Here’s the thing. I spend a lot of time on social media. I have to be on there, to build connections and community for my work. And for the most part, I love it. I’ve met some brilliant and talented people through my blog, and I’ve even a made a few friends who I’ve ended up meeting IRL. There are a lot of great things about social media – friendship, support and a feeling of community.
One of the things though, that I have noticed since joining Instagram especially, is that I am becoming increasingly critical of the way that I look. Not in a, “I hate my face!” kind of way but more, “I wish I had longer lashes,” “Why don’t I have stronger cheekbones?” or “If only my hair could fall in perfect balayaged waves like hers.”
Like hers. I’m comparing myself to a complete stranger which is ridiculous. But we all do it. How can we not, when we’re surrounded by perfect images of perfect people? Even though we’re not stupid and we know these images are, more often than not, created, styled, and heavily filtered we still end up comparing ourselves and, obviously, falling short.
Looks aren’t everything, we know that. Looks fade, and what’s inside is way more important. But we can’t ignore that how we feel about the way that we look impacts significantly on our self-confidence. I believe our outward image strongly portrays how we’re feeling on the inside. The two are intrinsically linked and I don’t think you can ignore either when it comes to feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. If you feel good on the inside, it radiates out.
At 38 (gulp), it’s important to me that I continue to feel good about myself. I can’t let heavily filtered images on social media affect my self-esteem, and I don’t want them to affect yours either. Here’s what we need to do to make sure we feel good about the way we look and present ourselves to the world.
Make time for self-care
Yes, I always harp on about self-care but that’s because it is so damn important.
You have to give yourself some attention. You do matter! I know it’s hard when you have a million and one other things to do for other people but if you don’t look after yourself, the harsh truth is no one is going to do it for you.
Look after yourself and your body. Eat well. Find recipes that are quick, easy and healthy – there are so many simple and nutritious recipes out there. Exercise regularly – you’ll feel so much better. Make time to do something you enjoy – reading, running, Pilates…whatever it is, make sure you do more of what you love. If you’re neglecting yourself, it will show. Nourish yourself inside and out.
Keep social media in perspective
Yes, some people are just blessed with the most perfect genetic code, but a lot of people are using the wonders of technology to enhance their pics. I use a light filter on most photos to enhance and brighten the colours.
BUT some people take it much further. I read an article in Cosmo about the lengths some influencers go to, to get their pictures perfect – running their images through several face-tuning apps to achieve the perfect look. A more even skin tone, brighter eyes, even a slimmer face…yes I know, its crazy.
It’s their choice, of course. But it’s important that we, as consumers of that media, understand how those images were created so that we can keep our own very REAL faces and bodies, in perspective.
Stay positive and ignore the haters
There seem to be more and more incidents of trolling recently. Online anonymity seems to have made it acceptable to say things to people online that you would never in a million years say to their face. And it is not okay.
Michelle Smith, Pilates teacher and owner of The Pilates Pod in Hitchin, recently received hateful emails sent direct to her studio, calling her a “heffer” and “chunky”, and saying that she should practice what she preaches. I mean, really. Come on. What is wrong with these people? Have they nothing better to do with their lives?
If you practise Pilates, you’ll understand that it is about having a strong body that works in harmony with your mind. It isn’t about being super skinny. Michelle wrote a really honest post about the body shaming she has experienced in the industry and it is definitely worth a read. Body shaming, in any industry or in any form, is unacceptable.
If you experience similar body shaming, please ignore the haters and stay positive about yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. They’re probably just jealous or have other issues of their own that they’re dealing with.
Make a list of your best qualities
This can be tricky but it’s an important exercise to do from time to time. What are your best qualities? Inside and out! Grab a notepad and pen and write them down.
If you really truly have no idea what to write, then ask a partner or friend. I’m sure they’ll be able to list lots of your amazing qualities that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The next time you’re feeling a bit down about yourself, have a read of the list and remind yourself why you are awesome.
Authenticity is everything. We need to be true to ourselves. If the person you’re portraying on the outside is not who you truly are on the inside, you may not be sharing the authentic you with others.
I honestly believe that this can show in a negative way through how you look and carry yourself. It can also be tiring for you, trying to keep up the pretense.
Be you. If you portray the real you in the way that you present yourself to the world, it will show and send out way more positive vibes.
It is hard sometimes to just be you. I worry a lot about not being interesting enough, or funny enough. I’m still learning to share more of myself in my work but I know how important it is to build trust with others and I want to be comfortable with doing it more. So be brave, and just do you.
Try not to compare yourself to the perfect images on social media and in the glossy mags. Make time for you. Do little things that make you feel good and give you a boost. Remind yourself how amazing you are and that actually, it’s pretty good to be you. Ignore the haters and body shamers, they’re not worth your time.
Looking after yourself, inside and out, will slowly build your confidence from within so that it eventually radiates out in a halo of loveliness to everyone you meet. And being a confident and happy person is the best way to attract good people to be around you. Remember…your vibe attracts your tribe.
Share your thoughts
Do you ever compare yourself to people on social media? Do you have any confidence-boosting tips to share? I’d love to hear what you think.