More than likely, you’ve taken a photo of yourself that you can’t stand looking at. You may delete it or turn to the numerous apps available to edit it. Making ourselves look better than we do in real life makes us feel good. It may even give us a temporary self-esteem boost, especially when people compliment or "like" it. The problem is we know it isn’t real.
Face-tuning happens slowly – blurring a pimple or trying a new filter – but it can progress to editing your entire face and body. Plastic surgeons are noting the increase of young people wanting to look like Instagram influencers who use face-tuning themselves. Many feel depressed or embarrassed when comparing themselves to these "perfect" looking people. When you begin feeling disgust at your appearance and need an app to make you feel presentable, it can be detrimental to your mental health. If you feel you’ve crossed the line and are dependent on face-tuning, here are some ways to help you improve your body-image and restore confidence.
1. Remember no one is perfect. Educate yourself about unrealistic beauty ideals and be aware that each photo you see of someone who appears flawless took hours of editing and face tuning. Anyone who needs to tune their photo drastically to feel acceptable has more problems than you.
2. When you look in the mirror, retrain your mind. If you stare at anyone close up, you will begin to see "flaws." People with distorted body image often stare at their face and body for hours and focus on parts they don’t like. Step back from the mirror and look at your whole body rather than focusing on one small area.
3. Stop giving power to others to determine if you are acceptable. Confidence comes from inside you. Quit looking to others to compliment you or reassure you that you are good enough. Needing constant reassurance from others leaves us feeling anxious and depleted. Find ways to boost your own confidence with what you do, how you treat others, or what your interests are instead of the way you look.
4. Take care of yourself. There are some things about our appearance we can’t change. However, changing our diet, exercising, and learning to meditate to lower our stress is within our control. These things also have a much more profound effect on how we act and feel about ourselves. No app can replace the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
5. Limit social media postings. Excessive use of social media is correlated with low self-esteem. Make a conscious effort to use less face-tuning and decrease social media use. Deleting an app from your phone for a week is a wonderful way to challenge yourself and restore balance to priorities. It can also give you insight into areas you need to strengthen in your personal life and help promote acceptance.
Social media is designed to keep you checking the app. It’s a wonderful way to keep up with friends and family, but when you begin comparing your posts to others, you’re slipping into a dangerous area where others determine if you are good enough or pretty enough. Learn to step back, see the whole picture, and get involved in what makes life meaningful.