We now live in a world where social media dominates our lives, even if we won’t admit that it does. A “look at me” selfie, filter, photo shop obsessed world. People often portray themselves and their lives to be more grandiose than it really is. An image of perfection, glamour, popularity, and happiness can be portrayed at the stroke of a keyboard or swipe of your finger. It’s an image that may not depict the realities of one’s life; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
One such social media phenomena, Essena O’Neill, finally comes clean about the real depression and loneliness she dare not share with social media until now. She had half a million followers on Instagram validating her presence, but she truly never felt more alone and miserable. She describes only feeling good about herself based on how many likes, views, and followers she had. This is how she sought validation, approval, acceptance, self-esteem, but it was all a sham.
Eventually, she had an epiphany and realized that none of it was real and decided to change the captions to some of her most popular “perfect” photos.
“The only thing that made me feel good that day was this photo. How deeply depressing. … This ‘candid’ bikini shot, totally staged … I just want younger girls to know this isn’t candid. It’s contrived perfection.”
I challenge you to not take the posts and personalities you see on social media at face value. Do not use these forums as a way to define yourself, approve of yourself, seek approval from others, or tear yourself down. Question that images that are being presented to you via social media and think about what you post and portray on social media. “When you let yourself be defined by numbers, you let yourself be defined by something that is not pure, that is not real. And that is not love.”
By Courtney Hill, LCPC, Adjunct Supervisor at The Body Image Therapy Center. If you would like to get in touch with Courtney please call (877-674-2843) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.