The Comparison Game: How Social Media Is Warping Our Body Image



Does this sound like you?


We've all been there, haven't we? Scrolling through social media in the early hours of the morning, seeing the people we follow and admire and wondering how they manage to have such a perfect smile or incredibly toned abs. Then, as is human nature, we inevitably begin to compare them to ourselves, and of course, more times than not, come to the sobering and usually self-destructive conclusion that we aren't them, and however much we want to be, we are stuck with our own body and our own inescapable "flaws".


Comparing ourselves to others, in some ways, can be positive, it can show us what we would like and can give us goals and the motivation to work towards them. However, with the advancements in social media and camera technology, many users now only take photos using filters.


Filters are becoming a bigger problem as it creates unrealistic expectations for how people should naturally look and leaves 99.9% of us that cannot meet that false standard, feeling insecure and in some cases not appreciating our natural beauty which leads to a consistently negative image of our body and unfortunately for some of us, a whole host of mental health issues which can have long-lasting and devastating effects on us.


"One in three UK teenagers 'ashamed of their body'"


So what can we do about this?


Creating a consistent morning self-care routine


Creating a good self-care routine that we stick to is key in helping us develop a more positive and healthy mindset when it comes to our bodies. The best time to carry out these activities are in the mornings and evenings (preferably both if possible!). Even make a list for it and tick each activity off. For example, every morning, start by brushing your teeth and showering, then you could include moisturising or shaving or any amount of other activities that will generally make you feel happy and comfortable, maybe something that will make your skin feel nice. Whatever you find works for you, make a list every day and try to stick to it every day.


So, why is this a good idea? Well, for a start, having a routine in the morning and night will keep you off social media at the worst times, meaning you won't wake up or go to sleep immediately thinking and comparing yourself to other people, already framing yourself in a negative mindset. Instead, the first and last activities you will do will be acts of self-love and positivity.


As well as this, having this system of tasks in place, and completing them repeatedly over time will also cultivate habits and you will start to appreciate yourself a lot more for taking this time to care for yourself. You may even start to enjoy it or see changes both physically and mentally, which will encourage you to keep up with this routine.


The other change this routine will implement for you is that as you start to focus on yourself more, you will start to care less about what other people are posting. You will slowly stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to yourself, and only yourself. Comparing you to yourself is difficult to do, especially if you are unhappy with who you are, but over time it will become this cycle of self-improvement as you will think back to how you were days or weeks ago and will always be trying to better yourself.


Even if this takes the form of just continuing your routines, adding to them or even doing something physical like exercise, the sky is the limit with self-care and if we all stopped focusing on everybody else and took the time to focus on ourselves, I think we all could be so much happier and mind so much more peace being who we are.


Closing words


When we feel negatively toward our body what's important to remember is that we are really the only ones that see these problems. A stranger on the street won't notice what you don't like about yourself, they will just see another person and automatically accept that that is what you look like. This is the same for your family, friends or partners. Just because you have parts of yourself you don't like, it doesn't make you any less human or any less worthy of love, and the right people will love you for who you are and will try to help reassure you of this when you're feeling negative.