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Social media and body image

How scrolling through social media can be dangerous

By Monika GilPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
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Social media and body image
Photo by Monika Kozub on Unsplash

A lot of people nowadays are suffering from eating disorders, sleep issues, depression and anxiety. More than 50% of those problems are related to social media and cyber-bullying. We live in a world where the amount of likes and comments under our photos indicates how worthy we are.

Personally, I was one of those people. I was depressed when my photo didn't get more than twenty likes and I stupidly felt like nobody cares about me. I used to get angry at my mum when she was trying to tell me that it's okay not to receive likes or comments because that doesn't make you less beautiful or less special. But I didn't listen. I felt ugly and underappreciated. As my teenage self, I didn't want to understand that the likes weren't the most important things in life.

After a couple of years of struggling with my body image, I learned so many things about how social media have this weird effect on me. I decided to make a little list of things you could do for yourself to prevent feeling bad about how you look. It's pretty easy to follow and it changed my life for the better.

First things first I unfollowed every person on every social media that was making me feel bad about my body. We all have those, whether it's on Instagram or Facebook. There are always some people that will say some things, hurting you deeply and that's why you should get rid of them. You don't need negativity in your life. Instead, try to follow people who inspire you, who gives you the confidence to be yourself. Surround yourself with positivity!

I discovered a little more than a year ago that I unconsciously was talking badly to myself whenever I looked in the mirror. "Oh my Lord, my belly is huge", "I look like an elephant", "Why did you eat this KFC for dinner today? You'll look like a parade balloon soon". And it wasn't something I knew I was doing. It was happening in my mind and then I was feeling sad and I didn't know why. Well, THAT'S EXACTLY WHY! Negative self-talk is something that's called 'inner critic'. And mine was born when my parents used to tell me that I am big and I have to lose weight. It's something that we should be aware of, so try to listen to your thoughts and change them to something positive.

Many times in my life I was scrolling through Instagram and I would say "I wish I had a body like her" or "I wish my hair looked so pretty". Comparing yourself to other people is the number one mistake you're doing every day. There's nobody else that looks like you. You're unique, you're special, you are writing your own beauty so why comparing yourself to other people? You have to resist the thoughts that say that you're not enough because you are. YOU ARE ENOUGH. As I said, I was a teenage girl who was feeding off of likes and comments on her social media because I thought that other people's approval is something I need to feel beautiful. I know that there are people like me and maybe they're not aware of it but I'm here to tell you - stop focusing your energy on Instagram likes and Facebook comments. Stop trying so hard to put the right hashtags under your photos so you'll get more of them. Stop researching "how to get more followers" on Google because the amount of followers you have right now is enough. Likes don't validate your beauty. They don't validate your worth and they certainly don't validate you as a person.

What I find useful, whenever I start to feel bad about myself - I close the applications on my phone or turn my phone off. It's good for your mental health to take a break from social media. Instead, try to read a book or write in your journal. Try to find something that makes you happy and positive and focus on it. Your world is not contained in your phone and you will see that you missed so many things around you because your nose is constantly before your smartphone. Social media aren't the most important thing. You don't have to update it every day, you don't have to upload pictures constantly. Focus on things around you, try to see the world differently.

In conclusion, I think social media is not the most important thing in the world. We can live without it. The number of likes or comments don't establish your value and certainly are not something we should look at as the beauty-meter. So put away your phone, stand in front of the mirror and look at your body in all its glory. You're beautiful. And no one can ever change that.

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