I hate to admit it, but I spend a lot of my free time on my phone scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. Although social media is far from social, it seems to have crept into all aspects of our lives, and now it seems that whenever I have a spare moment I’m clicking on that little square icon which takes me to the land of Instagram. On one such occasion when I was scrolling aimlessly through my feed I noticed a picture one of my friends had put up. It was of her in a bikini and she looked totally gorgeous, showing off an amazing set of abs. Immediately I thought to myself: Wow, her body looks great.I don’t look like that. I really need to start running again and eating more salads. Her body is better than mine, and as a result I am somehow lesser than her.
Whoa. I just sent myself into a spiral of self-loathing, just by looking at one picture?
Except it’s never just one picture, is it? We are the generation of social media, spending more and more time on our phones and computers. We are bombarded by hundreds of pictures every day of people with beautiful homes, gorgeous hair, perfect bodies and enviable wardrobes. And if each picture makes you feel somewhat lesser, imagine what a devastating effect one hundred of them will do.
We look at these pictures of other people’s lives and feel two things. Envy and shame. I wish I could have what she has. I’m not as good as her. I’m not good enough. One of the greatest traps human beings fall into is that of comparison, and social media provides the perfect platform to feed this. Before we were comparing ourselves to our neighbours or girls in magazines. Now we have access to so many more people and pictures, and as a result there are so many more opportunities for comparison. And, like I did with the picture of my friend, we see these pictures and immediately compare them to us, her to me, and because we don’t believe we have what she does we somehow feel inadequate.
But here’s what I’m starting to realise. Just because my friend has a different body to mine, doesn’t make it a better body. Just because someone has a different haircut, job or sense of style to you doesn’t make her better than you. We are all equal by virtue of the fact that we are all different, and it’s these differences that truly make us who we are. I know, it’s super cheesy. But it’s true! I am who I am because of what makes me different. Yes, my friend has a great set of abs. But I have a great hair (well, as long as it’s not humid, windy or rainy!). She is not better than me, nor am I better than her. We are simply different.
So here’s what I’m going to (try) to do. The next time I’m scrolling through my Instagram news feed and I see a picture of someone who has something I perceive to be better than mine, I’m going to give myself a second. A second to remind myself that she has something different to me. A second to remind myself that I am not less than her simply because I don’t have what she has. And a second to remind myself that different doesn’t mean better.
Thanks for stopping by ❤