“Teach me your ways!”
Do these kinds of comments sound familiar? I’ll be the first one to say that I am entirely too guilty of commenting these on girls’ Instagram posts during the summer. It seems that once Spring Break hits, you can’t go on social media without seeing some sort of bathing suit pic. And I’ll admit it, I was one of those people that posted one a few days ago.
Don’t get me wrong, posting a bathing suit pic isn’t wrong. But for someone who has had an extremely negative self-image in the past, I have to be on guard about what I’m letting myself see on social media as well as what I’m putting out there for others to see.
Is my content lifting others up?
Could it potentially trigger anyone to feel bad about themselves?
Am I following people that are influencing me in a positive way?
In the past few days, just by a few scrolls and stumbling upon the Instagram Explore Page, I found myself comparing my body and Instagram post to my friends’ and then to people I didn’t even know. Note to self: the Instagram Explore page is not your friend at the moment. It was as if I was falling into a black hole and falling deeper and deeper, feeling worse and worse about myself by the minute. I started to think:
“Why doesn’t my body look like that?”
“Wait… have I gained a few pounds? I feel like I look bigger in my pictures compared to my friends.”
I could go on and on, but I’ll spare y’all. To sum it up, I realized that I was being consumed by social media and what I was seeing to an unhealthy level. What I was seeing on social media was consuming my every thought, and I slowly felt myself wanting to take up a few eating disorder habits that I have buried the past two years. Because maybe that would get me to the #bodgoals status. Thankfully, I had a come-to-Jesus moment and remembered how freaking miserable I was when I was counting calories and over-exercising to the max.
I had to realize that, of course, I don’t look like what I used to a few years ago! I was underweight for crying out loud and was looking like a dang twig. But back then, to a lot of people looking at me, I was #bodgoals, and boy, did I thrive on those comments. I got so much fulfillment from what others were saying about my appearance. I may have had the “perfect body” to some, but I was nowhere near happy.
I’m not telling y’all this for you to feel sorry for me or wonder if I’m okay because I still am living my best life! But here are a few reasons why I am telling you this:
- Social media can be toxic, and it’s important to stay cautious of who you are following and how their feed is making you feel. There’s an unfollow button for a reason, and if you feel like following certain people is influencing you in a negative way, it’s okay to take a break from them for a while.
- Speaking of breaks, if you feel like social media has been consuming you as it has me, it’s okay to take a break from it. With that being said, for the next month, I’m staying off social media to make sure I’m taking care of my well-being and surrounding myself with ~all the positive vibes~. I want to focus on being more intentional with my friends and living in the moment without stopping to take a pause to see what people have posted on their Instagram stories.
- Before you post, ask yourself if what you’re posting is going to lift others up or bring others down. Are you posting for validation from others or simply because you want to give everyone an update on what’s been going on in your life?
- I know I’m speaking a little negatively about the whole “#bodgoals” comments, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop giving compliments. I am all for giving compliments and hyping people up, but maybe step away from writing “SKINNY MINI” and just say a person looks good! Compliments don’t have to solely focus on a person’s body.
- If you find yourself struggling with the comparison battle, reach out to a friend or schedule a session with your therapist. It’s better to talk out your feelings and thoughts to someone else rather than holding it in! You’ll feel so much better in the long run, and it allows you to have someone hold you accountable.
As we celebrate summer, I want all of us to be wary of what we are being consumed by. We should not be finding our fulfillment off of Instagram comments or social media in general, and it’s easy to fall into that comparison trap. Your worth and validation should be found in what God says about you, not in those fire emojis that are commented on your posts!
I am all for celebrating each other and lifting each other up, but it doesn’t have to be with #bodgoals. Let’s put down the phones, celebrate the moment that we are in, and appreciate who we are and how we were made in God’s image!
Praise Jesus from Whom all blessings flow!!!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on emmaclae.wordpress.com
Featured Image by Bence Boros