I think part of my low self-esteem and issues around eating, dieting and lack of self worth are kept afloat due to social media. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge social media fan and it has so many positives, but when I’m scrolling down my Instagram feed and I end up closing the app’ and feeling a million times worse about myself, it made me think. Something had to give.
As I said, there are so many positives to engaging with social media, but when you have issues like me there are plenty of negatives too. I began to be more mindful whilst using app’s such as Instagram and Facebook and started really thinking about how I felt reading each post or scrolling past each image. I found a lot of images and captions or status updates were making me feel inadequate – I was there looking at selfies of women with clearly tiny waists and amazing bodies coupled with captions suggesting they were ‘just so out of shape right now’ or photos of weigh in results with captions about how awful it was that they’ve gained a pound or two in the last week whilst they’ve been on holiday and how they’re going to ‘punish’ themselves at the gym and restrict their diet until they’ve lost ‘all that horrible weight plus more!’. All this stuff was reinforcing my demon’s beliefs that we all need to look like fitness models with teeny tiny waists but huge glutes and biceps and how weight gain is so bad that we should PUNISH ourselves should that number on the ‘sad step’ creep up. Totally unhelpful.
People should realise how they’re appearing to others online (and indeed in real life too) and how they’re potentially making others feel when they’re being so negative and critical about their physique when they have so many followers who would do anything to look that way. I now have begun to understand why so many people grew to dislike me or became frustrated with me when I would constantly bang on about being ‘fat’ when in reality I was either just at the lowest point for a healthy weight for my height or even underweight. I now see it was annoying (and boring!) and may have had an effect on the self esteem of others – and for that, I’m really sorry. We should appreciate being able to work out, eat well and enjoy ourselves. Exercise should be done to celebrate what our bodies are able to do, for enjoyment and to keep fit and healthy – not used as a punishment for over indulging or just to maintain a low body weight. Food should be enjoyed and used to nourish and fuel our bodies and not seen as some sort of evil thing which makes us *gasp* GAIN WEIGHT which must immediately be lost! Our weight does not define our self worth. The number on the scales doesn’t show how we make our kids or our friends laugh until they cry or how kind hearted we are, how much we are loved or how good we are at our jobs or hobbies. It is nothing but a number showing your effect on gravity!
So, with all this in mind, I began ‘The Great Unfollowing’. I looked through my lists and began to remove all the people and brands which made me feel any negative emotion at all. I felt quite guilty at unfollowing certain people but I had to do it for my own sake. I don’t believe I will ever be able to keep moving forward whilst looking at things and reading things which are going to hold me back. I’ve made a pact with myself that from now on, anyone or anything that makes me question my appearance, my worth or my weight will be removed from my life.
I feel a bit better already – I guess it’s like a clear out of things you don’t really want but keep them anyway for whatever reason or you feel guilty for getting rid of it even though it’s not useful to your life. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do what you need to do, because you can’t go forwards whilst looking back!