Most of us acknowledge that the images we see on our social media feeds or glossy magazines are not always real. Most of them, both people and sceneries, just look too perfect to be real.
Cellulite has been smoothed over, thigh gap has been air brushed. Lights are coming from calculated angles to provide perfect shadows making the muscle definition “pop”. Most photos are taken from perspectives that best hide the imperfections that the person in the photo might have.
Still too often we keep looking at these same images and holding them as gold standards for a perfect body. An unrealistic target we want to achieve. Over and over again we keep failing to reach this target as the body in the mirror never looks as good as the people on photoshopped and edited photos.
This leads into body dissatisfaction and body image issues.
If you keep comparing yourself to this often artificial perfection you are at risk of developing a lifelong inferiority complex about your body. As if there must be something wrong with you because you don’t look like as perfect as people do on Instagram.
Depending who you are and who you happen to follow, you might feel you are not skinny enough, muscular enough, curvy enough or small enough. This is especially true for younger people who are still trying to figure out who they are.
But don’t be fooled, people of all ages battle with body dissatisfaction. It’s not just young person problem anymore.
To avoid developing a lifelong inferiority complex about your body you need recognize photo editing as common practice in today’s social media. Always assume that the perfect looking photos are either “touched”. And if not touched, assume that a considerable amount of time went into making the photo set up just right. Those amazing photos you see are rarely just snapped in the spur of a moment.
After all, beautiful photos make a more attractive social media page. Nobody wants to follow a mundane life on Instagram.
But it’s not just body image issues
As your body image take a beating if your not careful, so does your self-worth and the perceived quality of your life. It’s hard not to feel envious of people driving around in expensive cars and living in mansions with breathtaking views. Or seeing a successful person take a holiday to the most exotic place. A place that you didn’t even know existed until a shirtless photo emerged on your feed.
This can make the lives at the receiving end of the screen feel mundane and average. In the worst case it can make a normal life feel worthless. Social media can pull you away from being content with your current life. And further into the abyss of seemingly average life that most of us live.
But it’s only mundane and average because we have twisted our perception of reality.
Life feels average and mundane only because the comparison is not fair
You live in your world one hundred percent. You are in it every single minute of every single day. Boring, exciting, mundane, successful, failure, funny, sad. You live through it all.
Yet when following someone else’s life on social media you don’t see all of it. At best you only get a one to two percent glimpse of someone else’s world. You see what they want you to see Which in most cases is only the exciting, successful and funny parts.
Why would there be anything that portraits a person in a negative light when they can control your perception of them. Might as well make it perfect.
Even the most successful people on social media have mundane tasks that we do. Yet, as these task don’t match the perception we want you to have you’ll never see any of it.
Social media is the greatest hits
It’s not all doom and gloom, social media has its upsides. You can get inspired, discover exciting ideas, find a new training program or educate yourself about healthy living. Maybe you’ll discover a destination or an activity to add to your bucket list. All the while effortlessly connecting with people from all over the world. This is all good and positive.
But as you scroll through your social media feed it’s important to appreciate it for what it often is: a adjusted highlight reel of people’s lives and bodies. Avoid basing the standards for your own life and body solely on what people on social media show.
Judging, admiring and emulating people purely based on their social media posts is like listening to Kanye’s greatest hits. You’d think that he never recorded a bad song. He has, plenty as a matter of fact. You just never hear any of it if you only listen to his hits.
For your own well being it’s important to not compare your everyday life to someone else’s highlights.