I was never an extremely confident person. I had self-esteem issues, which I felt most keenly when it came to my looks.
Joining Instagram and Facebook made it worse. I just couldn’t stop looking at everyone’s portrayed perfection on social media.
I’d be full of admiration and envy at how beautiful they are. All the while, my low self-esteem was going rock-bottom.
Comparing Lifestyles Made Me Feel Demotivated
People on Instagram would post their vacation photos in beautiful places – clear blue waters, cherry blossom trees, snowy hilltops.
Everything seemed perfect for them: Their lifestyles, fashion and relationships looked like #goals.
Whenever I see all these people out there having a great time at parties, surrounded by friends, amazing food and so much love, the only thought in my mind was how I would never be able to achieve that.
Work seemed pointless. No matter how much I work, I would never be able to reach their standard of living. I’d never have things as good as they do.
Comparing Myself with Models Was Hurting My Relationship
I would have intrusive, insecure thoughts about my relationship because of this, such as:
“Does my partner secretly wish that I’d work out more to be as slim as those models?”
“Does he look at me and think, “Wow, why did I like her again?””
These thoughts would occur — despite all his actions showing me that he loves me just how I am.
I felt inadequate – even useless.
Thankfully, my partner never followed any of these IG models, like many of his friends do.
One day, a friend sat me down and told me: “Julia, not everything portrayed on social media is as they are in real life. People put their best on social media and nothing less.”
She was right. There’s no reason for me to feel bad about myself just because someone else is highlighting all the best parts of their days.
So I was determined to make a change.
One by one, I unfollowed every single of the influencers on my social media accounts.
Before I knew it, I no longer cared about how the influencers live their lives — because I was perfectly content with my own.
Enjoy the little things in Life
I started to focus on appreciation for the little things that I have in life.
It wasn’t a splurge or anything — I started writing ‘gratitude journals’, and finding small things that made me feel a little spark of joy in life.
For example, every once in a while, I’d buy or do something that makes myself happy.
It could be a book on discount this week, a snack that I’ve been looking forward to since the last weekend, or even a cup of guilty pleasure named brown sugar bubble tea at the end of the month.
I’d find all these small joys and share it with my partner. As it turns out, that was enough.
I Stopped Staying Put & Started Working On Myself More
[One of my more recent practice art – Copied artwork of Tomie by Junji Ito. Source: Author]
If you have heard of classical conditioning, well, let’s just say I managed to ‘psycho’ myself.
Whenever I catch myself thinking I’m ugly, fat or anything else, I’ll snap my fingers, mutter a ‘no’ and think of positive affirmations.
I basically Marie Kondo-ed my thoughts.
Does this thought spark joy? No? Away it goes.
I would repeat to myself: “You’re fine just the way you are. You’re loved and appreciated.” Focusing on that mantra, I managed to drive the negative thoughts away.
Eventually, I stopped the intrusive thoughts from getting into my head, simply by snapping my fingers before they start flooding my mind.
I guess I finally got to apply that one bit of psychology concept I learnt in university! Go me!
After I chased those negative thoughts away, it became much easier to work on my hobbies and myself without feeling pressured by other people’s performance in life.
“Everyone has their own timeline, and some progress faster than others.”
I started taking my cue from this piece of advice. After all, I don’t have to follow other people’s timeline, because I have my own.
Plenty of new things came my way – car drift meetups, making new friends (although it’s more difficult to make friends as an adult than I thought).
I also draw, write, and play a little bit of piano on the side – quite badly, I might add. But I enjoy these activities.
The surprising thing about this fact is that it’s helped me deal with my personal problems.
I used to look for external sources to blame things on. Now I look inward and ask myself, “Is this is worth fretting over?”
Getting over my low self-esteem allow me to find ways to be a better person.
Let the celebrities enjoy their luxury cruises and branded wearables. I’ll just enjoy life in my own ways.
Do you have any tips on how to keep positive in the face of social media? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook.
For more articles on social media, read Connected or Disconnected? Students Respond to Social Media Stereotypes & How to Overcome Addiction and I Went for a Social Media Detox for 45 Days and Here’s What I Learned.