We’ve all done it at least once: instead of being present and enjoying a nice dinner with amazing views, all of the sudden – we see an opportunity to take a picture of that amazingly decorated creme brulee and post it on Instagram. We added a perfect filter, a cute caption, and a couple of hashtags – and then anxiously waited for the first Like to come.
Likes are a form of validation we all secretly crave for, scientific research has shown. Even though it’s hard to admit it, we tend to assess our personal value through these numbers. We feel a lack of confidence and start self-doubting if these figures are too low.
In the era of hyper information and over-sharing everything with our friends (and strangers) on social media – we need to stop and think: when is the moment one should draw a line?
The endless scrolling through the Instagram feed sure helps you to keep up with others. But it also disconnects you from yourself. There is a subtle but sneaky ultimatum for all those who say “no” to social media as they are somewhat ostracized and miss out on a lot of happenings in the virtual world.
It is almost as NOT having an online identity indicates one does not exist at all.
However, you can’t Photoshop your non-virtual days, nor can you put a filter on real life.
Here’s how Instagram filters are ruining your life.
Your Priorities Get Messed Up
Remember the good old days when you used to snap a photo so you could have a lovely memory of a certain experience? Today, you are likely taking one so you can post it directly online. Not that there is anything wrong with sharing. But the motives for doing so are badly positioned.
We have come to a point where we carefully construct our online lives that sometimes, have NOTHING to do with our real ones. Instead of sharing a moment with your loved ones and actually being there, you choose to disrupt it and connect to a virtual community.
This might not be so hard to explain as we embellish our lives through our Instagram filters so we feel more attention-worthy, more attractive, or more exciting than in real life.
An intriguing (and a bit creepy) photography art project by Egor Tsvetkov showed how different our virtual identities can be from the real ones and how reckless we often are when it comes to over-sharing information on social media.
Instagram Filters Force Fake Perfection
We tend to use our Instagram profiles as a way to show others who we are, to get more involved, and enhance our sense of belonging.
This is why it’s so easy to slip into the play-pretend game and show ourselves differently to the world – as we would like to be, NOT as we truly are. Searching for a perfect angle for a selfie may take hours, everyone has basic Photoshop skills nowadays, and picking a suitable filter became essential.
This year, a story of a former Instagram model became viral as she decided to speak up on the truth about her “perfect life” hidden behind her pictures. The technology keeps up with these bizarre trends: let’s just take a minute and contemplate the new iPhone with the built-in camera filter.
The message here is that we are naturally NOT beautiful enough. That we should focus on the beauty standards only a few can actually meet. We instantly feel bad about ourselves and reach out to the next best thing: adding Instagram filters.
Buzzfeed made a humorous story about fake lives on Instagram. A few laughs might not hurt, but seriously – instead of covering up or Photoshopping, we should take a holistic approach towards our body and mind.
Turn to organic vitamin C serum for a fresh look instead of masking your bad skin in Instagram filters. Actually eat that portion of healthy salad you’ve posted, instead of enjoying fast food. Go for a jog and savor it instead of spraying yourself with water and posting a “sweat” selfie that reflects your fitness-focused life.
Your Mental Health Might Be In Danger
By comparing yourself to others, you might get the feeling you’re not good enough. This is absurd right from the beginning; given the fact the constructed lives are most frequently beautified or not real at all.
In 2013, one study aimed to debunk the reasons and ways how women particularly get affected by social media when it comes to their personal body-image. TIME magazine also wrote about the social media as the toxic mirror, as well as BBC and other reputable media.
It is a burning issue that promotes poor self-esteem and body-image and can lead to eating disorders, body dysmorphia, even depression and suicidal thoughts (frequently among adolescents and forming adults).
The way you use Instagram filters may indicate signs of depression, and you might not even be aware of it. It can sneak up on you by making you feel indifferent, moody, or exhausted. You probably wouldn’t blame social media. Rather, you would say it’s due to a stressful day at work or lack of sleep.
Speaking of which, if you have a habit of scrolling through your phone just before sleep, it might be the EXACT thing that’s keeping you up at night. Artificial light from mobile device signals the brain it’s not yet time to rest.
In addition to triggering insomnia, frequently checking Instagram may cause anxiety and depression. The so-called “lurking” on social media – which is passively participating without posting or liking anything – is the worst kind of interaction. It makes one feel excluded. No wonder we try our best to keep posting and stay engaged.
Use Instagram Filters Sparingly
Instagram and other social media are NOT bad per se: you simply have to know how to use them. Becoming aware of how they can impact your life is the first step towards obtaining control. There’s more to life than a perfect caption, or the number of Likes.