How realistic are the lives of your Facebook friends?
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"Is a social life now defined by... the amount of 'likes' you get on a photo"
We all know who the party animals and cool kids are because, let's face it, we see their pictures appear in our newsfeed time and time again. Orange street lights, short skirts, glittery heels and blurred figures with red cups - the products of yet another drunken night out. It was only recently that it occurred to me that I had no social life. Or did I?
Is a social life now defined by the amount of sessions you go on, the lads you've been with and the amount of 'likes' you get on a photo? Surely there is more to life than that? Yet can seeing these popular socialites day in and day out have an effect on our self esteem?
Most young people today now strive to be a certain size and shape to match that of the popular kids. Being in any way different is considered wrong. When you say it out loud, you might think, "That's not me" but we're all guilty of wanting to lose a few pounds, tone our legs or get in shape.
Why do people think like that though? Who said skinny is the ideal body shape? Keeping up appearances all the time because you never know when people are going to whip out a camera and snap a few for Facebook is no way to go about your life. Even the popular kids that we subconsciously aspire to feel the pressure: that the whole world is watching them all the time and keeping up to date with their every move. A quiet night in with the girls is not acceptable anymore.
Low self esteem is a massive contributor to eating disorders and self-harm. So what causes low self esteem? By definition, self esteem is a realistic respect or favourable impression of oneself. So if someone feels worthless and inadequate we have to ask what could have caused this person's bleak outlook on himself or herself? We have to ask ourselves where has this person set the bar for being perfect. More people are becoming self conscious about their bodies, their clothes, how they look and how they act nowadays.
Whether we like it or not, society has issued an unspoken rule: Guys want girls with big boobs and big asses. The skinny side of the perfect female body idea actually comes from girls. Girls follow fashion and watch painfully thin models be labelled as beautiful. They then aspire to be like that. Then, girls expect guys to have the Taylor Lautner body with cuts, abs, pecks and the whole works, rather than the personality beneath the exterior. Once it is decided that is the 'perfect' body, there's no turning back.
Society has become dedicated to keeping up this appearance and it is destroying people's self esteem. Is it really that bad to break away from the monotonous ideals of other people? To be creative or original and to wear clothes you like, even if it breaks away from the latest fashion trend? Let your hair grow, cut it short, tie it up; do what makes you happy. Inspire other people with your ideas - don't oppress them. Make your thoughts and ideas known even if it's going against the crowd.
Listen to some original music; you don't have to like every mainstream rave song that you hear on the radio. Go home and pig out on ice cream every once in a while (Let's face it: ice cream makes everyone happy) and enjoy it. Don't freak about the amount of calories in it. Eat healthily; don't starve because you want to look a certain way. Be happy with the skin you're in, and if you're not, do something about it. Go for a jog at the weekend, take up a sport, push the tin of sweets away and eat an apple instead.
Do be aware that although you are exposed to this way of life every day on Facebook or Twitter, it doesn't mean it's the life you have to live. To the party animals out there, fair play to you. To everyone else, be yourself and don't be pressured into comparing yourself to other people and their ideals.
Although it seems like it's a crime to stay in and not even leave the house at the weekend when you're scrolling through endless pages of photos from a night out, you'll realise that it's the same people reappearing time after time. You'll begin to notice that in fact, not everyone goes out partying 24/7. Most people spend their holidays and weekends doing exactly the same thing you do.