Scrolling through endless polished photos of filtered pictures is a habit. We do this every single day and are in constant consumption of the content of other people’s lives – or at least what they want us to see. Does scrolling through the Instagram Explore page and feeling a little fatter, uglier and poorer sound too common to you? It’s time to switch up your mind-set and take control back over social media because it sounds like social media is currently in control of you.
1 Millisecond of a Life
A photo on Instagram is a moment so brief that it constitutes to a millisecond of the user’s life, yet that one photo seems to imply so many things about that person. We forget about what happens before or after the photos are taken. Believe it or not, their entire life isn’t glowing a Valencia filter and they don’t always look so polished and perfect.
In fact, what people don’t see is the 356 other photos it took to get that perfect Insta-worthy picture. Popular Instagram bloggers openly admit to the efforts it takes to get that one picture yet as scrollers we see that image and seem to forget all of this. We just jump to the conclusion that their life is perfect from 1 millisecond of an entire life – why? Because they’re smiling? The lighting and angles may be on-point but it could be no constellation to what is going on behind the camera. Remember this the next time you find yourself comparing.
All a Myth
When it comes down to it, you are essentially comparing yourself to a mythical creature, something that doesn’t even exist. Instagram is a place of utopia, dreams and complete unreality. It’s the photoshopped filtered version of life that simply does not exist, so treat it that way.
Never compare a real life filled with ups, downs, emotions, relationships and reality to a fake image you’ve stumbled across online. It’s not real. The comparison is meaningless because there is nothing to compare it to. The girl who posted the picture is probably feeling exactly like you do – wishing she looked like she does in the filtered photoshopped world of Instagram.
An Unfair Comparison
Think of it this way. When you’re scrolling Instagram in your Disney pyjamas with a face full of spot cream looking at polished images of a bikini model on a beach in Hawaii, the comparison is entirely unfair and unjustified. We are essentially comparing our takeouts real to their finished product. We look in the mirror at our natural state and compare to an unrealistic image of professional make-up, fitness bootcamps and an airbrushed finish product as though that is a logical comparison. It is not. I’m sure you would look just as appealing with the same team of personal trainers, make-up artists and of course photographers behind you.
At the end of the day, we can complain all we want about how social media is impacting our well-being. However, what we are exposed to and what we choose to look at is entirely down to us. Choosing the right people to follow is everything when it comes to a healthy social media usage.
If you only follow professional models, fitness gurus and beauty queens – chances are, your feed is going to be a depressive place of unhealthy comparison. Have a clear-out of who you follow. Ask yourself: is it healthy for me to be following this user? If the answer is no, you know where the unfollow button is!
Our social feed is what we make it. If you want to be doomed to unrealistic expectations and a decreased mental well-being then by all means, follow the most attractive users you can find and fill your feed with beautiful polished people. The user base of Instagram is huge. Follow real artists, motivational speakers, accounts that will lift your mood and improve your mind-set. You don’t owe anyone a follow. Make steps towards a healthier social feed today.