus on the latter. Yes, we are able to observe people in person, yet a deeper insight into lives from across the world is so easily accessible via social media that we can’t help but to look at it. With observation comes analysis and the dangerous act of comparison.
‘OMG, that bikini is amazing.’ *Clicks onto bikini page* ‘Ohhh that girl looks great in it…’ *Clicks onto girl’s feed* ‘Look how stunning she is!’ *Studies a few images* ‘How does she get her waist to be so tiny?!’ *10 images later* ‘Why aren’t my boobs that big… No, her butt cannot be real! Seriously, look how toned her legs are. If only I looked like this…’ *Now studying every single one of her friends* ‘All of these girls are gorgeous. I’m so ugly, hate my belly, wish my bum was bigger, oh and I’m getting a boob job.’ *Scrolled way back to 2015 on several Instagram accounts, now knows bikini girls life story and has eaten three packets of crisps while acquiring all of this really useful information*. You get the idea.
The thing is, it’s so easy for us to doubt our own image (amongst other things but let’s stick to image for the sake of this post) that we suddenly have insecurities that we weren’t quite so concerned about before and do you know what the worst part is? Social media isn’t real. The forced poses, 100’s of snaps before we get the right shot, filters and if we’re taking it to another level, bought followers and editing apps. You wouldn’t believe how many girls edit their pictures to make their boobs and bums bigger and waists smaller and it looks so believable. All of this for the gram, perhaps to hide their own insecurities and to portray a life that’s a little bit shinier than it actually is- making anybody admiring it feel a little less sparkly.
So I ask one thing. Carry on with social media and spend your time on their as you please, but do remember to take everything with a pinch of salt and most of all, don’t forget to focus on your own body more than anybody else’s. The most powerful thing- even more powerful than social media- is your own sense of self worth. Feeling more confident in our skin can have a number of benefits on our attitude, drive and success. Embrace your body with all of it’s beauty and flaws. Love it, rock it, live in it and try tell me that doesn’t feel great.
I was reading an article online, which addressed the issue of teenagers and what, as teens, we all may have done differently if only we’d have known what we know now. It discussed self-love, overcoming breakups and not conforming to what we’re told we’re supposed to look or act like. A great idea and a very helpful read for many I’m sure. Only there’s one thing that played on my mind. The same issues- lacking self-love, dealing with break ups terribly and aspiring to certain ideals- all still exist in the adult world. If we can dish out the advice to others, be that children, teenagers or peers, why can we not abide by it ourselves?
Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling quite down, impatient. A feeling of inadequacy- almost as though I’m underachieving in life. So much so that it’s been reflecting on my usually oh-so positive, nothing-can-bring-me-down attitude. I’ve found myself in foul moods, snapping at the smallest things and letting tiny niggles that I would usually ignore affect my actions. It’s been like this for a while and this week I finally decided that I’d had enough and that I needed to pinpoint exactly what has been causing this freak behaviour.
After much thought, I realised that I have very little reason to feel this way. I live in London, the capital city of England, which was always the vision. I have a head office career with international fashion company ASOS- a job that many would dream of. I have a growing and successful blog, amazing friends, a supportive, loving family, a babein’ boyfriend (not that this means that I need a man for any of you singletons) and importantly, I am in good- if not great- health. So, why all the gloom and doom?
For one, I’m ambitious. You’d think that this would be a good thing right? But not if your ambition is used in the wrong way. I know where I want to be and I want it now, but we live in the real world and for most of us, things just don’t happen that way. Goals, dreams and ambitions all take a lot of hard work and time to achieve. It’s come to my attention that of late, I’ve been way too impatient when it comes to where I want to be. I will be where I want to be eventually, I’ve just been clinging on to the hope that I can skip out the long sleepless nights, stress and time that turns dreams into reality.
But I do work hard. I work very hard in fact. Surely I should be at the top already?! Slow down, what’s the rush?… These things take time and quite frankly, I don’t own a time machine and if I did would I really want to use it anyway?! Probably not. Why wish my time away. We live in the present and if you’re too busy focusing on where you’re not, then you don’t appreciate where you are. Lesson number one: enjoy now, appreciate now, live now.
The second reason behind my lack of self-worth points directly to that thing that takes over most of our days. Social Media.
I won’t lie, I’m almost Instagram-obsessed. After all, it is an amazing way to market yourself, keep check on your favourite people to love, hate, secretly stalk and it’s fun. It’s also dangerous. I find myself longing after girls with perfect bodies, perfect careers and basically, perfect lives. It’s so unfair. If they can have it, why can’t I? The answer to that… I can. All I need to do collate the best moments from my life in picture form and post them for the world to see. Fair enough, Mimi Elashiry may have a bod to die for, Mahina Alexander might play in surf-ridden waves with her beautiful surfer boyfriend and Sahara Ray might bask in the LA sun for most of the week. But these girls are all real. They do have bad hair days, they do cry and have mood swings, they do have the occasional boring day where they have to look way back in their photo stream for that insta-worthy post (does #tbt spring to mind?).
I spoke to some of my friends on the matter and they admit that they do the same- envy the lives of social ‘icons’ that they don’t even know. The same friends that I look at as being successful, amazing people with lifestyles that should be celebrated, not questioned. At the end of the day, everybody wants something that they don’t have.
The point that I’m trying to make is, that these Queens (and Kings) of the Web aren’t better than any of us and we definitely shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to their social media pages. We live in the real world and we all lead unique lives. Lesson number two: don’t compare. Be you and only you and if you still feel the need to compete, then compete with yourself.
So, after some long thought I’ve decided that it’s time to live in the moment, work hard and be appreciative. It’s time to ditch comparing myself to others and to stop lusting after social media lives. It’s time to concentrate on myself and not be afraid to have to wait for my hard work to pay off. I’ve decided that it’s time to be me.
If you’re still reading then congratulations for reaching the bottom of my essay to self-discovery. To all Tigeress followers, I hope that you can find you. But most importantly, I hope that you can be you. Enjoy! xx