It’s 9am and you hear your iPhone start buzzing through your heavy slumber. It’s your alarm. You have to be to class in thirty minutes. You shut off your alarm, but you don’t set down your phone to get ready. The first thing you do is open up your Instagram app. It’s a natural habit at this point to check your social media when you get up in the morning. When the app opens up, the first picture you see is of that one girl in your English class that all the boys drool over. She has a pretty smile, long blonde hair, and a body to kill for. You get this sting of jealousy inside of you. “Why can’t I be her?” You say to yourself as you continue to click on her profile and scroll through more of her pictures. You know it’s just making you feel worse but you can’t stop. You finally look at the time. 9:16am. You fling yourself out of your bed, throw on some sweats and put your hair into a ponytail. You grab your backpack, and right as you’re about to leave out the door you take one final look in the mirror. You remember back to that girl in your English class and think to yourself again, “Why can’t I be her?”
This is a common routine for not only myself, but probably a lot of girls (and boys, etc.). We are in a constant state of “Why can’t I be her?” We never want to be ourselves anymore. We want to be her. We want to be him. We want that body, butt, hair. A lot of this is due to the effects of social media on our society today, especially younger people. It is a toxic and dangerous world, social media is. It used to just be the magazines and television that distorted self image, but now we have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media platforms. The way social media projects onto young people’s self-esteems is heartbreaking and terrifying.
When people post on Instagram, they want you to only see the good side of their lives. Laying on a beach in your bikini in Florida, kissing your significant other on News Years, a “candid” shot of you and your besties laughing. It’s always this depicted and distorted image of a perfect life. When we see these pictures, we automatically think that these people have perfect lives. That these people themselves are in fact perfect. But, actually none of them are and neither are you. And that is okay because no one is perfect. We are constantly comparing ourselves to one another. Always wishing we were somebody else. Wishing we had someone else’s body, hair, life. But we need to remember that none of that is real. Instagram, along with other social media, is not what it seems. People want you to think they are indeed flawless humans when really they aren’t. We are flawed, we are all imperfect, and that is what makes us human.
I know it’s easier said than done. But, I have come to a solution for myself, considering I am also a victim of low self-esteem. I have decided to limit my time on social media. Instead of scrolling through my feed and constantly feeling horrible about myself, I pick up a book. I watch my favorite television show. I hang out with my friends. I do things that make me feel good and make me happy. Stop torturing yourself by comparing your body to that girl in your English class. You are just as beautiful as she is. You need to start embracing your curves, your non-curves, your pimples, stretch marks, crooked teeth. You are the only person who lives in your body, take care of it and learn to love it. Self-esteem is a fragile and hard thing to deal with, especially at a young age. It is hard to love yourself, I know that believe me. I hope that one day you look in the mirror and realize that you are not only beautiful inside and out. But you are also great, strong, smart, and all the wonderful things that I know you are. Self-acceptance and self-love is a long and painful road, but I know you will get there one day. Put down your cell phone, enjoy your life, and enjoy YOURSELF because you deserve happiness.