And by “vs.” I don’t mean “nature vs. nurture”, I mean “Pacquiao vs. Mayweather”. It’s a main-event battle that is going on every moment of everyday. A very unfair match where Social Media is the heavy favorite with 1000/1 odds. But we love it, right?! We love it for business marketing, entertainment, communication, and connection. But it’s tricky and today, iPhone in hand, Instagram opened, we often wonder, does self-confidence stand a chance? We think so—with a few helpful tips…
1. BEWARE OF THE INFLUENCERS! The woman with four babies and a six pack who’s vacationing in the Maldives with her eight pairs of Golden Goose sneakers and effortlessly beach-waved hair. If these accounts are your jam—that’s great, if you know what you are looking at. The beach waves are NOT effortless, the clothing is likely highly discounted if not free, and the kids are probably not hers. (Ok, the last one is a joke). But the point is—YOU DON’T KNOW HER. She might have crazy genetics or a thyroid problem or be really hungry. She might be happy—but she might not. Either way, she is not you, AND SHE IS NOT BETTER THAN YOU. And if watching her (SEEMINGLY) “perfect” life makes you feel “less-than” in any way—UNFOLLOW. Even if it means missing the twenty percent off promo-code for the hair gummies that you (never) needed.
2. DOWN WITH DIET CULTURE! Diet culture is ALL OVER Social Media. TRY THESE SHAKES! BUY THIS PLAN! LOOK AT MY BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES! Buzz words are used like “skinny” and “small” with hashtags like #BODYGOALS and #NEWYEARNEWYOU. In 2020 we want you all (especially the women) to spend less time and energy trying to take up less space in this world. Being inside a body that is smaller than the body you are currently inside of WILL NOT MAKE YOU HAPPIER. Read that again. (Note: Moving your body and nourishing your body with things that give you energy and make you smile CAN make you happier.)
3. IT IS A SNAPSHOT. When you look at a picture of someone doing something it is one (often staged) millisecond of their day. If you are looking at a photo of someone’s perfect workout while you sit on the couch, or someone’s trip to the zoo with their three kids while yours are still in pajamas at 1pm, please remind yourself that you have NO idea what was going on behind the lens. The workout may have lasted a single lunge, and the zoo-trip may have included thirty-two meltdowns and a flat tire. The fictional narrations of photos that we create in our heads of other people’s lives can make us feel inadequate. So, remember—it is only a photo. Even your shittiest day could produce an adorable, perfect-looking millisecond, we promise.
4. FOLLOW YOUR FRIENDS. And we mean, your real friends. This seems obvious, but somehow it isn’t. Do not follow people you don’t like—your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, your crazy old co-worker, the person who pretends to be your friend but passive aggressively kicks you when you are down—if you would dodge them in target and not say hello, MUTE THEM. I know there is a curious side of you wondering what they are doing but LET IT GO. Your soul will thank you.
5. TAKE BREAKS. Unplug! Designate time every day/week to enjoy life away from the screen. Go for a walk, talk to the person next to you, start a bee farm, TAKE A SPIN CLASS, read a book—whatever—just take a conscious and planned break to ensure moderation and to fight that social media addiction.
Let’s work together to make these ever-evolving technology platforms spaces where we feel good about ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. Let’s try our best to re-work the narrative and set limits and boundaries when we feel overwhelmed or unhappy. Because although scrolling the feed can feel fun, distracting, and mesmerizing—we assure you, real life is pretty great too.