live your life in person, not in a social media post

Live Your Life In Person, Not In A Social Media Post

When did Instagram become who has the best life?

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Social media is a huge part of everyone's life nowadays. When walking to class everyone is on their phones listening to music, texting, and mindlessly scrolling through social media. This has been happening ever since people started getting iPhones but I realized that mindless walking during college. This summer, I realized the effects of what social media has on us all: comparing.

This summer, lots of college students are busy. The effort to get ahead in school or to make as much as humanly possible for the next school year. The routine is to get up, work, and repeat. Some take on summer classes along with a full-time job. After a long day at work, I hop on Instagram because... well because that's just the thing to do. This led me to picture-perfect poses with excellent filters complimenting the girl's skin tone, her perfect bikini body, and a soft smile. It looks like they could be on the cover of a fashion magazine. This isn't just one picture.

This is a whole feed full of people getting the perfect lighting and the clearest picture.

After working a long shift at work, I often sit there wondering, "how do they have time to do all of this? Don't they work?" You may be getting a decent paycheck but what happened to summer memories on the water or spending summer nights out with your family around a campfire? So while I sit there on my phone, I get a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). There are not enough hours in the day and not enough weeks of summer to do all that you want to do in the summer.

Not only do you fear you aren't doing enough, but that you don't look good enough. You see a photo of a girl with a gorgeous body in a swimsuit facing a body of water with the sun setting in the background. You think, "I wish I was that pretty... she is so skinny, I could never get to that size... I wish I had her life, it seems perfect..." Here is your wakeup call: No one's life is perfect.

See also: Instagram Is Hands Down The Worst Social Media Of 2018, But It's Not The Platform's Fault

Instagram feeds this thought that I have to look good to post a picture. I have to have the right look or the right lighting to get the most likes. So that people will notice me. WRONG. We should not be putting in so much effort to look good for others who, it is possible, you have never even spoken to.

We look for the approval of Instagram likes because it shows that you had one of the best pictures on their feed or you looked the best.

I, for one, am still guilty of highlighting the best features of myself. I know lots of girls who go to extremes to look good and get the perfect filter or the perfect caption. I know girls who will say, "Like my Instagram picture!" It gives them the confidence that they are doing life right. Live your life just the way you want to. Don't look for others approval online. When did Instagram become who is living the best life? The one you have is great.

For those who made serious bank this summer, good for you! You may not have had the time to do everything you want, but you still got a break from the stress and work that is school. Live your life the way it is without documenting it. Don't compare yourself to others because you made the most out of your summer in your own way.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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7 Things To Do This Summer When You Run Out Of Ideas

The summertime is about creating memories and activities, such as bowling and tie-dying, does that by involving family and friends.

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Some of these ideas may appear simple, but they generate a lot of fun and memories. Sometimes the smallest things have the most significant impact. The summertime is about creating memories and activities, such as bowling and tie-dying, does that by involving family and friends.

1. Night swimming

Hopefully, among your friend group, someone has a pool or possibly a beach or lake house. Night swimming is always fun during summer because you do not freeze when you get out of the pool, and it almost seems like you are breaking the rules. I find the best memories are made when you are with friends at night, and the conversations change some regular chit-chats to in-depth dialogues about everything from our futures to conspiracy theories. Night swimming combines the joy that swimming in the summertime brings and the memories from in-depth conversations with friends.

2. Bowling

I know bowling appears to be a basic but anything can be fun depending on who you surround yourself with. For instance, at bowling alleys near my hometown, they do midnight bowling, which everyone tends to do for their birthdays and after dances. Once again, this activity incorporates the deep conversations that create memories with friends due to the time it occurs. Bowling can also be fun because you do not just have to bowl. At most places, you can also play arcade games, which creates more memories based on the wins and failures of everyone.

3. Tie-dye clothes

Tie-dying clothes is enjoyable because you are getting to create new types of clothes that can be any colors you want. It is a great activity during the summer since it is messy, usually requires help from friends, and the clothes will dry much quicker. The mess may be a turn-off, but it is actually where most of the stories come from. The dye usually ends up everywhere, and you and your friends have to make the best out of it, which is the part that brings laughs. This way, you end up creating clothes that match your friends and hilarious memories with your friends as well.

4. Hammocking

You may need to rest for a few days instead of one or two days, but, as I said before, resting can become boring. So, I suggest switching the scenery if you are still tired or stressed. There have been countless weeks where I needed to rest the whole week due to an overlord of stressful tasks in the previous week or simply tired due to my classes. Hammocking allows you to rest, but you can also hang out with friends and even catch some rays.

5. Go to a body of water

Whether it be a beach, a lake, or a river, you should go to some form of a body of water during the summer. During the daytime, you can do various activities at the beach, such as sun-bathing, kayaking, swimming, and paddleboarding. During the nighttime, you can swim under the stars and talk all night by the water. I am from the middle of nowhere in a landlocked state, so I know the struggle of being unable to go to the beach whenever I want. If you are facing the same struggle, ask your friends, and look on Facebook. Around me, the state park provides kayaking and paddleboarding on the lake for low prices.

6. Watch the sunrise

Watching the sunrise is always fun because it tends to mean you and your friends pull an all-nighter the night before. If this is the case, the conversations have begun to evolve from basic topics to strange and intriguing topics. You and your friends end up playing many games and also making up games to stay up. If you choose to wake up the day of, everyone can make a big breakfast and head out to watch. Baking and cooking with family and friends always create memories due to the messes made and the creations that are made. So, seeing a sunrise, itself, is beautiful but if you set up activities surrounding it and invite family and friends, it becomes memorable.

7. Find a job

Look, if all else fails, try finding a job. I know working during the summer is a drag because I worked at a grocery store all last summer. However, if you can not find anything else to do, it will not hurt filling your time with making money.

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