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Are social media filters affecting your self-esteem?

It’s no wonder that social media is a growing problem in affecting your self esteem. A 2017 study in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, found that even though we’re all aware of the filters that are out there, people are actually really bad at recognizing them online. The study found that people only recognize manipulated images 60%-65% of the time. The widespread airbrushing on social media is a major culprit when it comes to creating unrealistic expectations of what is real and normal. It also adds to the lower self-esteem of those who give filters a pass. Filters seem to be creating a vicious cycle, and in the age of today, we really aren’t in need of any more shenanigans that make people feel bad about themselves.?

As innocent and fun as these filters may seem, they are sending a message that we are more attractive when the amazingly unique features given to us at birth are modified. Having a smaller nose, bigger lips and eyes, smoother skin are the crux of many snap chat filters that have now spread to other social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram). As if there wasn’t enough for us to worry about on the internet, we now have these filters *telling us*, “You look alright, but let me completely reconfigure your face so it looks more aesthetically pleasing”. Yep, here we are, trying so damn hard to combat nasty comments from others, work through negative self-talk, and compete with the media’s expectations of beauty, and now THIS?!? How will we ever win?

3 ways to counteract the potentially negative impact of social media filters.

1. Find ONE thing about yourself that you like and value and think positive thoughts about that. Do this often. Do this every day, at least once, no matter how weird or difficult it may seem. Journal about it, put it on sticky notes and place them around your personal living space, or write that amazing affirmation on your mirror in lipstick or special markers for windows/mirrors.

2. Only follow others that make you feel good. You have control over who you like and follow.

Make sure you are following people and brands that make you feel better about yourself when you put down your phone. I have noticed a trend showing cellulite and unedited pictures. This is exactly what we all need, refreshing content.

3. Practice taking ONE filter-less picture of yourself and be ok with that. We tend to take several pictures (even selfies, when we are looking right at us), and try to find the perfect angle. Want to know a secret? Perfect isn't a thing.

4. Pick ONE friend who builds you up in some way and take time to acknowledge how he/she/they impact your life positively.

t’s important to remember what is real and what is pure filter fiction. It’s also important to remember that perfection is an illusion. We all look different, we all made differently for a reason. Embrace your imperfections and fall in love with all parts of yourself no matter of the angle.

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