Look at the women around you—mothers, aunts, girlfriends, sisters, friends, colleagues. They’re beautiful, wouldn’t you agree? Their vibrant personalities and uplifting auras are the very reason you choose to surround yourself by them. You consider them beautiful, both on the outside and inside.
But society is getting in the way. We are absorbing out thoughts with the ideal image society wants to promote. It’s the image of perfection in which we strive to achieve for ourselves. The ideal, perfect girl, lingering on Instagram, Facebook, in magazines, whom we follow with guilt and dream about being. We think to ourselves, “My god, she’s perfect… literally, she’s goals.”
While we obsess over these standards of perfection, we neglect to acknowledge what exactly we are prioritizing as our goals. What are these “goals?” Is it having the perfect luscious locks of hair and unblemished glowing skin with efficiently brushed eye shadow hidden behind four coatings of mascara? Is it having a flawless sun kissed tan over 6 pack abs and the most delicately toned limbs? To many, that is exactly what is characterized as goals.
And none of that effort matters unless you get that perfect “candid” photo. That candid photo which you made your friend shoot countless number of times until it was somewhat decent-looking. The one you reviewed and edited numerous times and still thought, “wow do I really look like this?” “I look SO fat!” “whatever, I’ll just add another filter… or two… and ill skinny my arms and thighs while I’m at it too.” Oh right, that “candid” photo. The one that was anything but candid.
So, is that image of a barely-recognizable girl with blurred skin, enhanced features, in a staged setting with just the right lighting, “insta-worthy?” Even after all that effort you put into dolling up your face and editing those pictures, you’re probably still contemplating, should I post this? Would it get enough likes?
The reality is, our society is so absorbed in an image: both the ideal image of beauty—trying to achieve unrealistic and unimportant standards—and a literal image of beauty, trying to capture that image and present it to the world.
Worse yet, this obsession takes away from being in the moment and enjoying what we are doing and whom we are doing it with. We fail to see ourselves as beautiful and we fail to see that those who matter to us, accept us as we are too. Do you think those around you, your family, friends, colleges, would perceive you any differently? They choose to be around you for you, not your dolled-up face. Is anyone going to think twice about your Instagram post? They’ll just double-tap, maybe throw in a comment, and keep going through their newsfeed. All that thought and effort you put into that photo, it’ll be overlooked. Know that that photo, that concentration of pixels, is not a measure of your beauty. And while you’re so absorbed in that thought, you are overlooking the sole intent of an image in the first place—to capture a memory. A photo should be used as a keepsake of a memory. A moment we choose to remember for it’s authentic, exasperating bliss with people that matter and not for its vain self promotion to impress people that don’t. Don’t get me wrong…of course a high quality photo taken at the end of a girl’s night out serves as a nice keepsake. But remember that hilarious, awful quality picture you took with those 20 friends at the cabin? The one with the selfie stick? The one that had a ton of laugher and memories behind it which no one would understand except for you and those friends? That’s the significance a photo should have. That’s what one should put time and effort into. Not a dolled up face, a thousand editing apps, or anything taking away from that moment.
Do we really need those double taps for satisfaction? No, because our relationships, friendships, people who love us for our presence, give us the reassurance that those little red hearts and “likes” never truly could. We don’t need those likes.
We are liked.