Scrolling through the comments on one of Blake Lively’s most recent Instagram post taught me two things. First, that you will be praised to the highest heavens for being honest about your struggle to get back to your pre-baby weight. Second, that you will be criticised to the depths of hell for being honest about your struggle to get back to your pre-baby weight. When it comes to social media, no one can win. Not the celebrities, not the social media influencers, no-one. In 2018, it’s time to learn self-love on social media.
Remember the Instagram highlight reel is not real life
Most of the time, the celebrities and influencers we see all over our feed are only showing us their highlight reel. Yes, their baby is the most precious thing in the entire world… but where’s the shot of a nappy change? Yes, that photo with the #girlsquad at the hottest club looks amazing… but where’s the proof of the relentless hangover the following morning?
It’s so easy to get sucked in — but remember these people are literally paid to look like that, and pay a lot to keep up that look as well. It’s their job, they’re walking advertisements. They also can hire photographers, professional photo editors or download FaceTune.
If it gets to be too much, give yourself some self-love on social media, and click that unfollow button. Follow the cat meme account instead.
The 24-hour news cycle and making your mental health a priority
Tweets go viral all the time. It can be because Will Smith’s been accused of not knowing the words to ‘La Bamba’ and is proving everyone wrong. At other times, it’s just Chrissy Teigen delivering — yet another — hilarious clapback. On occasion, it’s something that makes you stop in your tracks. Something that makes you re-evaluate your usage of the platform you’re on altogether.
Last September, a tweet went viral from user Larissa Pham, who said: “this AM my therapist reminded me that it’s ok to go offline bc we arent made to process human suffering on this scale,&now i pass it on 2 u [sic].”
With the 24-hour news cycle, and being able to see videos of atrocities like the most recent mass shooting in Florida in real time, it’s easy, and incredibly common, to suffer what’s known as compassion fatigue, or psychic numbing. When an image of a singular victim is shown, humans are touched and inclined to react. However, as the number of victims increase, we’re unable to comprehend or empathize with the larger statistic.
Sometimes, the best option is to close Twitter and go out and have a positive interaction. See if there’s a small way you can contribute to bettering your community, whether local or global.
Self-love on social media is self-preservation
Sometimes, the pure act of putting yourself first isn’t an indulgence, it’s self-preservation (there’s a terrible rephrase of Audre Lord). It’s putting a stop between mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, realising that no, you don’t need that diet tea. And that yes, it’s okay to stop following the hashtag of the latest world atrocity. It’s accepting that you don’t have the resources to look like that influencer. You don’t have the resources to bring an end to ISIS. Give your mind a break from the relentlessness of both social media platforms. Go meet up with a friend, go for a walk in a local park. Listen to your favourite upbeat song, or read the book you’ve been meaning to for months. It’s 2018, the time for self-love on social media.