Social media is an integral part of society.
Things like Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, and other sites like YouTube are being used more and more every day. Some sites are pulling in millions and millions of viewers every single day.
People of all ages are spending hours every day on these networking sites. I am among those who spend a majority of their time scrolling through their feed every day. Sometimes it even takes priority over my school work.
While this has always been something I have done, I have realized a new problem with my interaction with social media: Social Media Influencers.
Social media influencers have become a huge new trend. They are making money by promoting products and putting themselves out there. They are confident in themselves and want to make an impact on the world
This is great, but I have seen a trend of declining self-confidence, not only among the other followers of these influencers but also myself.
I won't name those influencers whom I follow, but most of them are college-aged or in their mid-20s. They are taking their followers on their journey through life via social media and YouTube. Some have blogs, vlog channels, or even their own clothing line.
Now, don't get me wrong, I think it is great that they can make money doing something they love and it is cool to get a look into other people's lives and get outside advice on some trendy topics, but it also made me really lose myself.
The last half of my junior year, and all of my senior year of high school, I was constantly on these accounts. I was staying up to date on anything and everything that these people were doing.
Sometimes, I was more worried about their lives than my own.
I hate to admit that I was one of those people, but it took me admitting it to turn my confidence and my life around.
I was becoming very far from who I was. I was wanting to buy all the products these people promoted just because they looked good on them, but not necessarily good on me. I started wishing I was like those people and had their lives.
On social media and YouTube, they seemed like they had perfect lives. Everything they did seemed to be full of happiness and they never seemed to have a bad day. But who would put their bad days and the not so great parts of their lives out on the internet? No one.
It took me almost a year and a half to realize this.
I was trying so hard to be like other people that I was losing sight of who I was as a person.
My self-confidence was at one of the lowest points it had ever been at. I was constantly comparing myself to others and feeling as if I wasn't cool enough, or pretty enough. I would try something on just to take it off and try on something else that would make me look "prettier".
I wasn't popular enough, or funny enough, or smart enough. I would try to act in ways that I knew were not me and it made me uncomfortable.
I was thinking of doing things I knew were not for me or wanting to wear things that I would hate wearing just because I thought it would make me look better. I was drowning in confusion and uncertainty.
As soon as I realized that I was stuck in this dark hole of self-loathing, I learned I needed a break from all of this obsession over other people's lives. I stopped following these people for a while and I learned how to love myself. I learned how to be an individual and value who I was.
Now, still following some of these people, I am able to admire their lives from a safe distance and still stay true to me. I am not devoted to these people. I won't obsess over what is happening in their lives because I have my own to think about. And my own life and taking cre of myself is so much more valuable to me.
On some of the posts from these influencers, I see other girls who are just like how I was. Their comments range from:
"You are so pretty, why can't I look like you?"
"I wish I had your life."
My message to all those girls is this:
Learn to love yourself. It is okay to follow these influencers and see what they do and get advice on some things, but don't lose sight of who you are. Before following them, accept yourself and know that you are perfect the way you are.
Your life is just as important. Don't wish away the life you have. Not everyone is happy all the time, and not all lives are perfect. Don't forget to love yourself first and be confident knowing that you are amazing and beautiful.