According to recent studies, 3 billion people, around 40% of the world’s population use social media. On average, we are spending 2 hours everyday sharing, liking and updating these platforms.
The problem with social media platforms like Instagram is that people are living these unattainable influencer lifestyles that are “perfect” in contrast to the standard lifestyle that most people live. The issue stems from the fact that companies are putting budget behind these perfect people living perfect lives which makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong and should be living lavishly and spending money to look good on social media.
People keep trying to tell us not to look to Instagram for life advice and inspiration as only bad things can come from it. It’s time for a change of perspective. It’s time to realize it isn’t the platform’s fault that people are feeling this way - it’s their own attitude towards it. With a simple outlook adjustment, you can see the beauty and uniqueness that Instagram has to offer, especially when it comes to body image. Join in on the action and empower a more positive perspective on self-perception and self-worth using the most powerful influence you can! Here’s some ways to help:
Collaborate With Friends + Family
Changing your outlook on body image is not something you can do yourself. Consider asking your friends and family for help. In this day and age, where most people have an Instagram account, it should be fairly easy to collaborate. You can post images and stories of how you support each other and your differences. Harmonious relationships with loved ones and support is just the type of thing your followers need to see. They need to know this change doesn’t stop with just one person.
People have very bad experiences with friends and family members and this can lead them to think it really is all their fault. If you’ve been told only one body type is right all your life by those you trust and care about, you’re bound to believe it’s true. Showing others that your close ones support you and that you support them can make them realize they were just surrounded by negative people, and that there’s nothing actually wrong with them. The more differences you show and encourage, the better!
Natural + Beautiful Self
If you aim to encourage people to be themselves, you have to start with yourself. What’s wrong with a freckled face, or a few pimples, or chapped lips? So what if your eyelashes aren’t ridiculously long and your cheeks rosy pink? Do you really need to change the shape of your face with makeup? Don’t cover up just to fit in and support these insane and completely ludicrous beauty standards.
Covering your imperfections just makes you lose yourself in the crowd. We’re beautiful because each one of us has something unique they can show the world, not because we all look the same. Show your followers that you believe in yourself and them by not conforming to make up trends and filtered images. Your face is beautiful because it’s yours, not because you paint it!
Inspire Others With Positive Messaging
Empowerment comes from more than just posting images. Sometimes people need to read they’re valued and that they have worth in order to start believing it. Of course, your followers won’t change their outlook just with one motivational message, but it might push them in the right direction. At the very least, they’ll know they have some support. Being who you are is always tough, and having just one friendly face in the crowd can help bring out your full potential.
Tell your followers nothing’s wrong with them just because they’re a size bigger or have different features than what society thinks they should have. Encourage them to stay on their journeys of acquiring health, and make them realize their self-worth comes from within. It’s a tough and long road ahead, but even just being there to talk to them will encourage a more positive perspective.
Don’t Shy Away From Full-body Selfies
People tend to avoid posting full body selfies because they don’t feel confident enough, especially if they weigh a few pounds more than they think they should. Isn’t it odd how we only see people who look like top models post full body pictures? It’s no wonder we only perceive this body type as desirable and valuable. The feeds over-flooded with images of only one body type just breed more insecurities.
Instead of looking at others and feeling bad, adopt the perspective world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr Ross Farhadieh has on bodies: “In my eyes, every person has their own unique beauty, both inside and out. With any good painting, the soul of the artist is hidden in the brushstrokes. Just think of paintings by Raphael, Rubin, Titian… Similarly, our faces and bodies form the canvas within which our soul and essence resides”. Don’t hide the beautiful canvas that is your body, and instead encourage others to be as brave as you are by posting realistic and unfiltered full-body selfies. This is the only way to challenge the norm and introduce variety in the body types we’re presented.
Always Be Kind
It’s pretty common psychological knowledge to encourage the behaviour you want to keep seeing. In that spirit, always be kind to those who muster enough confidence to express themselves online. Even if you don’t personally like their style or body type, be sure to stay positive. Just one compliment can make the person’s day and encourage them to keep expressing themselves online. It only takes a minute to write a kind comment but the effects last a lifetime.
What’s more, kindness just begets more kindness. When people are shown how to be nice, they usually adopt this behaviour and start acting that way themselves. This way, kindness will slowly but surely spread like wildfire amongst your Insta followers.
Instagram is a supply of untapped power we are still to explore. Empowering people to realize their self-worth and breaking down conventional beauty standards has never been easier than now. Don’t let people who don’t understand technology discourage you from making a change. We can use it for good. We can implement change. Yes, we are powerful enough to better our society and rewrite its core values. It starts with you, now, on Instagram.
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Written by: Mia Johnson
Mia is a freelance writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.