Does Instagram alter the way we perceive ourselves?

In this day and age, we are bombarded with an overload of social media. We have an image ingrained in our minds of what we should look like and the lives we should lead. From Twitter to Facebook and finally back to Instagram, we are tragically rated on how many likes a post, shared by a user, will get. We feel disheartened and over analyse if a post doesn’t get as many likes as we may think it deserves… But have a sense of achievement if a post gets a high number of likes. We constantly need the reassurance from people we barely know to feel worthy. Pretty messed up when you consider what could happen to how a person ends up feeling, after a double tap or someone scrolling past their post.

So, is Instagram making its users more insecure? In general, everyone has insecurities and things they don’t like about their lives/bodies/themselves in general. Unfortunately, that is the norm these days. Instagram in a sense, is a competition in many ways. The social media platform celebrates the popularity and likeability of a post or user by clearly displaying how many likes a post gets and how many followers a user has. Making it also clear if a person is following more people than they have following them back. Therefore, the person behind each profile has the chance to feel less valued than fellow users and so may see themselves as inferior on this invisible hierarchy. We are all dependant on an external reaction and acceptance in a social context.

Instagram claims to have 400 million active daily users. Now that’s a lot of people using this daily, posting pictures to show off how “amazing” our lives are, tagging friends in posts and browsing hot celebs boasting severely photo shopped pictures. Thousands of pictures are liked every second, that could be liking a “booty builder” to “house goals”. We are constantly exposed to and brainwashed with how our lives should look and how we should look on our social media. In my opinion, we need to stop and remember that Instagram, in a way, is just trying to sell us a lifestyle and image we think we should have.

Instagram has been growing and growing over the years with increasingly more people using it. Now, I’m not saying Instagram is all bad. The app allows us to connect and interact with friends and family miles away. Browse. Have access to inspirational pages of body positive people and amazing inspirational stories. It also plasters irresistible food pages with yummy recipes for us to try!

Growing up, the social media I used first was Bebo, (tragic I know) then Facebook… but I only jumped on the Instagram bang waggon a few years ago. Regarding my self-esteem… Constantly seeing photo shopped body’s that look “perfect”. It’s hard not to compare yourself.

Privacy has changed drastically. It is no longer a surprise if you know someone’s whereabouts and daily activities. Not because we are good friends to them or they told us. But because many reveal their lives like an open book by using the new Instagram story.

About half a year ago, I deactivated my Instagram account. It made a huge difference to my obsession with purposefully trying to look good for a picture, rather than for my own self-satisfaction. I could go to an event and not feel the need to take 14324 photo attempts to find “the one” suitable one for the gram. I would hush the narcissistic voice in the back of my head. Try deactivating one of your social media accounts, it’s extremely refreshing and liberating.

Today, I use Instagram. But I don’t follow Instagram famous people or celebrities. Apart from friends, the only other accounts I follow are body positive pages. Who remind me that anybody or lifestyle is good, as long as you’re healthy and happy.

All cheesiness aside…everyone needs to remember to love themselves, whatever shape, or size you are, and not get brainwashed into thinking our lives or selves need modification. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. Make the most of life. AND DON’T COMPARE. I truly believe appreciation is the biggest key to happiness. So, appreciate yourself, others, and the little things in life.