In 2016, 32% of adults and 52% of teens ages 13-17 used Instagram daily. If you wanted to get technical, you could say Instagram is an online photo-sharing site like any other form of social media -- which it is, but let's be honest. If anything, it's a highlights reel and life resume that showcases the best parts of yourself while ignoring the undesirable. Take a moment to reflect on the lengths and measures you (or someone you know) take to create the "perfect" IG persona and consider this:
Imagine a typical "Insta-famous" account you follow (or maybe even your best friend) and you'll see flashy jewelry, an expensive wardrobe, make-up you'd have to sell an arm for, flawless selfies, extravagant food and drinks, a dream-come-true boyfriend, and a slammin' body. You spend way too much time idolizing them and envy their "perfect" life. They have it all. You wish you had their clothes, their looks, their flat stomach. You wish you had a life as fascinating and care-free as theirs. It takes stabs at your self-esteem. You doubt yourself. The endless comparisons steal the confidence and self-worth from under your nose. It may seem as if these people have it all, but they don't. Instagram is not real life.
That adorable and candid bikini picture? Not so candid, and probably took 200 shots to get one "good enough" for IG.
That picture showing off her chiseled stomach? She may not have eaten that day so she could look more slim.
That picture of the 3 dozen roses her boyfriend sent her "just because" he wanted? He got caught in a huge lie and she's questioning their future.
We want to present our best self, I get it. No one wants to post about crying themselves to sleep, their endless depression, or their parents' ugly divorce. Just because it's not being showcased and talked about, doesn't mean it's not happening.
On Instagram, self-love and self-worth come from the "likes" of others, and success is measured and determined by a follower count. We've been met with an obsession for approval and validation, while lacking transparency and authenticity. We are pressured to work angles, pose perfectly, use filters, crop away our insecurities, and Photoshop our flaws to create a reality that ceases to exist.
So just remember, that girl you envy on social media...
...fights with her best friend and boyfriend, too.
...cries about stupid and insignificant things, too.
...eats too much ice cream and peanut butter, too.
...feels insecure about her body, too.
...battles with anxiety and depression, too.
Their online-self is not the same as their everyday self. Learn the difference. Find the disconnect. Discover your true self -- and don't be ashamed or afraid to make it who you are online, too.