hen scrolling through Instagram, you see this “perfect” girl. Flawless skin. Well-toned body. Always happy, smiling into the camera. This used to be me, or let’s say, I wanted to be this girl.
Since puberty I’ve always been insecure about my body. As a child I didn’t care about looks at all but as I grew older my body began to change and so did my self-esteem. In my former friends circle I was the first one to get curves accompanied by cellulite and stretch marks. I remember my best friend at that time saying: “Madita, your ass can’t fit in here.” Back in these days skinny was in and I didn’t fit that beauty standard anymore. I wanted to look like the girls in the magazines. So, my vicious circle began: Even though I only had curves, which was due to my genetics and totally normal, I tried to lose weight. But the more diets I tried, the more my relationship to food and my body worsened. Whenever I ate I had a guilty conscience and instead of losing I even gained weight.
In my twenties I started to go to the gym. I worked out a lot, changed my diet to a healthier one and finally I got skinnier and also more confident. My friends even told me that my head looked like a skull, that I was getting to thin; and for me that was somehow a compliment: I thought this must be it, now I can be happy. I started to be active with my account @aboutmadita on Instagram because I wanted to share my passion.
Well, let’s say that wasn’t my best decision. Do you have your phone here right now? Let’s check your Instagram! Depending on who you follow, some of the post you see now must be from your friends, other content is maybe from girls you like to follow for “inspiration,” who are just perfect in any way possible. My feed in these days was full of these girls. And even though I gained a bit of my confidence through working out, I started to compare myself. My skin wasn’t that flawless. My body wasn’t that trained. Their life seemed to be so much better than my own and I wanted to be just like them: perfect, happy and popular.
I discovered an app which could edit my body, my skin and somehow also the life I was showing on Instagram the way I wanted it to be. Suddenly I was, in my eyes, this perfect girl. But the more I edited myself online, the more I was unhappy with myself in real life.
I knew: My social media alter ego was something I could never achieve in reality.
One morning, when I edited my pictures as usual but wasn’t satisfied with one of them, I cried my heart out. I felt so unhappy and this was the first time that I asked myself: “Does Instagram make me mentally ill?” I realized something had to change or I would totally lose myself. So, I decided to either delete my account or stop editing my pictures.
When you have a look at my Instagram now, you will see which road I chose - and you know what? As soon as I stopped pretending to be perfect and started to show who I really am, I gained a big part of my self-esteem and confidence back. Because how can you ever accept yourself, when you keep editing yourself online?
Instagram in my eyes is a very dangerous platform. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still active so it must also have its good sides, which it does. But remind yourself: Instagram is a platform where people post the best pictures of themselves, not their real selves. When they’re fixed up, in the best light, the right angle. We rarely see people how they really are. And to some point that’s totally understandable, because Instagram is a visual platform, and no one likes to show their “bad side.” Me either - at least not all the time and not to people online who don't even know the actual me.
But be aware that some pictures are also highly edited even though you may think they‘re not. Through all this editing social media created an unrealistic beauty standard, which no one can achieve in real life.
Never forget the so called “flaws” e. g. cellulite or stretch marks are totally normal and it makes us human. We’re all perfect in our own way and we don’t have to follow any beauty standards society puts into our heads to make money. Please be your own kind of beautiful and if you’re struggling with yourself right now, I’m sending you a big virtual hug!
Madita - @aboutmadita