By Julie-Ann Sherlock 

Everyone is living their best life right now. Right? Well, according to what we see on Instagram, everyone’s days are filled with glamour, glory or gorgeousness. But is everyone REALLY that beautiful, blessed and bougie? Hell no. 

Most of us (well, me anyway) wake up looking like we have been dragged for about 20 miles by a donkey with a vendetta against hedges. My puffy eyes, pillow wrinkles and hair standing to attention would scare the life out of others if they had the misfortune to see me when I wake up. Thankfully, Insta isn’t in reel (sorry!) time, and we get to curate it and put our best images out there. 

Instagram = BAD!

This ability to portray only the good, not the bad and the ugly, may be fake, and it sure can have adverse effects on mental health, but is it really such a bad thing to put your best image out there for the world to see? 

Bear with me on this. I get it. Unattainable beauty standards and lifestyle goals waaaay beyond what you will ever achieve, filling your timeline can suck. It can make you feel ugly, underachieving and totally dissatisfied with your lot in life. And that sure as heck ain’t no fun. 

But, if we as a society can understand that this is just a snippet of who we are, we can start to enjoy Insta again as it was intended—for sharing photos of the things we enjoy in life. 

I don’t think it is fair to blame the platform for how people interpret others’ images. It is vital that parents, schools and society at large reinforce the understanding that what we put out into the world is not always the REAL situation. Young, perhaps more impressionable people need to develop the cognitive skills to understand that no one leads a perfect life. 

Everyone has a bad hair day from time to time. We all get a big old zit on our nose when we have been burning the candle at both ends. And that beautiful loved-up couple with the #RelationshipGoals have fights and issues they don’t always let others be privy to. 

Change Your Mindset Not Your Social Media

Having confidence in the real world can be a struggle for some people. Going out there and facing people while you are full of self-doubts is daunting. So is it wrong for them to boost their confidence a little by taking a cute selfie and sharing it on social media? 

I have written a piece about thirst-trapping for likes before. But even though I highlighted how destructive social media can be for vulnerable people, I also pointed out how getting positive comments on a picture you share can put a little extra pep in your step. This can help you to drag your sorry ass off the sofa and go out for a while as maybe, that boost to your confidence is enough to give you that little bit of self-belief that you need. 

Sure, OTT filters, extreme editing and overboard fakeness in your images won’t help. But using an angle or a light that suits you might just give you enough assurance that you are not as unattractive as you thought. 

I firmly believe that true attractiveness comes from confidence and inner happiness. But that sometimes is in short supply, particularly during your period, when you have been dumped by the man of your dreams or when your clothes are tighter than you would like. This is when you need to work that little bit harder to overcome your insecurities and worries. 

My advice? Have a reinvigorating shower, pamper yourself with some nice body lotion, make your hair look as good as you can, slap on some makeup to cover that stupid red pimple and tell yourself you are the hottest chick in the world. Even when it’s a struggle to believe it, the private dialogue it sparks, aided by a determination to train yourself to think more positively about yourself, can work wonders. A change in mindset can bring you that inner radiance that translates into a full-on glow-up. 

When you build up your own confidence, it is up to you to ensure that no fake-ass B on Insta with her perfect body, billion-dollar bling and babelicious partner will bring you down. Remind yourself that they have their problems, too. In fact, they could be going through worse trauma than you ever have. 

But most importantly of all, whether you think the images you see are real or fake AF, please be kind to the person posting them. They may have had the worst day of their life and need to get a boost to continue to face their day. Build each other up, ladies, because this life is tough even if our Insta makes it look perfect.