You hold your phone up at the perfect angle to make sure the double chins don’t show, that the light reflects in your eyes to produce just the right color blue. You use a filter that smooths your skin and tools that erase that blemish that no one would notice, but you do, so it must go.
What would people think if they saw your imperfections? You post the best of the 31 takes you have captured and put something like, “Ugh. I don’t look good today!” or “Feeling myself! Happy Friday!” Then you sit back and wait for the likes and compliments to start rolling in.
With each small blue thumbs up or red heart or comment notification, you feel validated and important. They like me! They really like me! But what if they don’t? You check your photo, obsessively refreshing the page to see if the one like has multiplied to five or even just two. But it hasn’t. You feel ugly and as though no one cares.
Why are they not telling you that you look pretty? Or that your eyes are perfection? The photo has been up for 30 minutes! Why is no one responding? Disheartened and deflated, you delete the photo. They just confirmed what you felt, you are not worth liking. Welcome to self worth in 2019.
It seems to many that their worth and esteem lies within how many likes, retweets or upvotes they receive. I can say this because I have done it myself. There have been times I’ve posted a photo I thought I looked super adorable in and it got three likes within an hour. Three likes? Only three people like me?? WELL SCREW Y’ALL I’M DELETING IT BECAUSE YOU DON’T DESERVE TO STARE AT MY ADORABLENESS IF YOU AIN’T GOING TO APPRECIATE IT!!! That is not an exaggeration. That is social media reality. It is affecting our mental health whether we see it, deny it or acknowledge it.
We spend so much time picking the right filter and strategically making the photo look flawless, then when it is not recognized by our peers, we feel ignored and unattractive. Why do our lives revolve around how many likes we get on a social media platform? Why is our popularity and status determined by the numbers rising on a typed post surrounded by cats, memes and “fake news”?
Think about it. Self-worth is no longer acquired by how well we do in school or how hard we work or dressing up and looking hot for ourselves. We have to share everything. We could feel super proud of ourselves and sexy AF in that new dress, but until the world knows about it and people on the other side of a screen approve of it, it means nothing. We put on a facade to the world and attend an online masquerade party every single day. I know. I do it too. But I am here to tell you that your happiness, worth, achievements and beauty do not fall upon a little thumb on a piece of technology.
It is okay to not be perfect. And here is a hard to swallow pill, you never will be perfect. I hate to tell you that, but you won’t. But who wants to be perfect anyway? If you are perfect, you stop learning and growing, and then what? By playing perfect, who exactly are you trying to impress? Who are you trying to prove yourself to? Or are you trying to prove something to yourself? Remember, there was a time when Facebook, Instagram and Twitter didn’t exist, but did you stop existing? Did you stop being an amazing human being just because it wasn’t on the Internet? No. You are an amazing human being because you are an amazing human being.
We need to stop staring into a screen to gain approval and start staring into a mirror. That is where you get your approval. That is where you get your worth. That is where you get your acceptance. “Like” yourself. “Share” your love. It is a hell of a lot more fulfilling.