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What you see on social media isn't always real

On social media, sometimes it can feel as though we're bombarded with images of glamorous lives and 'perfect' bodies. But we shouldn't always believe everything we see, says Honor, 18.

Something that I hear people say too often, and something that I say too much myself, is “I’d die for a body like that” when pointing to models in the media. The lifestyle of a model presented to me at a young age seemed to be ideal. But I was too young to realise that it’s not all glamour.

People are now envious of ‘ideal’ lifestyles and relationships that don’t even exist. Social media has created jealous behaviour over illusions. Comparison is the death of joy.

Comparison is the death of joy.

From what we see on social media, me and so many other young people are told from a young age to think that there’s only one ideal body type, and anything less than that is unworthy. That is not true. We need to realise that behind the ‘perfect bodies’ that we see on Instagram are often personal trainers, specially-planned diets, makeup artists, fashion designers, and Photoshop! What you typically see in magazines, on TV and on social media, is not real.

The constant influence of diet culture can also have a toxic and dangerous impact on young people, as it tells us we are not good enough. It perpetuates the idea that your body needs to tick all the boxes of an impossible beauty standard in order to be loved and deemed attractive. You do not need anyone’s permission to feel beautiful. You alone are enough.

You do not need anyone's permission to feel beautiful. You alone are enough.

We aren’t made in a factory that creates copies of the same. We are all made differently, with pieces of us coming from our ancestors and our parents, but also our friends, teachers, and other influences. We are all made in different ways and that makes us...different!

The only diet you should be going on is a diet of letting go of toxic pages or accounts on social media that are luring you into this culture.

Try not to focus on your imperfections because you are born to be real, not to be perfect. This obsession with celebrities and perfection is something that divides us into two groups: the people that society expects us to be, and the people who are seen as ‘weird’ for being uniquely themselves. At the same time as dividing us, it turns women into petite walking robots and men into emotionless macho machines. So, embrace every single one of your ‘imperfections’ and stop comparing yourself to strangers on the internet!

You are born to be real, not to be perfect.

The best advice I can give to those who find themselves comparing their lives to a celebrity is to remember that what you see on the screen is not a true representation of people. Look at these celebrities, and then look at the people around you. It doesn’t match up, right? Of course not! It represents a very small percentage of what some people look like.

Also, remember that you are not undeserving of love or happiness just because you don’t look like the celebrities and influencers you see. You are influenced by who you surround yourself with, so make sure those people are positive, accepting and helpful, and make you feel strong and empowered.

Author: Honor, 18

More tips and advice

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