Women today have images of perfection thrown at them any time they log onto one of their social media accounts. We’ve all seen it—that one gal whose hair is always perfectly coiffed and make-up expertly applied by at 6:00am, after baking 172 organic, gluten-free, non-GMO cupcakes for the church fundraiser before getting the kids off to school and later to sports practice on time with zero temper tantrums, then whipping up a made-from-scratch 5-course dinner for the family, all the way to bedtime, after couples yoga with her husband and creating 5 different DIY Pinterest-inspired wood-pallet crafts that she then posts for sale on her extremely successful Etsy site. And you’re sitting there thinking, How does she do it all? She’s so much more organized than I am. Her life is perfect. If I changed 50,000 things about myself, maybe I could have a life like that too!
Not only is the above-mentioned scenario completely unrealistic, but thinking that you need to be just like that is damaging to your self-confidence and the innate awesomeness you already possess. A study* on perfectionism and social media use completed in 2017 found that perfectionism and the phenomenon of being socially influenced by other people has increased dramatically over the past 27 years. The authors also suggest that social media adds increased expectations of and rules for everyday life.
What we see on social media we see through rose-colored glasses. Social media idols rarely talk about all the effort and stress that goes into creating the ideal photo or project, or the huge team of interns and staff they have to help them. When you see that “perfect person,” it’s easy to forget that they’re human, just like you.
When you hold yourself up to that kind of ideal, you are comparing yourself to something completely imaginary and utterly unattainable. You start to forget all the kick-ass things you’ve done in your life and what a wonderful person you actually are.
Here are some things you can do to reinvigorate your innate badassery:
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Everyone is unique and every situation is different. You wouldn’t expect a fish to climb a tree, so don’t expect yourself to be the same or “more than” another person.
2. Think of “mistakes” as opportunities for change and growth.
Everyone makes mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning, and if you’re not learning, you’re not growing. When you fall, give yourself a hug and a comforting word (‘cause, self-love is #goals2019), get up, and try again. And if you find yourself still ruminating over that one “mistake” you made, put up a mental stop sign in your head and continue to the Suggestion #4.
3. Keep a self-love and compassion journal.
Each day write down at least one thing you like about yourself and/or one thing you did well. And don’t just write it; say it out loud, put it into song, share with your loved ones the cool thing you did or how great you felt all day. Then, write down something that you are not going to judge or criticize yourself for.
4. Try guided meditation.
Find a guided meditation video on YouTube or your favorite Guided Meditation phone app. I suggest typing “guided meditation for self-love/acceptance/compassion,” etc. into your search bar. Guided meditation is also great for helping you feel relaxed and refreshed, and many people claim it helps them with sleep, motivation, physical discomfort, and much more.
* Curran, T., & Hill, A. P. (2017, December 28). Perfectionism is increasing over time: A meta-analysis of birth cohort differences from 1989 to 2016. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bul0000138