Does Instagram Affect Our Self-Esteem?

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Instagram is a place where we share important events, ideas and pictures that occur in our daily lives. It is a self-expression and representation of who we are or who we strive to be. Some of us put so much thought or detail into a single post ensuring that we achieve the most likes or comments about how good we look, others use their platform to gain recognition on an important subject or matter that is dear to their heart, but at the end of the day, Instagram is a social media outlet for us all that can come with many pressures, stressors and insecurities. Constantly comparing ourselves to another human being and wishing we had their hair or body type, or wishing we had as nice as a house as one of the home decorators we follow, or better yet simply wishing for what others had and not focusing on what we have and loving it is not the way we should be living our life, as we only have one.

Instagram affects our self-esteem in so many ways. We constantly feel like we need to live up to the lifestyles of those we follow online, as well as stress ourselves out when we see others online doing things that we may not have the means or time to do so. I’m curious what your thoughts are on this matter. Has your self-esteem ever been impacted by Instagram? To be brutally honest, mine has, many times. I have been guilty of looking at pictures of models, obsessing over my body and panicking over why I don’t look like them. I remind myself, when I get this way, how different our bodies, hair, and facial structures are from one another, and that it’s within us that is what really counts. Below are a list of other ways I strongly feel Instagram affects our self-esteem: 

  • Lack of sleep from spending too much time on Instagram which can cause us to feel exhausted, unmotivated and unproductive which can also alter our moods.
  • Body shaming- seeing our ideal bodies on other people that we wish we had can cause serious self-esteem issues, and can even go to the extreme of having an eating disorder.
  • Negative thoughts- the fantasy land of Instagram can cause us to have negative thoughts about our own personal life and relationships because we tend to see things that seem “better” then what we have.

Below is an article that discusses how Instagram can affect our mental health. Read through and let me know if you agree with what this article says. Anxiety, depression and many other mental health disorders are what can arise from too much Instagram. Do you believe this?

https://time.com/4793331/instagram-social-media-mental-health/

These are just a few ways Instagram affects our self-esteem and there are so many more. There is something Instagram did recently which I think may be beneficial to all of us. Instagram disabled the like feature on peoples photos and videos. People tend to get caught up in how many likes they have on a photo thinking it defines their status and popularity, and many people have been affected hugely by this because it makes them feel unpopular or worthless, so Instagram listened to the complaints and removed the option which I thought was fantastic. What do you think of Instagram doing this? Do you think it could help make a change like I do? Please feel free to comment in the comments section what you think about Instagram and whether or not it is affecting our self-esteem. I would love to hear your feedback! 

Has your self-esteem ever been affected by instagram? #selfesteem https://bit.ly/2JZcXZk

Does Instagram give us a sense of false hope? https://bit.ly/2JZcXZk

6 thoughts on “Does Instagram Affect Our Self-Esteem?

  1. hi Kira,

    another lovely blog… thank you for sharing your thoughts with us on this so controversial topic.
    I kind of agree and disagree with you on this one, and here is why: I agree that social media in general and Instagram in particular can influence how we feel about ourselves, our achievements and our lives; definitely, looking all the time what others are doing and forgetting that only the best and brightest moments of their lives get published can bruise our ego and make us feel insignificant, or even failure. That said, first, any medium can do this to us… radio, TV, magazines, even a simple conversation with a friend, who is boasting about their latest renos, for instance. Social media is the new kid on the block these days, and everyone is focussed on it, and its negative impacts! (have you noticed that it is much easier to point the negatives than the positives.. I think our daily news reports do this to us, as they focus on sensationalism and that contaminates how our own brains work, I think!) Second, this can only happen if we allow it to happen. There was a time in my life that I was not where I wanted to be, in my own opinion, I was sad, miserable and envious, and social media only reinforced these feelings and sentiments for me. I too had huge body issues and Facebook made me hate myself even more… Through the regular practice of yoga, mindfulness and mediation, I was able to look at everything differently… and even began loving myself and my body the way it is…. as I altered my own perceptions, I stopped obsessing what Facebook or Instagram had in store.. I tend now to look at posts differently now…. without automatically comparing myself to others, but being appreciative that they were able to do something nice and that I am doing something else… I use it more as an inspiration, what else I could focus on next, rather than envying them!
    It takes a long time and lots of introspection and soul searching…. Some people might even need a teacher or someone to guide them through this practice… but I don’t feel it’s impossible.
    Social media was created to connect people not to alienate them… we should focus on that!
    Bottom line is, I feel we are powerful, not powerless when it comes to shaping up our own perceptions, thoughts, and ideals… it is in our own control to decide how we want to look at things! But I get your point… if unconscious, social media can cause lots of damage to someone’s self-esteem and personal worth!

