Social media has become in its own way, a way to advertise yourself to the world. Everyone has a certain image they want to put out there, and slowly we've come to realize how harmful these so-called perfect images can be on people's self-esteem and mental state. So, the question has become how can we cultivate images of ourselves that we like without forcing perfection or portraying our lives as something they're not?
In looking at my own experiences and views on social media, one big step I took was making my Instagram profile private and honing in less on followers and likes. Before, I saw no point in being private, and I don't think it's a necessary step everyone should take. I found for myself, however, making my profile private and being able to limit the audience to that profile made posting more meaningful to me.
I found myself posting more things then I usually would, as it felt less about likes or follows and more about posting things I wanted my friends and family to see. In turn, the follower and like count on my profile became less of a big deal to me, and I felt more at ease with the things I could and would want to post.
In turn, when it came to posting I found myself reaching less for selfies, and more for pictures of experiences and meaningful life events, which to me always felt more prideful. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of a good selfie, and it is always a confidence boost to have your friends and family hype up a picture of yourself you thought was cute.
When I started posting more though, I found myself wanting to see less of my face on my profile and more of memories I treasured and those I loved. That meant more throwback pictures with my family, ones I had taken of friends and my boyfriend to celebrate them, and pictures of places I had been lucky enough to travel to. Having those pictures felt more fulfilling and more like a comprehensive portrait of myself then a bunch of selfies ever did.
I also felt compelled to "clean my feed," as it felt so cluttered and full of profiles and accounts that I no longer wanted to follow. Taking the time to unfollow accounts and figure out why I wanted to unfollow felt silly, but overall, I felt making sure to have a feed where I could feel positive scrolling and seeing posts was nice. I no longer had negative comments pop up in my head whenever I scrolled, and it felt like for the first time in a long time, I was using social media correctly.
Everyone has their own approach and interpretation of how to use and understand social media, and I truly had to take the time personally to find my own. Even though I have still chosen to make my profile private, I would have no issue making it public because I am proud of the posts I have put on there, and how they reflect me as a person. I think at the end of the day, that's the kind of healthy image we should all aim for with our social media. A profile that reflects who we are while maintaining a good level of honesty and self-understanding is a profile that I believe we would all be proud to put out to the world.