Her Waist is Photoshopped: Anxiety from social media
I am writing this for every girl, boy, man and woman that worries they are not good enough.
Our personal, private worlds are becoming more and more defined by our online social networks. Where once we may have spent time with our peer group, on an equal footing, we’re now constantly watching a group we want to be peers with. There’s a huge difference, and it’s making anxiety the norm.
We are addicted to the tweets, instagram photos, updates and videos of those we think are better than us in some way. Maybe we think they’re prettier, thinner, stronger, or more wealthy. We want their house, dog, car, shoes — we want their life.
In our quest to fit in, the mask we wear in our online public life is becoming more and more opaque. Our tweets, instagram photos, updates and videos become further and further from who we are, and more and more towards who we think other people will admire.
This is not fake it until you make it, this is born from anxiety.
The irony is that the Youtuber you follow religiously, that size 0 girl that doesn’t have to work for a living, is wearing the same mask. The pedestal we’ve put them on is built with the same fakery, the same anxiety to appear better than we feel we are.
They have stretch marks. They will sometimes be constipated. They will have times where they have no money before payday. They feel like shit sometimes, too. They are who you are when you’re not faking it.
Those people we went to High School with are not doing as well as we think they are. They’re only posting the good bits, just like we are. They won’t post their fungal infection photos.
You are who you are, I am who I am, and they are who they are. Their online persona, our online personas, are not real. They are filtered, editted highlights. We need to stop confusing the two.
Some online masks (and offline, too) don’t come about through anxiety. Quite a few, ever increasingly, come from wanting to make money. If that girl who is thinner than you brings out a shitty juicing ebook, you want to buy it, don’t you?
Because she’s pretending to be the god of health, and after comparing yourself, you conclude you need to be a disciple to be worthy in this world.
It isn’t fucking true.
Spending our time comparing against each other is wasted time that we could be comparing ourselves against ourselves. That’s what truly brings progress, in health, business or any area of life.
Being better at something compared to last week. Running further than your last session. Not running further than the photoshopped manikin of impossible flexibility that you watch hours of on Youtube.
Our anxiety comes from this confusion. We’re anxious because in some way we don’t think we make the cut. We believe we are deficient in some way. But often, we are not.
My challenge is to avoid all social media for two weeks, one if you really think that will be tough. Concentrate on how you feel about yourself. Focus on what you truly want to get better at, without the influence from social media.
Compare your progress to you alone. And see how you much clearer the world can be.
And my second challenge, to those that already felt this to be true, is to do something to help stop the train of anxiety we’re all encouraging in social media. To help use it as a place of truth and honesty, for accepting ourselves with a view to improving on our own terms.