Updated: Nov 3, 2019
Living in an age where social media is very much a thing, it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between what is real life and what is not. People are constantly posting about their lives (me included), however how much we see of their lives is very small compared with the stuff that we do not actually see. Everyone only wants to post about the best parts of their lives (unless it is on Twitter, where people seem to be competing with one another to be having the worst, yet most relatable, life possible). But because on one or two certain sites people focus purely on making it appear that they are living their best life (such as having the best body, house, car, family, etc.), it makes others (like myself) feel that they need to do something drastic with their own life just so that they can achieve the same lives as the people they see on social media.
One of the problems that is a common feature across social media is having the perfect body. This does not just relate to girls, but boys as well. Whether you are scrolling through Instagram or looking on a fashion website for clothes, you are going to see people's bodies that may be much slimmer than yours and you might find yourself wanting to change your body so it is just like someone else's. But a lot of the time, these images are photo-shopped. Whether this be just putting a filter on to make their skin look more tanned or their skin look more smooth; or actually going as far as to edit their waistline to make them look slimmer.
Even if someone has not photo-shopped their image, most models/influencers know how to pose so that they appear to be slimmer than they actually are. They are able to get to know what is their 'best angle' and will then use this pose to try and show their followers that they have the 'perfect body'; as well as often misleading them into how they 'achieved' this. I am still not sure on how they get away with this, but unfortunately they do and at the expense of this, some of their followers fall into this trap and copy what 'they use' to try and achieve this body - potentially putting their bodies in danger.
For as long as I can remember I have had body confidence issues. Some people have told me that I have the perfect body and that they are jealous of me; whereas others have told me that I am looking a little overweight and that I should start going to the gym to get a 'lean' body. I do not think I have the 'perfect' body and I also do not think that I need to go to the gym (although I probably would benefit from going every once in a while).
The truth is, I HATE going to the gym. Even though I can only count the times I have been to the gym on one hand, I have never enjoyed it. I guess growing up I got a lot of exercise as I played a lot of sports, which helped me stay a relatively healthy weight. However for various reasons I gave all of that up a couple of years ago and since then I have not really done any exercise. I have tried doing home workouts, but as I do not really have an end goal, I never really see the point in me doing them and always end up giving up. The majority of people I know (including people I follow online) say that whenever they do a workout, they always feel better afterwards. I never feel this. I just feel sweaty, out of breath and then it just causes me to eat more throughout the day than I would without having done a workout.
There is not a body shape/size/weight that we must all adhere to. Everyone is different and I guess the beauty of that is that we all come in different shapes and sizes. Someone could be 5' and someone else could be 5'10" and even though they are both a size 16, they will both have completely different body shapes. I guess this is due to BMI, which was something that everyone compared at school and it was like a competition to have the lowest BMI. If you were over the 'normal weight' then people would laugh at you. If you were under the 'normal weight' then you were a "skinny bitch". Some people took this as a joke and were able to laugh it off. Others, not so much. I know of several people in my year who dealt with eating disorders, not necessarily because of the BMI thing, but often just because they would compare themselves to others and felt that just because someone was a smaller size to them, that they were not good enough and then developed an unhealthy relationship with food to get to their 'perfect' size. Only once they did reach this, they carried on instead of stopping, with some ending up in hospital. Obviously I will never understand how or why someone could get to that stage, however I do think part of this reason was due to comparing themselves to others - whether that be the people they actually know or people on social media.
I have never understood why we all compare ourselves against each other. I think I would be lying if I said I have never compared myself to others, because I do. A lot. I think as a society we have all been conditioned to compare ourselves against one another. I do not know how or when this started; nor do I know if this was something that happened when my parents, or even my grandparents, were my age. What I do know is that this is becoming too much of a problem and I wish that none of us felt the need to compare ourselves against each other.
I am sure some, if not all, of you will be like me where some days you feel more confident in your body than others. But on the days where you do not, for whatever reason that may be, just know that you are not the only one who feels this way, as pretty much every single person on planet earth feels that way too. They may say they always feel confident in themselves, and if they do then fair play to them and I am glad they feel that way, but nine times out of ten they are probably not telling the truth.
I am sure I am not the only person saying this, but I genuinely wish that people would be more real on social media. I get that people only want to show the good times in their lives, me included, however if people could just try and be more open and honest about how they are really feeling, particularly influencers or people who have quite a substantial following, then maybe this would allow more people to open up and would cause us to stop lying to each other and ourselves.
This is something I try to do on Twitter, and on here, by talking about the things that affect me and just try to be open and honest with all of you. I have never seen the point in lying to people and trying to put on a front, when in reality I am actually struggling. This does not just go for having issues with how your body looks, but also for pretty much everything in your life that you struggle with. I would love for everyone to be more honest about how they feel, when in reality I know that trying to get people to do this will be a real struggle. As I said before, I do not know whether this is something that has always been in our society, or whether this is a result of social media. I guess in the Victorian era, and possibly before this (I am not a historian), women wore corsets to have a figure that men would be attracted to. I think this is something we still struggle with today when dating, as we do not always want to look 'perfect' for ourselves, but also to appear attractive to the person we are dating.
Let's be honest (and this is mostly aimed at girls), when we break up with someone, one of our immediate thoughts (after all the crying and binge eating/drinking has stopped), is to change our appearance. This can often start with doing something different to our hair, however when we do decide to go back into the world of dating, we start trying to do something about our figure/weight by going to the gym and trying crazy diets that claim you will 'lose weight fast' just to try and get someone to find you attractive. The saying is true here where if someone loves you, they should love you for YOU and not for someone you are not. I think we also do this to try and get a reaction from our ex, so it appears to them as though we are doing fine without them and to try and get them to either come back to us or to regret us no longer being together, when in reality we actually are not doing that great and even though we know the other person is bad for us, we just want them to come back to us just so we can feel wanted and like we are worthy.
I think if we constantly let others (and ourselves) put us down then we are only ever going to keep on letting it get to us and we will never move on from constantly trying to appeal to others. We spend too long trying to meet the 'societal norms' that we forget to just try and embrace who we really are. I think this is definitely something I need to take on. I know I definitely struggle with how I look, particularly when it comes to makeup. If I only need to be out for a few minutes and know I probably will not have to engage in any kind of human interaction, I have learnt over the past few years that I do not need to wear makeup. However, if I do know I am going to have to speak to someone, even if it is only one person, I will put makeup on, just because this makes me feel better about myself. I would love to be able to not feel the need to do this and to be able to wonder around town makeup free, but as it currently stands this is practically impossible for me to achieve.
In today's society, I think we all need to learn to love ourselves for who we really are and that we should stop trying to live up to the expectations that others have of us. We are all capable of being loved by someone, even though society does not portray it as this way. I hope one day to be able to not care about what others think of me and to just be happy and content with myself. Maybe it will not happen, but then again, maybe it will. I guess I will never know until it (possibly) happens, but until that day comes, I guess I am just going to have to try and learn how to love myself. This is something we should all try and do. No matter how difficult this is, as long as we can all try to love our bodies and to try and be more confident, we will be able to accept the fact that we are who we are and that no matter what we try and do, there is absolutely nothing in this world that can change that.
Love Beth xx