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Looking perfect online is a trap and overrated

today2 November 2022 118 2

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Posting perfect pictures online is overrated. It also piles on an unnecessary amount of pressure on folks out here. Around 93 million selfies are taken daily globally, which fluctuates frequently. Most phones come equipped with a front camera and a timer to snap the perfect pose, so you hardly need anyone to take pictures of you for you.

How many selfies do you take before you choose the perfect ones to post on your feed? Anyone who loves posting only the best understands the work needed to accomplish this. As unofficial photographers, we take pictures with the viewer in mind in hopes that they will approve of our final product with likes, loves and comments that praise how we look or what we have out on display.

1. Praise be to me

The instant gratification of posting a picture and having all the nice words come flooding or trickling in is so good you would want to start another personal photoshoot to keep them coming. Looks become everything when you are online. Looks get you noticed, and pretending that that is not why you do it makes you feel even cooler, right? Better yet, why wait for people to praise you when you can drop diamonds about your glow and outfit in your caption? Then seal it all off with how highly favoured you are. If the people don’t praise you, then you will praise you.

2. The compliment trap

The happy rush of shallow compliments doesn’t last. The bitter truth we often try to ignore is that the praises feel empty and lack substance because there is no actual acknowledgement of who you are. It feels good to be praised for looking on point and being “bold enough to be yourself” as an unmoving pixel-thingy. Approval in this form may allow you to feel good at that moment, but once you have read the comments and seen the likes, almost instantly, your happy juices (dopamine/serotonin) dry up. On cue flows in thoughts of all the flaws you see on the pixels, particularly those people don’t see. Yet, you will come back to serve them more.

3. The comparison trap

After scrolling through our main feed, we may sometimes feel the heavy cloud pressing inside our chest when we see posts of people looking happier than us or whose posts get more likes, loves and comments than ours. It is no wonder we feel like trash after a scroll down Insta-street. Your thoughts shift to you viewing yourself in an unpleasant way on the feed of your mind. The approval you got no longer counts as much but guess what? We are creatures of habit, and your next selfie is loading because the likes, loves and comments are wanted. Perhaps even needed. The upcoming picture has to capture the best of you for all to admire and praise.


Be-you-to-the-full [Beautiful]

It is scary and concerning that most people are unaware of the psychological and emotional impacts of this online versus real-world existence where approval is highly sought in the form of stagnant copies of ourselves. You don’t have to fake being perfect, having confidence, or pretending you are living an ideal life in a snapshot. Living like that robs you of true happiness in the present. Yet, you can still be your authentic self on these platforms.

You already risk criticism and nastiness by putting a piece of yourself out there. It hurts to get rejected or bad-mouthed when you display the best version of yourself. Save yourself the exhaustion of trying to win people over on a superficial level. Your online accounts are a space where you can share the genuine beauty of who you are. Feel free to be who you are, both online and offline, truly boldly. This is not encouragement to be floppy and messy online – we are still a people of order, yeah.

Take pictures of your happy moments and share them with the intent of sharing your uniqueness and the good life God has granted you. Picture perfect or not, it takes bravery to live authentically and to live without making approval the goal for living accepted. So be you to the full. In God’s perfect lens, you have always been His beautiful creation. Fully known. You are fully loved and wholly accepted.

It is not silly that you struggle with insecurities because of pictures and posts you see online. However, the insecurities may have deeper roots than you know or realise. So talking things out with someone willing to hear you without judgement is sound. You are welcome to contact us on our Youth Hotline to chat about this and other matters and, if necessary, get further support from our trained professionals. For more inspiration, listen to our podcasts on iono.fm.

Written by Dineo Phadimenyane

Written by: Han

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