Oh social media–how I love and hate you. When I say social media, I mainly mean Instagram, since that’s the platform I spend the most time on, but I used to spend more time on Facebook. Back in my college days I would go through phases where I would temporarily deactivate my Facebook account because it gave me anxiety. At one point, I actually deactivated my Instagram account for about a year because it had become a source of negativity. At least, that’s how I perceived it at the time.
Over the years, I’ve learned that my perception of social media is something I can control. In other words, I can’t blame Facebook and Instagram for making me feel bad about myself. It sounds obvious when I write it out, but this has honestly been a real struggle for me, and I think it’s a struggle for many others as well, especially teens. When it comes down to it, it’s all about self-confidence. I had very little of this when I was younger, and therefore I got stuck in a cycle of comparing myself to others and feeling like I was less. Less cool, less exciting, less likable, less successful, less pretty, etc. etc. etc.
It took some time, but I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to transform my social media into a primarily positive place. That goes for both my feed as well as the content I create myself. It was a slow process because I first had to shift my attitude and grow my confidence; once I improved on this, it sort of just naturally trickled into my social media. I stopped following people just because they were attractive or seemed to be living a life I desired. Instead, I follow people, primarily women, who are creative, kind, and hard-working. Role models, in some cases. And if they are successful and living luxuriously, they are also humble and grateful. You can tell a lot about people from their captions–if they’re just posting beautiful pictures but don’t have a caption, or worse, have a caption with a bad attitude (I’ve been guilty of this myself), I’m not interested.
I’d like to give a shout-out to two of my favorite bloggers who, in my eyes, are shining examples of positivity on social media: Matilda Djerf and Inthefrow (aka Victoria). Matilda often captions her posts and stories with quotes about self-love and self-care. She is honest about her own struggles in these areas and genuinely seems to care about her followers, taking the time to respond to their comments and messages. Victoria is a great example of someone who is very hard-working and successful, but hasn’t lost her humility in the process. If you watch any of her vlogs, you can see for yourself how kind and sweet she is. I have never met either of these people, but I would say they’ve both helped me to become more positive and motivated. This is the good side of social media that I love. If you follow the right people, social media can be so powerful and rewarding.
It’s ok to not be positive 100% of the time. We all have bad days, or even weeks. While our feelings are difficult to control, we can all control what we share online. Even though my feed is mostly positive, I still get tempted sometimes to compare myself and wonder why I’m not as happy as everyone else. But you can’t tell from a curated feed how happy or successful someone is–so comparison is useless. One of my new favorite hobbies is to compliment people on Instagram. I used to never comment on posts, but it’s probably the easiest way ever to brighten someone’s day. It makes them feel good, and that should make you feel good. If you don’t already do this, just try it and see what happens.