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Articles > Culture June, 06, 2016

Why Instagram Will Make Or Break Your Self-Esteem

June, 06, 2016

Roseline Muremanyundo Applicant Panel member. Member since April 2016.
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Everyone says a picture paints a thousand words, but personally, I don’t believe a selfie or a picture exposing your body can speak any more than a few at best. Who knew that double-tapping a screen could define self worth? People will do anything for likes, and it’s sad to see…

Instagram posts: girl in bikini man in suit man with abs jordans lamborghini

It’s not all about how you appear to other people, but how you see yourself

Forgive me if I don’t meet the criteria of your ideal Instagram girl. Sorry for not being a flawless beauty with a small waist, nice breasts and a fat ass. My apologies if I’m not rocking the latest pair of Jordans, and my closet doesn’t explode with designer labels when I try to close it. Forgive me if I have less than ten thousand followers. Sorry for being me.

I used to be that insecure girl who would spend hours on the Instagram Explore page, examining and envying the other perfect girls. Why couldn’t I look like them? Why couldn’t I be them? They had it all: looks, money, clothes, and attention. I would’ve given up so much  for what they had. But one day, I decided to remove the Instagram goggles, before taking a good look at the people around me. No one I knew looked anything like those girls on Instagram. Only imperfect people met my gaze.

Did I see girls with perfect, lustrous hair?

Did I see unblemished, spotless faces?

Did I see classically sculpted bodies?

Nope.

“Instagram is one of the biggest platforms of deceit, and your life will be miserable until you realize: its values are simply unattainable”

What did I expect? Our problem is that we fail to understand how much work goes into those “flawless” pictures. If you take away the make-up, lighting and filters used, what’s really left? Instagram is one of the biggest platforms of deceit, and your life will be miserable until you realize: its values are simply unattainable. It’s okay, though: I’ve found that the most beautiful things in life are imperfect, because that’s what makes them special.

And it’s the same with guys, they are just as much victims of the Instagram generation as girls. I can imagine that it must suck to see that the only lads getting attention tick every box on the female fantasy checklist: rock hard abs, chiselled jawlines, dreamy eyes, hair and beards trimmed with precision. Most guys don’t meet these standards at all!

The thing about Instagram is that it’s all about trends. Remember when every girl wanted to be size two and have a thigh gap? Well being “thick” and curvy is now a trend. Let’s reminisce about the times when guys with smooth faces were considered sexy, only to be replaced by the “beard gang” which has become a thing, and now all the lads want their beards to be as sharp as if God himself carved them.

That’s the danger with trends: they’re forever changing. It only takes a week or even a day for a trend to become irrelevant. So are you saying you’re willing to mould yourself to every trend that pops up on Instagram? For what? What do you have to prove?

However, in the same way that Instagram can lower self-esteem, it can also launch egos sky-high. If someone constantly posts pictures exposing their bodies and their possessions, gaining likes in the thousands, with comments treating them like royalty, they will eventually think they’re better than others. We become accustomed to whatever it is we’re exposed to, so if you’re consistently reading to things that boost your ego, it will ultimately affect your view of yourself.

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“It’s so easy to see people’s pictures on Instagram and envy them, but you have no idea about what’s happening behind the screen”

People are conditioned to be this way, and I don’t blame them. Viewers are as much to blame as those who post: they decide what to like and pay attention to. Reading Instagram comments will make you realize that the ridiculous things people say could make anyone want to post more.

It’s so easy to see people’s pictures on Instagram and envy them, but you have no idea about what’s happening behind the screen. The person might come from a broken home, be in an abusive relationship, or live in a world of pain and suffering. If you desire to be someone it means to carry all of their demons as well as their good things. So are you still up for the job?

We shouldn’t rely on social media to boost our self-esteem, because at the end of the day, it only gives us temporary satisfaction. You get the likes, but what next? Rather than focusing on how you appear to other people, how about looking at how you see yourself? Becoming comfortable to who you are, that is true self-worth. Your looks and your physical strength will someday fade… But what state will your soul be in?


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  1. shpat
    July 4, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I think…you’ve made a great point about things going on behind the scenes. Me personally… I think instagram queens/kings have underlying insecurity issues. They constantly feed off of likes and such to have a sense of approval. Go out and enjoy REAL life people please, it’s limited and precious!

  2. N
    June 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I agree, although if you spend your life wallowing in self pity because of other people on Instagram (or any social media site) that’s pretty sad and you probably have other deep rooted issues. It’s one thing to aspire to be like someone else, but another completely different thing when you begin self-loathing because you aren’t that other person.

    • Roseline Muremanyundo
      June 29, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Yea I agree. It’s most likely the case that for those people those Instagram posts stimulate the already existing self image issues they have.

  3. Claire Feipel
    September 25, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I totally agree! It’s a shame that there are so many girls (but also boys) who believe it’s important to get as many likes as possible.. instagram IS NOT real life! Life isn’t about being the most beautiful, handsome, exercised or popular person. So many of them forget that those ‘values’ don’t help you in surviving. And to keep in mind, okay there are maybe a few who earn money because of instagram but wake up! It is not reality

  4. Sharon Achia
    June 9, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I totally 100% agree!! But that’s the generation we live in; maybe we’ll only realise where we went wrong when we look back in hindsight years from now… Although, I’ll never get tired of the food posts on Instagram, edited or not 😀 (Great writing by the way)

    • Roseline Muremanyundo
      June 10, 2016 at 11:30 am

      I hope it doesn’t have to come to that! I’d rather us change it now but I think I speak for both of us when I say that it’s a far fetched dream. Who knows the kind of parents and grandparents our generation will become? That will be so funny to see, maybe I should write an article on that. But yea you gotta love those food posts, making me hungry when I’ve just eaten. There’s love and hate for Instagram on my part cuz there are some good aspects of it. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it

  5. Klaudia Szewczuk
    June 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    There are so many girls who post gorgeous selfies and show amazing things they’re doing, like traveling or wearing gorgeous clothes. Instagram has affected my self-esteem positively and negatiively. Positively because when i post a picture and get nice comments and likes, it makes me feel good but sometimes negatively when i see pictures of flawless girls and think, why can’t i look like that?

    • Roseline Muremanyundo
      June 10, 2016 at 11:24 am

      I totally agree Klaudia. I’ve definitely not mentioned the positives of Instagram and there are a few. Kudos to those people who make a living from using Instagram and there’s nothing wrong with posting great pictures about where you’ve travelled and such. My explore page has so many memes and the vids are banter! But at the same time there will be those lingering pictures that will lower your self esteem. It’s a bit of a viscous contrast.

  6. Tharaka Prabath
    June 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    i agree but who knows the kind of parents and grandparents our generation will become? That will be so funny to see, maybe I should write an article on that. But yea you gotta love those food posts, making me hungry when I’ve just eaten. There’s love and hate for Instagram on my part cuz there are some good aspects of it. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it

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