Let’s face it, posting an Instagram isn’t easy. After agonizing over which picture to post, you have to decide on a filter. Then the caption. And we can’t forget the emojis. Your mind clouds with insecurities. Serious or ironic? Is it a good time to upload? Will I even hit 100 likes? Finally, you take a leap of faith: the upload. A minute passes. 0 likes. Do you take it down?
Look what we’ve come to. We live in a society where we validate our own self worth based upon photo popularity. If we achieve a certain number of likes, we’re satisfied. If we don’t get as many as we intended, our egos are bruised.
Instagram is the furthest thing from reality. When we scroll through our feeds, we do not see a real person. Instead, we see their good sides-the best day, the cutest style, the yummiest foods, and the most fun or happiest moments. When we see pictures of vacations we wish we were on, the body we wish we had or the parties we wish we attended-our insecurities automatically surface. We begin to feel unfulfilled by our own lives, constantly wishing we had what someone else possesses. Instagram allows this to occur in such a subtle way that, half the time, we don’t even realize the source of our feelings of inadequacy.
Most people will admit to retouching Insta photos of themselves—filters included, yet may not recognize the process as the perpetuation of self-doubt and feelings of insecurity. We do not stop to think about it and we certainly don’t recognize this as common practice. Instead, we continue scrolling, painstakingly comparing ourselves to the manufactured beauty on our screens.
Social media provides the opportunity to present a perfect persona. With an Instagram account, the girl with depression is happy, social and smiling. The lonely, homesick, college kid is surrounded by friends. The girl who suffers from an eating disorder is surrounded by food. But the truth is, smiling for the camera never made anyone happier. Getting more followers never made making friends easier. No matter how perfect someone has made themselves seem online, everyone still has flaws.
So millennials, we have some work to do. Next time you go out, enjoy the people around you. Appreciate the moments and stop obsessing over capturing them. Value yourself for who you are, not the person you’ve constructed on social media. Do not let a photo sharing app dictate how you feel about yourself, or anyone else for that matter. Contrary to popular belief, you can live in the moment without having to show it off or brag to your followers.
Because at the end of the day, Instagram really is just Instagram.
Featured Image via Pixabay