Woman hand holding Apple iPhone with Instagram application on the screen. Instagram is a photo-sharing app for smartphones.
Image: happydancing/Shutterstock

In 2016, Instagram became one of the most widely used social media platforms. The ability to upload pictures of your life to the social media app makes it easy for anyone to share the highlights of their lives. The pressure to be perfect, though, is apparent in the countless number of photos uploaded to the app each day.

From selfies to photos in bikinis, many girls are using Instagram to create the illusion of a perfect life. Instagram can be a great tool to connect with new people from across the world and to catch up with friends that you haven’t seen in awhile. However, Instagram has become a catalyst for self-esteem issues for way too many girls. The next time you feel the temptation to edit your images, please think twice. Below are the top reasons why you should ditch the pressure to be “Instagram perfect”.

Editing Makes You Focus on Your Flaws

Think about it, if you are spending time and energy to adjust your appearance while editing an image, you are spending all of that time looking for flaws in how you look. This is not healthy. Don’t train yourself to look for negative aspects of the way you look. Instead of giving into the urge of whitening your teeth or instantly changing your body shape, train yourself to combat those moments with self-love. Instead of rushing to Photoshop or an editing app, simply throw on a filter and declare “I am me, and that is enough!”

It Gives Others a False Sense of What’s Real

Okay, so maybe you’ve decided that you just have to edit a few blemishes and make your skin tone completely smooth. What may boost your self-esteem for a few moments may harm someone else’s. Instagram is overflowing with images that are over-edited and obviously fake. For young girls and women alike, seeing the same types of perfected images over and over can really harm their perception of what is real. It is not realistic for most people to look airbrushed, perfectly proportioned, and flawless. Don’t contribute to the narrative that women have to look a certain way. We are great as we are—flaws and all!

It Becomes Habit

The accessibility of editing apps makes the option to alter photos way too tempting. In just a few moments, you can portray yourself however you choose to. This sort of control over how you come across to others can be dangerously addicting. There have been known cases of girls becoming addicted to using social media for self-affirmation. Once you choose to start portraying yourself in a perfect way, you will feel the pressure to keep up with that image. Don’t get caught up in the race to perfection.

Instagram is a great way to connect with others, but don’t feel the need to change who you are. Sharing the real you will always be better than sharing Photoshopped images.