Online Self vs. Real Self By Linda Contreras

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From the moment that social media began to be a more prominent part of everyday life, people have felt the pressure to portray themselves as a different person online than they are in person. At first- this attempt of trying to create an online self was relatively harmless; it included taking pictures of all the things you ate to seem like a "foodie" or taking pictures of everywhere you went to make it seem like you go out a lot. However, this portrayal of an online self has begun to hurt individuals, as it changes how they feel about themselves and takes a toll on their mental health. 

Social media has become a platform full of beauty influencers and models and although they may mean no malicious intent or harm, people are looking at these models and influencers wishing they were like that. This has contributed to the growing self-consciousness people on social media feel. As with any big brand photoshoot or commercial, photoshop and airbrushing is a huge thing that is used that unfortunately causes people to fall in love with these unrealistic expectations. Apps like Facetune are now being used to reshape, refine, and airbrush the parts people don't like in their photos and creating an online depiction of someone who truly isn't them. Although there's nothing wrong with using such apps, the problem is that it creates a culture of people feeling unhappy with themselves and seeking to change it for the purpose of fitting in online rather than embracing who they are and what they may consider flaws. 

In our current day and age, it feels especially hard to be your real self and not try and be that online self people try and create. Now, more than ever, it is especially important to live to be you and not someone or something that you see online. Lucille Ball, an actress during the mid '90s, once said, "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." Although it seems like our online selves can get more love or attention- it's just a construct we were made to believe through time, because your real self is infinitely better. 

Triveni Patel