You may scroll through your instagram account everyday and secretly admire all those pretty girls or far off models from around the world, whom you have no connection to beyond the screen. They can be found lounging at exotic beaches, relaxing in a hammock, showing off their toned tummies, impeccable style and overall sought-after lives. With thousands or even hundreds of thousands of likes and followers, it's clear to see that you're not the only one envious.
Yesterday, a model from Australia who's known around the world for her social media accounts, Essena O'neill, admitted to just how perfectly fake all of her instagram photos and social media posts were. Not only did Essena come to realize how desperate she was to find the perfect angle and the perfect lighting in order to get the most likes on instagram, she also realized what it was doing to her self esteem and overall outlook on life.
She has since changed her instagram account to Social Media is Not Real Life and Essena's story has gone viral. Along with changing the title of her account, she has gone through and edited the captions of each photo, explaining her true feelings and the process of making that photo seem perfect - these captions speak volumes. She also has started her own website called Let's Be Game Changers to propel her message even further.
On Essena's website she states:
I was miserable. Stuck. Uninspired. Angry. I didn’t enjoy the act of creating art, writing or any forms of self expression like I once did as a child. When no one judged it, I created without limitation or filters. When it was for no one else but myself, I fell in love with it. And it loved me right back. It made me feel alive. It was like capturing and expressing real life, real feeling, real beauty — it gave me this joy that I still can’t explain. You know that feeling of inspiration, passion and purpose you get when you do something you just love? That’s why I do what I do. I don’t want approval anymore, it traps me into thinking I need more and more and more. I don’t want to be liked or judged either. I want a place where I can give with no expectations or outcome. I don’t want followers anymore. I want a world of individual beings.
In a world full of body shaming, discrimination and online bullying, I think it's important to be real in such a fake social media world. Girls are extremely critical of one another as we are also very critical of ourselves. I think that Essena has already affected many people by coming out with her message, and I hope that more social media users will come to understand the message she is sending: everyone's lives are not perfect and social media is not somewhere to create a fake life fueled by "likes," "views" or "followers." Live in the moment and put your daily efforts into something that will truly make you happy and affect the world in a positive way.