By Kristen Donia

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Which, if we’re not careful, is where we can find ourselves in this early part of 2019.

At a time when “New Year, New Me” is heard on the regular, what if we went against the grain and decided we’re good enough right now, just as we are? #Goals

Have you ever thought about the effects Instagram and Snapchat have on your view of your very own body? While social media has the power to connect us regardless of time or distance, it also has the distinct power to tear us apart and knock us down with unrealistic comparisons. Sure, one minute you might be looking at a friend’s cute New Year’s Eve picture then suddenly you find yourself on a friend of a friends page for thirty minutes comparing your life to theirs. *wtf*

In my experience, social media can show us unrealistic images of beauty and perfection attained through filters, photo editing apps, plastic surgery, and otherwise unhealthy lifestyle habits.

It puts beautiful celebrities on display whose flawless looks were achieved with the help of teams of professional stylists, wardrobe experts, make-up artists, and tanning services that take hours to leave them primped, tucked, and styled into unrealistic perfection.

Not to mention the plethora of photo-editing apps that allow you to adjust every last bit of any picture taken. Facetune and others have made the simple, exciting, act of snapping a photo and sharing it complicated. Luckily many users have started to ditch this fake approach and display raw images in their place, showing that we all really are unique and perfectly imperfect.

So, what are we do to with all the messages sent our way? Let’s ponder this for a second, who would we be without the thought “ugh she is skinnier/prettier/has better hair/skin/makeup/abs than I do”? We might be…happy, more fulfilled, grateful, and we might love our bodies.

Part of standing up against all the negative messages we receive includes examining how we truly feel about our dazzling selves and coming to the realization that there is no one on this planet exactly like us. There is no you, without you. Isn’t that wild? You are perfectly imperfect, as am I. So after we come to terms with that startling reality, what next?

The next step is equally challenging. We consider our relationship with social media itself. Evaluating how we feel when we engage with social media and adjust what doesn’t work. This allows us to still be a part of that world (should we choose to) but we do so on our own terms.

The Screen Time app in the new iPhone update allows you to limit the amount of time certain apps are in use. Perhaps give that a try. When you hit your limit, whether restricted by screen time or your own realization that you began doing some unnecessary deep social media diving – reach for a book, go for a walk, take a shower, all the while reminding yourself that THIS is your life, the tangible, the touchable, the real, not the little squares on your phone.

If you remember one thing from what you’ve read, let it be – do what you want, but CHECK IN with yourself and see how you feel about the images you come across. Remember that your life is happening right in front of you, and if you don’t look up from your screen, you’ll miss it. The big and the small, the mundane and seemingly insignificant are all the details that make up your very own unique life. Remember to look up to gaze at stars and trees and the ever-changing clouds in the sky just as much as you look down, not just for your sanity, also for your neck. It will thank you later in life. <3