Let’s face it. The “insta” from the word Instagram simply doesn’t mean the same thing anymore. Once a platform to share special moments (in the moment), Instagram is now a place to come and view over-edited, false realities that frankly, make a lot of people feel bad about themselves.
And guess what…
I don’t think it’s going to change.
This isn’t your typical, “we all need to be more real with our posts” rant. I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work. People are going to do what they’re going to do.
Instead, in this post, I’m going to challenge you to readjust your expectations. The fact is, the social media landscape has changed and we’re just going to have to accept it.
When you go to the movies, or peruse the pages of a magazine, you know what you’re getting into. It’s smoke and mirrors. A pleasurable illusion that you allow yourself to immerse yourself in (without feeling guilty about your own life).
Why should Instagram be any different?
When you scroll through your Instagram feeds, you simply need to stop filling in the blanks yourself. Just because someone looks happy and healthy on the outside, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are actually that way (or feel that way the majority of the time).
Let’s take this for example…
This picture was taken during my recent trip to Italy. What looks like a smiling, happy new Mom who is seemingly self-confident in her crop top and shorts…
…is actually super self-conscious, missing her baby, and took about 50 photos to find the one she felt ok with.
You wouldn’t know from this picture, but an hour before it was taken, I was sitting in my hotel room crying because I had no luggage (the airline lost it) and felt so uncomfortable with the clothes I had access to. I was also missing my daughter like crazy and thought about flying home early to see her.
Don’t take everything you see at face value. Stop narrating a story that doesn’t exist. Know there is more to the story then this one moment. I happen to be a bit more open and share a lot of the truth over on my IG story, but not everyone feels comfortable being as open.
Now I’m not saying every moment isn’t real. Of course that’s not true. BUT, even if it is, there are still apps out there that can make it even MORE amazing.
A few months ago, I made the most delicious homemade poke bowl. I wanted to share it with my followers because it was so awesome, but KNEW if I posted it as is (in my boring clear bowl), no one would stop to even look at it. So, I enlisted the help of a photoshop expert and had them create a more alluring bowl.
The moment (and recipe) are VERY real, but again, things aren’t always what they seem.
And you know that perfectly effortless photos you see on peoples feeds?
Almost ALL of them are edited in some way (and many taken by a professional photographer). Some use just a quick filter or color correction, but some are using extreme body editing that can make you think a person looks completely different than they do.
Let me illustrate…
The photo on the left is real (and I hate it). The photo on the right is edited, and I would never post it. But I could — and many would…
This is a photo I took in LA a few weeks back. I never posted it because I didn’t like the way my body looked. HOWEVER, for purposes of this article I took less than 5 minutes (yes, it’s that easy) to edit it.
What did I do?
I used an app called “FaceTune” to make my body look smaller and then popped over to Snapseed to add a little HDR to the photo to make it pop. Easy-to-do on my end, but by posting this, I’d be setting unrealistic expectations to all the Mom’s out there that follow me.
So I wouldn’t do it. But some would and you NEED to be aware of this when looking through your Instagram feeds.
My point of this is simple. I don’t want you to feel bad about being you. You are amazing, unique and the only person in the entire world who can claim to be YOU. That’s pretty cool when you think about it, right?
Don’t get caught up in a world that just isn’t real. Use Instagram for enjoyment, to feel inspired when applicable and to escape for the monotony of your daily routine. Follow people who bring you joy and make you feel good about yourself. Your feed is your world and the photos that show up are just living in it.
You have the power to control what you see.
Have I always been completely transparent?
But since becoming a Mom and personally dealing with a lot of body image struggles and an eternal feeling of “not being enough”, I’ve really tried to stop and show the most real side of me that I can. As a result, I feel healthier, happier and more authentic then ever before.
All that said, here are 5 things I think we need to do moving forward:
1) Every time you see a photo on Instagram that makes you question your own self worth, remind yourself that there is probably more to the story.
2) Follow accounts that make you happy, if they don’t, unfollow.
3) Try not to contribute to this false reality. Be comfortable showing your real self! You are amazing and you will be helping more people by being honest.
4) The only thing you can control is you. You are in control of what you see, how you feel about things and how they impact you. If something doesn’t make you feel good, don’t let it in.
5) Share this article with someone you think might need it.
If this article helped you in any way, I want to know about it! Stop by my Instagram page @everythingerica and shoot me a DM (I answer every single one) and let me know what you think. I love chatting with you!