5 ways social media is affecting your confidence and what you can do about it
We’ve all seen the Instagram glam gurus who post photos with flawless brows and flat stomachs every. single day. And those girls seem to get endless praise. Unfortunately, for a large majority of the girls swiping through Insta posts, seeing pictures like that can sometimes feels like a competitive slap in the face. But does it have to? Here are five ways that social media posts sometimes get the best of our confidence, and how we can change it.
1. The problem: Emphasis on likes and retweets
“Ooh, Matt liked my latest pic at the beach!” We all get a little excited when people decide to show our posts a little love, but sometimes it seems like the excitement of receiving those likes outweighs the joy of posting the photo. With exposure to so many social media celebs and influences, it’s hard not to envy the following that stars are getting on a regular basis—but receiving a notification shouldn’t be the main incentive.
The fix: If you notice yourself getting a little stir-crazy with anticipation for that like button to blow up, take a step back and maybe turn your phone off for a bit. As much as it’s nice to keep track of all the compliments you’re racking up about your amazing beach outfit or the sweet snowcone pic you posted, checking your phone too often can increase anxiety and fears about whether or not people are liking what they’re seeing.
2. The problem: Unrealistic body ideals
Kylie Jenner is *very* well-known for posting polished photos of her curvy bod on Instagram and other sites. She gets a lot of attention because of her toned, hourglass figure which always seems to be summer-ready. Many young girls look up to celebrities like Kylie, which is why it’s important for girls (that's you!) to know that everyone’s body is different and it's OK not to look like Kylie.
The fix: Instead of fixating on achieving someone else’s body, try spending some more time getting to know your own! Find features you love about your unique figure. You may not love everything, but keeping track of the things you DO love will help you reach a killer kind of confidence.
3. The problem: Learning to focus on others’ approval of you rather than your own
This one goes hand-in-hand with the obsession for likes, shares and retweets. After a certain point, when you become accustomed to the attention you’re receiving for your photos, you forget to appreciate yourself outside of the confines of your phone screen.
The fix: If you find that you’re forgetting to take time to appreciate your photos away from anyone else’s eyes or judgements, create an album! Assemble a few pictures of yourself that you love. If you’re tired of staring at your phone all day, bust out your scrapbooking materials to create something to celebrate yourself.
4. The problem: Developing a follower craze
Did you create your twitter as a way to share your thoughts and photos of everyday experiences, or as a tool for measuring the amount of people who are invested in your virtual world? Hopefully your answer is closer to the first option, although we get how easy it is to fall into a pattern of follower-tracking. Checking the list every once in awhile is fine, but things become toxic once you let that number consume you.
The fix: It might be a good idea to take a break from certain apps for a couple of days. If you notice that you’re constantly anxious about your following, this is a sign that you might need some time away from your screen to focus on your in-person relationships and forget about the follower count.
5. The problem: Reliance on apps for touch-ups
VSCOcam, Afterlight, and Snapseed are just a few of many photo editing apps that social media users remain loyal to.
With features from these apps, you can touch up your hair, body shape, complexion, eye color, etc. Having fun with the apps is one thing, but many rely on the Photoshop-like apps to alter their overall appearance which can lead to insecurity and discomfort when it comes to embracing natural looks.
The fix: Go full on #nofilter. I know it’s tempting to brush up and slim down parts of you that seem unappealing, but the more you learn to love yourself without all the light effects and extra glam, the stronger your self confidence will grow to be!