In a previous post, I discussed ways social media can be harmful for those of us struggling with our body image. What truly determines whether or not sites like Facebook and Snap Chat are harmful to you depends on how you use them.
You’ve got to be smart about it!
Today, I’m taking a look at how my favorite platform, Instagram, can be transformed into your best tool for body positivity. I’ll explore how to tailor who you follow and give you some examples of women I follow who make me feel my best.
For me, Insta is the only social media I avidly use. I’m exposed to what I choose to follow multiple times a day. Choose. That’s the keyword, here!
- After feeling down and dismal for months, I realized I had to choose different input. So I turned to my Instagram to see what I could change.
How I Made Instagram a Positive Experience for Myself
Instagram can be hard for someone stuck playing the comparison game. However, there are ways I turned my Instagram feed into a positive experience, and now I’m sharing these ways with you!
Be selective about who you follow.
It may seem obvious, but it’s not! For someone like me, who constantly compares herself to others, it’s extremely important who I follow.
It can make the difference between feeling little bouts of happiness or sadness throughout the day. Some of you know what I mean. That feeling when you see a woman whose body is different than yours.
- If your brain has been conditioned to compare yourself with others, you get one of two results:
- You feel sad, frustrated, degraded, worthless
- You feel happy, positive, uplifted, empowered
I used to follow Instagram fashion models who were gorgeous, yes – but they didn’t reflect the reality that I live in.
They were thin. I couldn’t help but see these “perfect” legs, toned arms, flat stomachs and think…why can’t I be like that? If I was like that, my life would be better.
But my reality is different. I’m curvy, tall, and muscular in some places. I had to align my Instagram feed to my reality.
How to Choose Who to Follow
- Fashion is such a wonderful industry these days. More lines are creating plus sized clothing for curvy women. Disclaimer: I don’t have anything against slender ladies. I have always felt that being skinny is not a crime!
Body positivity is not about loving one body type- but about everyone accepting themselves and everyone else, as they are.
- So, I knew I didn’t want to cut out skinny fashion icons all together! I just wanted a healthy mix, a representation of all body types.
- I needed to limit my screen time with bodies that were not like my own- not because there is anything wrong with them, but because of my own mental state.
- Until I become fully confident as I am, with my curves and myself, I can’t afford to be forever comparing myself to a standard I wasn’t born with.
I began by searching the hashtag #curvyfashion and wow, did that open up a new world for me! Curves, everywhere! Bodies like my own, bigger than my own, and guess what…. they were so beautiful. Sassy. Elegant. Fashionable! I was on to something.
My First Favorite Fashionistas
I first found three fashionistas to follow, and I follow them to this day!
1. @willowcurves –
Not only does Amy have a killer sense of fashion, she’s not afraid to try new things! She is the sole reason for my jumpsuit obsession and the addition of bright colors to my wardrobe.
- She embraces her curves, showing them off instead of hiding them! And she never shies away from color. She is bold, brave and so friendly.
- Oh, and she just became the new face of a lingerie brand. Her reason:
“So I can increase the visibility of different body types, so that chubby pale tums, big dimply freckled butts and soft round arms like mine (and all other body types – they’re all deserving) become the norm”.
2. @flashesofstyle –
Bonnie has so much class! She’s sweet as can be, and proves you don’t have to be petite or super slender to pull off trendy, laidback-chic styles.
Plus, her red lipstick screams confidence! But it wasn’t always that way for Bonnie:
“I finally started accepting my body a year or so ago, and its the most freeing feeling in the world!”
Now Bonnie is working to help other women along the path of acceptance.
3. @Heatherj.143 –
As a curvaceous woman, it can be tempting to tone down colors, patterns and styles of clothes to hide your form. Heather proves that’s just not the way it should be!
She is unapologetically fierce and loves helping other women feel the same.
Also, she struggles with depression, which so many women can relate to. Her ability to be who she wants to be, wear what she wants to wear, is truly inspirational.
Why Who You Follow Matters
After a couple of months following these style icons, I felt different. I began to notice less negative self-talk. These women were beautiful…. therefore, I could be too, curves and all.
- No matter what you look like, what body type you have and what body type you wish you had, surround yourself with images and people that uplift you. People you can look at and say, “she’s pretty, sassy, amazing. I can be, too!”
Stop chasing the dream of who you could be someday. Accept who you are, now, in this very moment. Not future-you, not 30-pounds-lighter you, not post-haircut or post-shopping spree you! After all, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and you’re the only you there is. Revel in your uniqueness.
Changing who you follow on social media will have a huge effect on your mood, perspective, and attitude toward yourself. Make sure you’re following people who uplift you.
But most of all: give yourself permission to be different and to love yourself.
Who do you follow on Instagram that truly inspires you to love yourself?