I think we can all agree that social media has taken over mostly everyone´s life. I spend too much time on my phone, scrolling through the endless updates of my Instagram feed or explore page, I snap countless pictures to my friends on Snapchat, and I get lost on Pinterest, trying to find the perfect outfit or the perfect quote to match my situation (or to match my next Instagram post).
In many ways, I love social media. I´ve made lovely friends on social media. I get to send memes that turn into inside jokes to my friends. I get to watch videos and listen to music and read poetry and news and blog posts and messages. I get to stay in touch with my friends who live all over the world, from New York to Sweden to Dubai, and that all at the same time! Isn´t is astonishing how much broader our personal community is because of the internet? And I´m not talking about followers, but about connections. I´ve met so many great, awesome, cool people in my life, and all of them are still a part of my life, even if they´re not physically with me right this moment. The internet has so much to offer, with so much information (and music!) to discover.
But there are many downsides to social media as well. Anything that has a good side, must have a bad one too, and vice versa. With everyone and their mom posting on Instagram and Pinterest, it is easy to get lost in pictures of beautiful girls and boys with perfect skin and the hair I´ve always wanted or wearing clothes that look amazing on them but would probably look terrible on me. It is easy to forget that beauty isn´t always someone else´s, but everyone´s.
I often notice girls who look uncomfortable at events, at parties, or girls that I seem to feellike they´re not a part of a certain group. It´s so easy to want to fit in, but it´s not always the right choice. Online, everything is about comparison. Everything seems to be about “I´m better, prettier, nicer, than you” or (and this one is very prominent), “I have more followers than you, so I am worth more than you.”. This attitude is slowly but surely flowing into real life. Of course not many people will openly say this, but I´m sure that we can all agree on it.
It´s easy to feel intimidated by someone else´s social media personality, which is probably very different from their “real” personality. Never forget: photos can be edited, stories can be staged, and success can be faked.
I recently deleted my Instagram app from my phone. Mostly because I really used to spend hours scrolling through my explore page, watching slime videos (which I wasn´t even interested in and, quite frankly, give me headaches) or reading through stupid overly-reposted Tumblr text posts. Another reason might have been that I, too, compare myself to other people on Instagram. Subconsciously, I think humans constantly compare themselves to other people. I think it´s normal, and that you can´t really do anything against it. But you can change the way you react to the observations you make. Like any other teenager/human being, I sometimes struggle with this. Especially growing up in the sort of environment I did (I´ve been going to the same school my entire life, starting with Kindergarten. There is a lot of pressure on you if you´ve been with a certain group of people for that long, but that´s a story for another post.).
But here´s the thing, there is always people who are going to have it “better” than you, and there are always people who are going to have it “worse” than you. I put these two words in quotation marks because nobody knows how good or bad somebody else really has it. They might have a terrible past or a terrible future, that´s not for us to tell or us to judge.
And judging is such a big word when it comes to this debate. With comparison, comes judgement. Of yourself or others. And you know what the first step to self-acceptance and self-love is? To stop with all the judging. I started being grateful for more things, things like the smell of the wind when I walk my dog, or sunsets, or flowers, or the way my playlist flows so perfectly sometimes. I know that this sounds so stereotypical and annoying and you´ve heard advice like this so many times before but try it.
Once your attitude turns beautiful, so will your life. Obviously, pretty flowers and a positive mindset won´t change the world, but it might just change your day from a bad to a good one. And a bunch of good days are a good start to changing the world, don´t you think?