    Best,
    Mariya

    • Hi Mariya,

      Thank you so much for your feedback and sharing your opinion on this blog post. I think you made some awesome points and I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I really love your positive outlook on this topic. I really do think – with the right mindset in place- which will take practice of course, social media could be a lot more positive then negative. We are in control of our own mind, thoughts and feelings. We just need to alter the way we think as you said! I am definitely working on that day by day. I have been practicing the art of self-love and it is a constant work in progress. We should definitely focus on using social media to empower, compliment and be kind to others.
      Thank you!!!

      -Kira

  2. Hi. All great points about the impacts of Instagram use in negative ways. Prior to the high usage of internet it was magazines and advertisements that sent the wrong messaging about ourselves. The big difference now is the engagement factor, it’s easier for others to be more critical by posting comments and hiding behind an alias. On the other hand, Instagram offers opportunities for positivity as well by boosting one’s confidence and meeting new fabulous people. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

    • Hello,

      Thank you so much for your response! The engagement factor is definitely scary. Being online and posting pictures of your life or of yourself can be vulnerable and can lead to scrutiny from others online. I only have people on my account that I am close with as I do not want random people I don’t know following or commenting on my stuff- but that’s just me. Instagram can be used as a wonderful outlet to share powerful stories and messages most definitely. I am trying to focus more on the positive than the negative but it is hard. Work in progress!! lol

      -Kira

  3. Great topic to choose Kira. And to answer your question “yes, absolutely.” But much more facebook than instagram. Infact, I tried instagram, and recently deleted my account as I am trying to curb my social media usage in hopes of reducing anxiety and getting better sleep. (I recently discovered that Twitter has an uncanny ability to induce emotional distress even faster than Facebook). Body acceptance in the last decade has been something on which I’ve worked very hard in the last decade of my life (I’m 47). Before there was instagram there was a bevy of glossy fashion magazines and MTV to make me feel bad about myself. There were not “free” however, and so though I did buy them occasionally, our economic status as a family meant that TV was my instagram. In my later life, as an initial facebook user, it was much more “Fear of Missing Out” that drove my anxiety. We used to say “keeping up with the Joneses,” which means trying to keep up with your generic neighbours in maintaining appearances. Remember that Social Media is 100% about “maintaining appearances” and not about real life. They should call it “Social Image Management.” Jane Austen would have attended a Ball to do that back in the Georgian Period. Most of us do it daily at work. My advice is set a timer on your mobile device for one hour or 45 min. I did and though I sometimes exceed my limit, it keeps me mindful of the time I spend whiling away wishing for a life I may not have instead of loving the one I got. Mostly I love the one I got these days. Keep your chin up sweetie. Phyllis

    • Thank you so much for your response. I think setting a timer is a great way to manage your time on social media- I will have to try that. I think it is all about being mindful and having the will power to be able to stop scrolling through social media as tempting as it can be- as it is a huge distraction. I totally understand the anxiety of “Fear of Missing out.” I think that way sometimes as well. Something in my brain will tell me to check social media incase I missed something important so I can totally relate.

      Thank you for your awesome response!!
      -Kira

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