Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why Instagram Should Never Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

Do you think she'll look at me like that forever? Of course!
And she'll probably never ask me if she can join Instagram either 😂

One of the most beautiful and talented women I know made a surprising comment to me not long ago. She said, “I hate social media. It makes me feel bad. So I stay off of it and live my life and I’m happy.” I’ve heard similar sentiments from others since the social media takeover about 10 years ago but it struck me extra odd this time, a woman so accomplished could be so affected by something so meaningless.

We’ve all discussed and read the truth about Instagram. People are only portraying the best parts of their lives. They use airbrushes and filters and some have even purchased cookies they’ve depicted to their followers as “homemade.” I just don’t fully understand why we’re still allowing these half-truths to affect our senses of self when we’re aware of the white lie foundation social media builds it’s platform on.

The more I pondered, the more I realized how easy it is to allow Instagram lies into our minds where they can disguise as truths that make themselves far too comfortable in our hearts. You see, we all have vulnerabilities and weaknesses and Instagram’s got a perfect lie for each one. These lies can be harder to identify because some of them have been evading us since long before social media became mainstream.    

So I’ll make my confession. As the youngest of six in my family I’ve felt insecure about fitting in my entire life. Don’t get me wrong, I am unbelievably blessed to have the family and friends I do but when I see groups of girls having all the good times together, it reminds me how hard it has always been for me to fit in. I found a really great solution to this as an adult but when I’m feeling weak those same child-like questions like, “What’s so weird about me?” can catch me off guard.  

What about everyone else?

For each woman struggling with her body image, there is a 5 am gym junkie posting her 6-pack abs, flexed biceps and an inspirational quote that feels more like a taunt than encouragement.

For every mother feeling like she can barely get through the day, there is another crafting with her kids who look like they walked straight out of a J Crew catalogue, while drinking green smoothies.

And for every family who is desperate just to get their bills paid each month, there are plenty of others showing pics of their beachy vacations, beautiful homes and robot maids who cook, clean and help the kids with their homework (or is that just what it seems like?).

I am not anti-instagram or anti-any-of-the-above-people. I don’t know anyone’s true intentions and I know mine aren’t always perfectly pure. I do love certain aspects of Instagram and the incredible vehicle it can be for spreading ideas, love and goodness.  So I hope I got my point across about some of the problems related to social media and self-esteem without making anyone feel like they are the cause of the problem. I like to write about solutions and most often I find the best answers are found inside us, granted by the ultimate Problem Solver.

We have a Heavenly Father who sees everything behind the Instagram stage. He knows what our lives really look like and more importantly, who we really are.  In the end, none of us will be able to hide behind smiles, editing or filters. Does this perspective change the importance we place on the seeming perfection we can endlessly scroll through?

All that matters is the truth inside us and only God knows that multidimensional story. The good news is, He doesn’t base his assessment of us on our number of followers, sponsors, poses, filters, masks, shape-wear or any of the other magic we use to impress the world. Isn’t that a sigh of relief? None of us have a genetic, financial or illusionary advantage when it comes to His judgment of us.

This no-makeup makeup look only took me 1 hour and required 37 products 😂
So how does He feel about me?

He let me know long ago during a prayer that I wasn’t made me to fit in. I was to be a little different so I could find others who also struggle to feel included. Since that day I have felt much less lonely. He also promised me that as I seek to find others like myself, I’ll have the companionship of the Savior with me. I’m just fine appearing solo in a picture, knowing I’m really not alone at all. He loves me enough to let me know one of my many, invisible, personal purposes. For me, Instagram can become a reminder to find out who doesn’t have a group to snap a pic with and discover how wonderfully weird they are too.

And how does He feel about all of us?

He loves us. He cares about our physical and mental health but the ripped abs are straight up optional. He cares that we love our children and nourish their bodies, minds and spirits but hand-me-downs won’t diminish what’s on the inside. He loves us rich or poor, adventurous or not, hipster or mainstream. There is something real behind those pictures and if we focus on nurturing that, no make-up guru, sports hero, or paid-to-play Instagrammer can change our sense of self.  Can we maintain this perspective while we’re scrolling? Can we post with purer intent and the purpose to uplift? With Him, yes, because He makes anything possible. And I’m gonna try too.


  1. Beautiful as always. Wouldn't it be nice to see others through Christ's eyes while scrolling? No judging, no jealousy, no lowered self esteem. Just love.

    1. Being genuinely happy for others when you see their positive posts? Heavenly Father seems to get all His happiness from our successes and joy.... Isn't that something that we should strive for too? Instead of jealousy, just feeling so happy that someone else is happy. I got a ways to go still:)

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