It is common to start one’s day with a mindless scroll down of social media. In the process, you are sure to find memes, quotes, adventures that your friends and family have been on, and more often than not some beautiful people posting about how wonderful their life is going at the moment. Then you get up and start your day. You get ready, set out to do your job, or whatever. It is that occupies your time, and often goes back to your social media to fill in the lulls of your day.
The lulls of your day are then occupied by more good-looking people posing aesthetically or drinking gorgeous drinks in beautiful resorts wearing designer clothes that you have often clicked upon but your wallet would probably not allow you to have. You put your phone down and go back to living your mundane life not thinking much about it as you will continue this routine tomorrow.
Research shows that spending a lot of time on social media increases your likelihood of feeling bad about yourself and your body. The constant comparison of yourself to this shiny, heavily edited mirage of a person that you see online might leave you feeling bad about the way you look or the way your life at the moment might not compare to the people you are exposing yourself to on social media. But this is not a revelation; negative effects due to the filters and edited glamour you find when browsing the Internet have been the talk of the town for quite a while now.
What I wish to illustrate, however, is how one can mindfully use this tool so as to not succumb to the insecurities that social media might bring forth.
1) The First and Foremost Is The Act Of Mindful Scrolling
I know that might come across as a bit preachy, but in fact, just understanding the people you see on social media are showing a carefully crafted, very minute piece of their existence and, just like any other human out there have real problems like body issues, relationship struggles, and financial constraints. They are simply choosing to put the shiniest part of their life for all to witness.
Having this awareness the next time you see someone gorgeous posing by the ocean and realizing that they are real people with a life outside this one post can make quite a difference.
2) It is okay to be a little petty
It is perfectly okay to unfollow the people who, when you scroll through their posts, might make you feel a specific way. It is admirable to know your limits and distance yourself from things that negatively affect your mental health. So the next time you see a post that makes you feel like you are not doing enough or that you do not look good enough or are not enough. Just unfollow.
3) Find your tribe
The world of social media is vast and infinite. Find people that truly inspire you, make you feel good about yourself, and make you belong. There is truly a community out there for everyone in the virtual world of the Internet; all you have to do is find what is yours and then grow, inspire, and belong together.
4) Remember To Take A Break From This Virtual World Of Glamour And Go Enjoy A Drink With A Friend Instead
Social media is infamous for its way of sucking you in and keeping you there for hours on end. It is important to remember that one needs to come out of this virtual reality and socialize for real connections are still out in the actual world.
Although social media often gets a bad rep for being a place that might highlight an individual’s biggest insecurities or is quite partial to it, promoting influencers that might be traditionally attractive – tall, thin, fair-skinned, sis gendered. I think it would be quite short-sighted to dismiss it that easily. With new awareness and acceptability with the people in our society, with there being a bigger demand for authenticity, for knowing real stories and following real people – we have seen a rise of a new type of content creator on the social media platform. These influencers are real; they share their struggles and have pretty aesthetic pictures on their social media page, but they also share with their audience the days when they don’t feel the best in their bodies.
Overwhelmed by Insecurities
When that one stretchmark on their thigh, which no one notices, quite consumes their day, they do not accomplish much that day but just fret over their flaws. There is this need to be relatable, to not hide behind filters, but to share problems faced by that content creator and maybe thousands of other people in the world. Social media can be a very powerful tool when used correctly.
It has a reach that is unprecedented so as a society lets use this to create a demand for realism on the Internet and by being more tolerable to the people who are brave enough to be vulnerable on social media platforms. Content creator Tanvi Geetha Ravishankar creates content on Instagram and focuses on creating a body-positive community on the Internet.
Finding Hope Amidst Online Hate
Another such account on Instagram breaking the stereotype is Dr. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, a transgender gynecologist. She is spreading awareness on transgender issues and showing the world how one thrives when one is their true authentic self. This, of course, does not come without its challenges. This marvelous young lady must fight bigots and homophobic people on social media, but amidst all of this again is hope. A hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a hope that you are not alone, that you belong and are accepted and loved by the thousands on social media who see you and appreciate you for who you are. It provides hope to that one transgender person, still closeted, afraid to speak up because they feel all alone. This account is a testament to the fact that is, in fact, not true.
What this proves more than anything is that we as a community are ready for this shift in perspective. We are prepared to be open and vulnerable and ready to embrace our real selves with all of their beauty, differences, insecurities, and flaws. As we move away from the looks, the body, the filters, and Photoshop – we find an outstanding, accepting, empathetic community that has only just started to grow. So yes, social media has been the cause of many people’s miseries. Still, it is exciting to see where it will go with this new rise of talent and this new market for realistic content, not relying just on perfectionism but on the raw vulnerability that can be captured through the lens.