Instagram vs. Reality: Why the Discovery Page is making you insecure


Health and Wellbeing, Personal / Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

I’ve been feeling like a human potato recently. In other words, I’m feeling pretty insecure.

After months of eating a strict diet and exercising religiously, summer is well and truly over and so are all of my holidays (I cry). With no bikini weather to look forward to for a while and hibernation mode in full swing, I’ve lost all motivation to go to the gym and have been eating junk food like it’s going out of fashion.

I’m literally eating a plate of chicken nuggets as I write this. The grease is imprinted on my keyboard.

To nip my moaning in the bud, basically, I’m not feeling myself very much right now. But we’re allowed to have our off weeks, right? We can all get a little insecure. That’s what everyone seems to say as advice to other people but I rarely meet anyone who lives by that advice for themselves – most of us are way too hard on ourselves when it comes to appearance; especially women (read my blog about women and self confidence to dive deeper).

I know the stupid reasons why I set such high expectations for my own appearance but I do think it’s important to share the reality that I try to remind myself of when not feeling my best. To put it plainly:

I’m not a supermodel

Surprising, right? I figured this out when I was doing some shopping for Halloween costumes and realised I didn’t quite pull off the outfits as well as the women in the photos.

But seriously, sometimes when I’m in bed at night scrolling endlessly through Instagram photos of women with unachievable bodies and flawless skin (that are all annoyingly suggested to me on my personalised news feed), it’s easy to forget that it’s completely OK that I don’t look like them. Neither does 95% of the female population – so why am I (along with so many others) comparing myself to them?

Instagram is far from reality

Every photo on Instagram has some sort of reality behind it that nobody would ever know about. How much fun do you think people are actually having in real life? How many photos do you reckon people take until they get the perfect shot? I’ve been guilty of this on many occasions, but here’s one of my top examples:

Instagram: Feeling happy, fit and healthy on holiday in Mallorca

Reality: Drank 3 bottles of rosé yesterday, just this minute spewed my guts up, taking the photo opportunity while I am dehydrated AF and abs are peeking through

Sometimes I think I divulge too many embarrassing things about myself on these posts, but you catch my drift – not everything is as it seems ?

What’s more, the photos we tend to see are all made to look better with good angles, filters, Photoshop and any other editing tools people can get their hands on. We’re all at it now – admittedly I use FaceTune on my photos; in fact, it’s actually quite sad that now I even feel I have to live up to the perfected version of myself whenever I upload a new photo to Instagram. But I suppose on the upside if you’re feeling ugly you can easily put your photo into an app and turn yourself into Kim Kardashian at a one-off cost of £4 (OK I kind of missed the point here, didn’t I?).

Nobody looks good all the time

Back to my Instagram vs. reality point – always remember that nobody posts photos of themselves when they look bad. It’s basically a highlight reel to show ourselves at our best. If I were to update you all with photos of myself during my week at work you would be blessed with shots of me looking like Miss Trunchbull from Matilda with my hair in a bun having not washed it for 6 days. Instead I just save my uploads for when I have actually washed and put make up on – oh if only you could see the truth!

For all of the women (and men) out there who have been trawling through Instagram and feeling nothing but insecure and inferior – you are not alone. But I urge you – if you’re feeling that shit – just spend a little less time on the Discovery Page and more time discovering the great things about yourself.

And if the winter blues have got you down and like me you’re feeling about the same level as the poo emoji – remember not to be too hard on yourself if you’ve had one too many McDonald’s (and Chinese takeaway and ice cream and cake and Haribos and crisps and dip etc. etc. etc. etc.) this week. Nobody’s perfect, so let’s try not to compare ourselves to people we don’t even know.

If you’d like to find out more about me, my writing, or how I’ve managed to eat 16 meals a day for the past 3 weeks and not explode, get in touch at hello@katebrown.blog.

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