How To Handle Feelings Of Inadequacy Due To Social Media

Just a few years ago it was magazine covers.

We compared ourselves to the gorgeous actresses and models that grazed the covers of popular magazines. Admiring them for their beauty while at the same time feeling twinges of inadequacy.


Oh Brittany, how I loved you. {Source}

They looked perfect, and that perfection made us feel even less imperfect. It highlighted our own insecurities and deepened our desire to “be like them.” Looking at those pictures, I was jealous of the lack of cellulite, the perfect complexions, amazing hair, and the tight, toned figures.

Talk about a confidence de-booster. We all remember it, and felt the pressure to aim for perfection with our bodies.

Now let’s talk about today…

I feel that the industry has changed. While gorgeous “perfect” people are still on the covers of magazines, they don’t hold that same power. Sure, we see them as looking gorgeous but, come on, we all know the power of air brushing and photoshop.

Our eyes have been opened and instead of feeling that need to look like them, in the back of our minds, we all wonder what they “really” look like, right?

We are starting to realize that actresses really do look just like us and struggle with cellulite, zits, hair, and their bodies. They just have a great team to help make those issues seem like non-issues.

Great news, right!?

Yes and no.

Enter The New Cause Of Inadequacy: Social Media

Each morning as I eat breakfast, I spend about 15 minutes doing social media work. I have to, it’s part of the gig.

I look over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see what’s going on with friends, colleagues, and the industry, and then I feel punked (remember that Ashton Kutcher show?).


Not always but from time to time, I look at what others are doing or pictures they’re posting, and even the # of followers and likes some have, and suddenly I’m left wondering:

“Am I doing enough?” 

“Wow, look at her body, what is she doing that I’m not!”

“Cellulite-free, round butt, flat abs… must be nice.”

“Wow, look at the perfect little family… I bet it’s all puppies and sunshine.” 

“Am I a good enough trainer?”

“Oh wow, she makes my 5 mile track workout look like a 1 mile stroll.” 

“Holy moly, how does someone look that great when they first wake-up?” 

You get the point.

Humans, by nature, are comparative creatures. It’s one of the first things we are taught in grade school (which is better the apple or the plum?).

And just when we stopped comparing ourselves to celebs on magazines, we’re feeling pressured to look better and live a more fun life that that girl Tammy that you went to high school with but haven’t actually seen in over 10 years.

Oh Facebook, I love you and I hate you all at the same time.

Being Perfectly Imperfect

I can sit here until I am blue in the face and tell you not to compare yourself you to others. I can tell you that you’re perfect the way you are, and that those pictures and statuses are only a blink into someone’s life.

I can tell you that everyone struggles, even Tammy. No matter how wonderful her life appears.

I can tell you that it’s important to just dust off your shoulders and that those feelings of jealousy won’t get you far.

But here’s the thing…

It’s worthless. 

I know because I’m right there too.

Like I said, we naturally compare things. You can’t take human nature away from us. No matter how many times I tell you those things, you’ll still feel the emotions creeping up. Because we are not perfect.

But we can be perfectly imperfect, and that is what’s going to help us get through this social media trend…

How To Handle Social Media Inadequacy

It’s just like the magazines. 

We have seen the light when it comes to phony airbrushing and photoshopping on magazines and the same is true for big name social media posts. People Magazine isn’t the only one that can airbrush after all.

So, realize that a lot of times those perfect pictures you see, are just like a magazine photo shoot. Lots of work goes into making the perfect Instagram shot and if you could see behind the scenes… well, let’s just say you would be floored.

It’s not all puppies and roses. 


No one’s life is perfect. No matter how fabulous Tammy’s life looks on Facebook, it’s not. Just like a reality show that seems full of amazing drama, we’re only seeing a split second moment. 5% if television worthy, the rest pretty humdrum.

I’m not saying to feel better that her life isn’t as glamorous as it appears but find peace in knowing your life isn’t more dull or more stressful than anyone else’s.

They worked for it… to motivate you.

When I see some girl with amazing 6-pack abs doing press to handstands or kettlebell get-ups with a ridiculous amount of weight (Neghar above is using a 61-on kettlebell!), I really try to use it as motivation.

They worked hard for their results and strength and that shouldn’t be a reason to hold a grudge. They deserve to show off! Instead use it as motivation. They did it, even if unintentionally, to motivate you!

Here’s a story… last week one of my clients (and soon to be trainers) did a full handstand push-up. As in, head to the ground and back to full extension. It was beautiful! I was so amazed. I could have let my competitive self get jealous. I didn’t. Instead, I wrote her an email thanking her for the motivation to get better.

Personally, I need competition. I need to be motivated by other strong women so for this, social media is awesome.

Your are worthy.

Please remember that your life is worth celebrating. So celebrate.


Working to get to that 61-pounder one kettlebell at a time!

Don’t be afraid to share your successes with your friends and the social media world. If something happened that you would tell a friend on the phone, then tell it here. By doing so, you’ll feel the rush of pride, of adequacy.

If you never bother to post your events, but always social stalk others, of course you’ll feel down. Take some selfies after a workout, brag about your PR-deadlift… Instagram your amazing dinner date out.

It’s not bragging to others, it’s serving as a reminder that you are living too!

Remove yourself. 

And if all else fails, remove yourself from it. If you can’t stand to see Cindy-Lou’s selfies every. single. day. then don’t. Unfriend her. No big deal, there should be no guilt. And if she asks, just be honest.  You control what goes on around you. Use that power to your advantage.

If each time you go to Instagram, you end up feeling down because Jenny has time to make a 3 course meal for her family each night, or Susan feels the need to post pictures of her amazing abs once again… then take the app off your phone.

