Cultivating Confidence in a World Filled with Facetune.
May 9, 2019
The moment you log into any social media site, you are undoubtedly bombarded with dozens of airbrushed photos of, not just celebrities, but people you know. WUTTTT? Remember the days when Photoshop and retouching used to be exclusive to the upper echelon? The good old days. Now that ability extends to, literally, anyone with a smart phone. We may be a society moving away from retouching on national ad campaigns, but we are consequently a society currently moving toward it on a casual, smaller scale. If I, personally, am honest, I would say that the smaller scale, more familiar retouching has had more of an affect on my ability to love my flaws than any celebrity instance ever had. Because, then, there were clear borders between the real and the unreal, but now, it seems like the real are more often becoming unreal.
As an adult, your amount of daily/weekly/monthly social interactions go down. You inevitably begin seeing less people, because life is busy and time is short. Social media has become a proxy to make us all feel more social, even when we aren't, really. So people you(I) don't see often, but know, become these strage, poreless, shiny beings that you(I) automatically compare yourself(myself) to, because DUH! We are the same! We actually belong to the same circles, and went to the same schools. It's not Emily Ratajkowski, it's Jill no-name whom you've(I've) known since you(I) were 5. It's easy for the rational, conscious mind to write off those images as false or misleading, but it's easier for the subconscious to think that we have something that we need to strive to achieve in order catch up (we are, after all, covered in pores and flaws(AS WE BLOODY WELL SHOULD BE).
So.... How in the hell do you fight against these ideas that are subliminally forced into your eyeballs every day? Well, the answer is that.... It's complicated, and that it's difficult. And it's really not just screaming "I LOVE MYSELF" on the internet. One option is to ditch social media and start anew, as a completely non digital presence. That, for me, personally, is not an option, but for some it can be incredibly enriching and life affirming to unplug. My main way of coping is checking in, with myself and with reality. I write in a journal often, and you'd be amazed at what acknowledging the unreal can do for your psyche. It's like no matter how much you think those little falsehoods don't affect you, you never know until you actually parse them out. Taking moments to consciously acknowledge these things has really been a lovely thing for me.
But, another, more vulnerable thing, I'd say, is truly putting in the time to come to terms with who you really are (which is no small feat, tbh, and is something MANY have not taken the time to do). We are forever searching for miracle products and serums and creams, and gels, and masks, and makeup, all while saying we love who we are and are content with what we have. I mean, it's kind of a contradiction, right? "Self love" is a huge trend, and it's being capitalized on in every direction you look. BUT....It's one thing to view personal care as a hobby and an enjoyment, it's another to seek these "self care" things because you have contempt for what you see when you look in the mirror.
So, point blank, what can I do to help improve my confidence?
- Start a gratitude journal. Every day take a few moments to jot down things about yourself that you're proud of and grateful for. Physical or otherwise. That habit is something you can both feed off of and look back on, especially when you're feeling down.
- Limit your time on social. We almost all are guilty of over scrolling, and IMO it's a detrimental habit, both to our mental and physical health (tech neck, ya'll). Spend more time existing with yourself and cultivating hobbies and joys outside of the internet realm.
- Really put in the work to fall in love with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the single most important relationship you will ever have with a person on this planet, and beyond that: YOLO. This is your ONE life. Do you want to squander it by continuing the cycle of negativity and comparison? To stop the comparison game, you really need to appreciate and love the person that you are. You are YOU, and that's incredible. We all have pores and blemishes, and things we'd enjoy changing, but we are all exactly who we are and that's all we have. A gratitude journal is a great way to begin this journey. Accepting and appreciating parts of yourself you were previously unhappy with. Working towards healthy goals. Dating yourself, getting to know yourself, becoming the happiest, healthiest version of you, for NO ONE but YOURSELF.
- Feed your habits and hobbies from a place of LOVE, not hate. This is something I feel that everyone struggles with at some point or another. We go to the gym because we hate our bodies, not because we love ourselves and want to be healthier. We buy acne treatments because we hate our blemishes, not because we love ourselves and want our skin to feel loved as well. It's a thing. We punish ourselves for existing as we do, and feed negativity into so many spaces. So before you start something, buy something, or do anything, think about WHY you're doing it. Can you flip the script if it's coming from a negative place? Can you start engaging in positive self discussion and begin doing things because you LOVE yourself, and not because you loathe yourself?
Okay, I think that's all I've got for now. Obviously this isn't the be all, do all guide to self confidence, and confidence is not a destination. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not, and it will ALWAYS require maintenance. I still have a long journey ahead, but I do hope you feel inspired to engage in at least one small act of self love today.