Instagram. One picture. One person. That’s all it takes to send the world into a frenzy nowadays. A celebrity posts an image of themselves, flaunting their physique, and that alone acts as a cataclysm that descends a perpetual state of existential crises upon women across the globe. Who can blame us really, while we’re all sat at home searching for new UberEats discount codes and perusing the monotonous Netflix genres, there are actually women out there whose bodies look as though they’ve been carved by the gods themselves. An ineffable wave of dissatisfaction, malaise and self-hatred washes across us as a result, but why is this the seemingly “normal” way to react to what we see on social media? Why are we allowing ourselves to be utterly brainwashed into thinking we are subsequently inadequate? It’s got to stop.
The pitfalls of Instagram have been discussed time and time again but somehow, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through to us. No matter how aware we might be that Instagram is some kind of warped, dystopian reality where everyone has thigh gaps and perfectly-manicured nails clutched around Louis Vuitton bags. And yet, despite recognising that for what it is, many of us still feel as though those are the ideals we are chained to and must therefore adhere to. The rise of influencers has added fuel to this fire of self-loathing, proposing the idea that a certain hair extension-filled lifestyle wrapped up in a picture-perfect bow and finished off with washboard abs is the only way to live life in a meaningful, desirable way. Well, I call bullshit.
Whilst there is no shame in caring about your appearance and wanting to present yourself nicely, it’s the authenticity, self-appreciation and respect that seems to get lost in translation. Every time I open up Instagram, I’m greeted with that familiar déjà vu feeling as I scroll past all these people look so perfectly air-brushed and magnificently coiffed (during a pandemic!?!?). Why do we have the burning desire to look like these famous celebrities, to essentially be a pack of clones? Because that’s what we’ve been trained for so long to believe we need in order to be worth something and honestly, that’s the biggest, fattest lie we’ve all been sold, and we are consequently doing our beautiful selves a huge disservice.
Amidst a pandemic that has turned our lives entirely upside down, it’s crucial now more than ever to love, appreciate and respect ourselves. Every aspect – physical, emotional and social – must be taken care of. It’s so easy to become consumed by the things we hate most about ourselves and spending all this extra time on social media, watching people who seemingly “have it all together”, ultimately feeding this self-loathing. Whatever your shape or size, you are beautiful and you are worthy. Read that again. Read it until those words become more than just letters, until you actually understand what it means.
Our human nature drives us to desire growth, improvement and development. Unfortunately, social media came along and changed the narrative of what it means to grow, improve and develop as a person.
Find what it is that makes you tick, what makes you feel a million bucks, and make sure you do that at least once a day. Spend your days doing things that make you FEEL good and remember: you deserve to appreciate yourself just the way you are. Nourish your mind, take care of your body and practise self-love because honey, you owe it to yourself.