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.

britt-rollingstones

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?).

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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. 

puppsroses

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.

snowday

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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