On social media, it is expected that people only show the good parts. Opinions are not only voiced, but people are pressured into choosing sides on the matter. Whether through comments or simply in the minds of those scrolling through the feed, comparison is not lacking. Certain accounts, presets, lifestyles, etc. are idolized just because they have a lot of likes. People can become absorbed, obsessed, with the idea of being perfect for social media.

But all this does is make people lonely. And you don't have to be alone to be lonely.

Followed by thousands and in pictures with dozens means nothing when you don't feel accepted. Bullies are malicious, out for blood, and not afraid to hurt all of your feelings. Because of that, people can become calloused and egotistical. "Only what makes me better than *enter person's name*." Then, before we know it, everyone is degrading each other. "Words may never hurt me" … ha, as if. Words hurt and all we do is use degrading words anymore. But you see, social media is elusive.

It's deceptive and misleading.

No one's life is perfect. No one has it all together. But things have to be aesthetic. They have to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye. That means the color of your dress, the shade of blonde your hair is, the wrinkles under your eyes, the brightness of your teeth, even the way you pose in a "can-did" photo.

I've found it hard-pressed to see a photo not edited.

Reading captions, I wonder how long it took that person to come up with it. When I see someone laughing in a pic, I wonder if it was genuine. But I also see presets and want to join the fad. I see outfits and wish I could afford it. I see accounts and aspire to have that life.

You see, social media is addictive. You can literally find scientific evidence that proves how social media affects the pleasure-center of brain, releasing enough dopamine and endorphins it can be equivalent to being addicted to drugs. The instant gratification and rewarding feeling we get when using social media lead us wanting more. But the more we use, no pun intended, the more detrimental it can be on our health. Personalities, habits, characteristics, mood-swings, stress-levels, anxiety… it all changes when we use social media on a regular basis. On top of that, social media has become a weapon for low self-esteem. How are we supposed to be honorable, mature, modest, humble, selfless children of God when social media screams we should be something completely different?

The first step would be to limit your use.

But that will be hard, trust me. But, instead of hitting the Instagram or Snapchat icon, open a devotional app or "use your phone to actually call someone instead of text," as my dad always says. Find another way to use that time. But of course, when you do use social media, wouldn't you want it to be more uplifting?

Don't you want a place where you don't feel judged, don't feel the need to be a certain way? Somewhere you can post pics, unedited, of you in your Christmas pj's if you want and not feel like the laughing-stalk? It starts with you. All it takes it a little bit of courage. Instead of commenting "hot mama," maybe comment something about that person's character. Uplift their personality, not their appearance. Instead of editing your teeth and wrinkles, just upload it. Post something without editing. Encourage others by the way you live and the way you communicate with others. Be the light. Help me change the way social media is used. Let's make it something good.