Take a break for a few weeks to focus on you and you alone. There is no shame in that.

We all need to reset from time to time, and the best way of doing that is to step away for a weekend and live your life.

You’ll be able to appreciate all the great things you have going when you’re not so focused on everyone else’s great things.

It’s okay to be selfish. 

Social media is here to stay. People will continue to post about their amazing lives and bodies. But how you react, how you handle it all is what matters.

Do I feel inadequate?

Sure, at times I do. At others, I feel awesome and proud. I also remind myself that my accomplishments are worthy of sharing and that brings back pride and joy.

I know that in my line of business as a blogger and fitness professional, I have no choice but to embrace social media, so I have to get over those insecurities and move forward.

But what about you…

What’s your least favorite social media platform? Most favorite?

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. But LOVE Instagram… I get the most motivation from it.

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  • Glad to see I’m not the only one who is motivated/awed by Neghar Fonooni, she’s awesome. I agree that sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the thing that’s making you feel bad about yourself, it’s important to step back and focus on your own reality.

  • I really like this post! Always good to remember that people only put their “best” on social media. People tend to hold difficult things inside and not put them on Facebook or Twitter. Social media’s like the highlight reel of your life- everything else, you just live with every day without putting it all out there.

    As far as body comparisons go, I think sometimes people who are bloggers, online, work out, etc, are a little trapped in our culture and don’t always see others. I’m at home all day, and yesterday I left the house to run at the track with you and go to the grocery store (the HT store). Or I go to the gym, group runs, even the stores I shop in, people tend to be healthier (Earth Fare). I read somewhere “if you ever want to feel good about yourself, just go to Walmart”, and I know it’s a joke… but if you go to somewhere like Walmart, a mall, a movie theatre… you see how people really look- not just our microcosm of society who goes to the gym, does a bootcamp, runs, shops at a fairly healthy food store, etc.

    • My legs were tired last night from our run!

      • My legs were feeling it too! I always feel the track workouts and the garages/hills the most!

  • I love IG too. I can easily skip over the stuff I don’t want to see and Facebook seems more ‘in my face’ (pun not intended). I love the term Fakebooking, I find that FB tends to lead me down the dark path of comparison more than anything else. So, I do limit my time there. Great post.

    • Hahaha, fakebooking… that’s great!

  • I agree! Love instagram. I’m a weirdo and don’t have facebook or twitter :). I think we definitely ALL feel this way. I think taking a day off of social media helps a lot. Great post Girl! You always know just how to say it!

    • I am proud of you for resisting! lol, I sometimes wish I didn’t have all the platforms (x2 for each Kindal and Taylor) lol

  • Love it love it love it! Been there, done that! Scaled down my facebook to family and real friends. No more high school peeps! Those are the ones that make me super jealous! Seeing how far/how much they’ve accomplished since graduation drives me crazy! Makes me feel inadequate. So I said, good bye!!! Love this post!

    • Smart! I need to do a “clean up” myself

  • I love Instagram, but I get you. It is hard not to compare. Especially for me right now… However, I have learned to own my life and to use it as motivation to inspire me and get me going!

    • Own it lady! That’s great!

  • Kim

    For me, Facebook is my least favorite – I go long periods of time where I don’t do more than just a quick scull through. There are so many ways to feel inadequate on FB!
    I think you are a phenomenal trainer and athlete and look up to you a great deal. I know that doesn’t change how you might occasionally feel but hopefully you feel proud far more than inadequate.

    • You’re the best, thanks Kim!

  • Great post and I love your twist on it. Adrienne of Adrienne Langlier (sp?) just did a great video series on just this topic.

    I think social media is fine if you are confident, but I can see how it can prey on the minds of those feeling a little inadequate. heck, I’ll admit I have a hard time reading my friends’ posts right now about running while I continue to rehab. But like you said, we have to remove ourselves and focus on what we can do now and in the future.

    That said–I despise Facebook. I really do. I think it is such an unhealthy, toxic place. I use it for my blog b/c I have to, but otherwise, I’d rather never go there again! The rest I don’t mind and even love (Twitter!!!)

    • Haha, I agree! If I didn’t have to be on facebook, I would love to step away!

  • I love this! Luckily I’m good at looking at blogs, facebook posts, and all things social media with a discerning eye. I don’t find myself getting jealous too often because everyone’s circumstances are different–maybe some of those people have WAY more time to devote to certain things than I do–and the biggest reason, we are only seeing what anyone chooses to share! Most people only share the brag-worthy stuff. With that being said, I love instagram. That’s my favorite form of social media.

  • I hate Facebook. I left in 2012 and just started back in an effort to see if I could tolerate it again. It’s a little better ( I started with a new profile, so I have 800 less “friends” to look at),but I still don’t like it. I mainly use it for work. I love Twitter, its less about the “like” and more about news & communicating.

    Great post ! I think we all feel this way! Thanks for putting it out there. =)

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m definitely guilty of comparison recently but unfortunately I find that I compare myself to myself a year ago when I was in tip top shape for my wedding. It’s tough but I’m working on getting past it for good.

    • I compare to myself from the past as well! But I also remember how much I had to work for it!

  • LMFAO! It really isn’t all puppies and roses! There are a lot of protein pancakes TOO! AH HA HA HA AH! 😉 But seriously. You’re completely right. The message to take away from all of this is that we all are unique individuals and we should try and find the qualities we adore about ourselves and OWN EM! 🙂

    • I just finished my stack of protein pancakes! And they were Delicious!! bahaha

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  • You are amazing and awesome. Totally nailed it. Thank you for writing this.

  • Great read! And so true….
    It can get hard to live in this culture if we LET it…..:)

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