Help! I feel so self-conscious looking at my favourite idols on Instagram. What do I do?

Dear Friend,

I follow a lot of my favourite celebrities on Instagram, and they’re all so pretty. It almost looks effortless. Seeing their posts makes me feel really self-conscious because my skin isn’t as nice as theirs and I’m not as thin. What should I do?

Sincerely, Self-conscious


Dear Self-conscious,

It is normal to feel frustrated when seeing the “ideal” body on social media, where thinness is falsely portrayed as the only form of beauty. Of course, it doesn’t help that influencers and idols on Instagram don’t tell you that the images you’re seeing were probably edited, shot with filters, or snapped from angles that make a person look different from how they really are.

Beauty presents itself in many ways, shapes and forms – and appearance is only one type of beauty. It’s important to accept yourself and acknowledge how awesome – and beautiful – you are. Here are a few ways to go about it:

Practise self-love

Learn how to appreciate yourself and your good qualities. Explore your strengths and the things that make you who you are; maybe you’re a great student, a good cook or a faithful friend. Recognising your abilities and virtues and making good use of them will enhance your gratitude for yourself.

Take some time to appreciate your body, its unique qualities and all the good things it’s done for you. Are you a good dancer? Thank your body for helping you move and groove! Maybe you have a lovely smile or great eyesight; thank your body for helping you express your feelings and see beautiful things clearly.

Remember, everyone is unique and has their own personal form of beauty. There are hidden treasures inside ourselves waiting to be discovered.

You should also participate in activities that boost your mood; if you honestly enjoy sports or exercise, then do them! You can also paint, play with your pet, or listen to a podcast – whatever makes you happy.

Step away from the screen

We know your screen time probably increased during Covid, and scrolling might take up a good portion of your day.

However, studies have shown that limiting your daily social media use to 30 minutes or less can greatly benefit your mental health. This means it might be time to set aside the screen! Set a reading challenge for yourself – maybe you want to read three books per month. This goal would encourage you to stay off your phone and pick up a book instead.

Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good about yourself – even if they belong to your favourite idols. Ask  yourself: does it benefit me to follow this account, or do I usually end up feeling bad about myself after seeing their posts? You can also limit how much time you spend scrolling; apps such as Moment or Flipd track how much time you spend on social media and encourage you to stay off. (Moment will even play an annoying alarm if you pick up your phone when you aren’t supposed to!)

Most of us deal with body insecurity at one point or another, and it can help to talk to a friend or trusted adult about it. You can either vent your frustrations or ask for advice, which we’re sure they would be happy to give you!

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend

This was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.
Source: Young Post