Avoid the Trap of Comparing Yourself to Others on Social Media

Chris Simmons, student, Kent State University  |  May 6, 2022 in Pearson Students

Blog author Chris Simmons is standing 3rd from the left in a row of seven male college students standing arm-in-arm.

Dear Instagram,

I am so frustrated with you right now. I would have never thought that you would be one of the leading causes to so many mental health problems for my generation. I remember when I first downloaded you in 7th grade. I used to spend 8 hours a day using your app. I used to feel like I had to post pictures every day to seek attention from others. I used to feel anxious about my life because I thought I wasn’t doing enough compared to what someone else was doing. Then as I got older, I realized that your app has been feeding people like me misconceptions about who they are and what their value is in life. This has led to a major identity crisis in this generation.

Now that Instagram has made it possible to see pictures of what others are doing, it makes people feel like they aren’t doing enough with their life because they may not be posting the stacks of money in their hand, or the nice house and cars in their driveway. This has caused people to measure their level of success by comparing what they have to what someone else has.

That’s one thing I started to notice about going onto Instagram nowadays. People are constantly showing off everything they possess to prove that their life is worth something: a house with double doors, a swimming pool, and three cars in the driveway. Many social media users have come to think that the person with all those material things is the standard of what being successful looks like, which is a misconception. Success is about how far YOU have come in your journey to get to where you want to be NOT by anyone else’s journey! Everybody starts from different places so don’t expect your path to be like someone else’s path.

Instagram is also where people can develop misconceptions about the standard of beauty. The study covered in this USA Today article included teen social media users in the U.S. and the U.K. It found that “over 40% of Instagram users who reported feeling “unattractive” traced that feeling back to the platform.” It frustrates me when I hear people talk down about themselves because they don’t have the certain look as some other person they might see on there. I hear a lot of people say things like; I wish I had blonde hair like them, I wish I was as skinny as them, I wish I had their skin tone. It’s because when they’re looking at someone else’s page with the 1 million or 2 million followers and reading comments on their picture that have the heart eyes emoji, they are thinking to themselves, ‘this must be what I need to look like in order to be labeled as beautiful’. But I’m here to tell you that beauty is not defined by another person on Instagram. Beauty is defined by the way YOU see yourself. It’s about embracing who God created you to be and having the confidence to go out in the world and step toward your purpose!

For those of you who are using Instagram, do not let other people on the app try and talk you out of being who you are. You are unique and talented in your own way, and you do not have to spend all your energy trying to prove that to anyone. The only person that can verify you is you!

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