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Are social media making us insecure?

I’m going home from work, I pull out the phone from my pocket and I start scrolling Instagram. Once more I see the perfectly cropped pictures with candy filters. I’m attacked from all sides with posts about healthy living and exercises that actually give you a flat stomach. I look at the wide smiles of people with perfectly sculpted bodies. I realize it’s been a month since my last visit at the gym. I start to feel guilty. I realize it’s yet another time when social media made me feel insecure.

Healthy lifestyle – expectations vs reality

I will go to the gym 3 times a week. I will run 25 km every weekend. I will eat more vegetables and cut out fast food. Sounds familiar? Every now and then these ambitious thoughts pop into my head. Unfortunately, soon enough I have to confront them with the sad reality. Once more I have too much going on and I work overtime. I don’t sleep enough, drink too much coffee and eat a cold dinner in front of the computer. And when I finally have a day off, I lie down under a blanket and catch up on criminal shows. I drink beer, eat chips with paprica and realize I failed myself once again.

Once more I set up goals for myself and did not manage to reach them. I try to excuse myself, saying I had a really tough week and a lot to do, that I deserve a break. But wait… why am I excusing myself? Why am I blaming myself for simply having different priorities? Why do I constantly feel like I’m not doing enough and not trying hard enough? I mean, I had to take care of the things that were the most important to me at that time. So why am I upset with myself? My train of thought is interrupted by my phone’s vibrations. New notifications are flooding in. I’m unlocking my phone and the next thing I know, I’m browsing my friends’ instastories. And I suddenly know the answers to these burning questions.

Fit people – flexing muscles and perfect silhouettes

Beautiful women with long legs in colorful leggins. Men flexing their biceps in the mirror of a high-end gym. A photorelation from a marathon and sharing a new record on the jogging app. High-fiving a personal trainer, the newest Adidas model, a diet salad and a protein shake. I browse photos and relations of people I follow and I realize why am I mad at myself. I realize that I fell into the trap of social media yet again. I compare my life to this virtual world, the idealized way of living that almost every Instagram user tries to create.

I am aware that they are people just like me. That they have problems, bad days and moments of self-doubt. I know that very well. But you can’t really see it on social media. It’s a place that’s supposed to be nice and pleasant. Everyone should be beautiful, talented and fulfilled. After all, their life is a perfect puzzle, composed of happy moments. That’s how it works and it’s hard to fight it. After all, most of us does that, even me. I carefully choose which photos to upload. I want to show off my best side and get as many hearts as I can. Does it pay off? I don’t know, I think not. Maybe it gives me a bit of satisfaction and a short-lived (and illusory) confidence boost. Nothing more. Then why do all these things I see have such an impact on my mood? After all, I know it’s not an authentic 1:1 picture of someone’s life. But despite that awareness looking at flexing muscles and thin waists makes me very angry and incredibly jealous. Subconsciously I want to look like these sculpted fit people. Despite the fact that, objectively speaking, it doesn’t matter to me all that much.

The fake picture of life in social media.

When we compare our “gray reality” with the beautiful, colorful posts we see on social media, we can feel a whole array of negative emotions. I myself got mad, sad or dismayed many times while staring at my phone screen. Breathtaking views from foreign countries, pretty people in exclusive places and vegan desserts in fashionable cafes turn into a crowd and noise in public transport, with ugly skyscrapers behind dirty windows. The disparity between our life and the digital one can be demotivating. Looking through the content posted on social media, we can start to lose our touch with reality. We start to believe that this is how life should look like. We should be successful people, who always have the time to spend with their loved ones and they are spending it actively. Moreover, they reach all their goals, they exercise regularly, eat healthy, travel and learn constantly. They are consistent, confident, fearless.

Sure, I know many ambitious and well-organized people that lead happy lives. But they aren’t perfect and their life is not a walk in the park. I try to keep my life balanced and in check, to find the time to do all the stuff that’s important to me. But I think anyone will agree with me when I say that it’s hard, and nearly impossible at times. Sometimes you have to nearly stand on your head to keep all the areas of your life in check and stick to your schedule. There are numerous times, when you have to resign from something. SOmetimes our plans simply don’t work out or we trip over something trivial. But I think there is nothing wrong about that. After all, we’re all just humans and we fail from time to time. We aren’t some superheroes that always have to succeed. We should remember that, especially when we go too far with comparing ourselves to the happy faces seen on the internet.

Social media platforms are a great thing, provided we can use it in a healthy way. We can look for inspiration, follow people that we like and look up to, look at pretty things and pretty places. But we have to remember that the real life is happening all around us, not on the smartphone screen. We have to discern between the virtual reality and the real world and be careful to not fall into the trap. Social media are supposed to be fun, not frustrating or causing insecurities or guilt. Don’t let this candy world mess with your head and take away your happiness.

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