Summer is a wonderful time of days spent at beach or the river, getting suntans by the pool, and of course, taking Instagram worthy photos. Unfortunately, this time of year is the perfect example of the fact that all of us are guilty of showing a very small portion of our lives on social media. However, even though we know this to be true, social media can still affect many individual's self-esteem.
How do we avoid the trap set by an Instagram feed full of beautiful photos of summertime?
First, we have to remember what I've already said: social media only shows the best parts of our lives. Only a very few people, if anyone at all, can say that their summer was completely filled with nothing but glamorous days spent traveling, relaxing by the pool, and taking beautiful photos. This isn't realistic, so no matter how perfect a person seems on their Instagram feed, we must remember that this isn't a complete picture of his or her life. It's OK if you have to spend your days working instead of relaxing on a beach — this is what summertime looks like for most normal people. It's also OK if you don’t have plans every night and weekend — this isn't a requirement of how we should be spending our summers, and it's OK if you want to be inside, or if you want to be alone, or if you simply don't want to do anything at all. This does not in any way make you inferior to the faces and lives you see on social media.
Second, it's OK to not be extremely fit and in shape, and it's also OK if you don't get a beautiful glowing tan within the first week of summer break. Despite what social media might tell us, this also isn't realistic. Don't look at photo and ask yourself, "Why don't I look like that?" You don't look like that because you are not that person. You are beautiful in your own unique way. You also don't look like that because that person probably took a million photos to get the perfect pose and perfect lighting that makes them look their best, and that was the one they chose to share with the world.
I can guarantee you, there is not a single person on this Earth that looks perfect every moment of their life. Be comfortable in your own skin. It's OK to have fitness and health goals, but be careful. Set achievable goals based on your own self and what you know is best for you. Don’t set unrealistic goals based on perfectly posed and edited photos of other people.
Don't let social media and its unrealistic expectations and limited view of life define you this summer. Do what you want (and don't do what you don't feel like doing), wear what you want, and be comfortable and confident in your own skin. The degree to which your life resembles your social media feed (and it never completely will) does not determine your worth as a person or the value of your time spent this summer.