5 Signs that Social Media Is Hurting Your Body Image

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

Hello friends! I am so grateful to have had my friend Madeline write this guest post for us on ways to tell if social media is impacting your body image in a negative way.

What I love about her advice is that she gives practical ways for us to reset some of these harmful habits we may have gotten ourselves into and shares ways for us to practice more grace and gratitude towards the beautiful bodies God has given us. Enjoy her incredible post! You can check out her blog here.

Madeline was also a guest on my podcast, Clothed in Strength. Click here to listen to the episode we recorded together: Clothed In Strength Ep.1: Body Image, Gratefulness, and Battling the Lie That You Aren't Enough with Madeline Roberts

Social media is a wonderful thing. It keeps us connected with the ones we love, and allows us to scope a person out before going on that blind date. But sometimes social media can feel more like a beauty pageant.

We have all seen the rapid rise in apps that can alter your body features to make you look younger, thinner, pimple free, etc. Why all the apps? Because it sells. Clearly we as a society have a beauty problem, or maybe a beauty addiction.

Is it possible that you could be slipping into the dark hole of self image distortion brought on by the use social media?

Here are 5 signs that could point to yes.

1. You compare parts of your body to what you see on others. There are probably one or two parts of your body that you are particularly unhappy with. Because of that you may find yourself looking at those features on someone else and envying that they have what you wish you could have. For instance, you may think your ears are too big and you wish you had that other girls’ cute little ears. Perhaps if she saw you she would wish to have your little button nose!

Next time you start envying another person for their features, stop and thank God for making you the way that you are.

2. A majority of your time is spent scrolling through exercise, weight loss, & beauty accounts.

Have you ever heard the saying that “We worship what we spend the most time thinking about”? Well if you are spending most of your time on social media looking at ways to improve your appearance, then maybe you are worshiping yourself!

Try setting a goal for yourself to spend more time in the Bible or in prayer than you do on social media, even just for a day. This kind of discipline can have a huge impact on your amount of joy and contentment. You may also gain a couple more hours in your day!

3. Your mood is affected by how many “likes” you got on your recent photo. It can be fun to post a pretty portrait of yourself and see the likes and comments pour in. It can also be a total bummer when you don’t get the affirmation that you were expecting.

If you ever find that you are grumpy because your selfie didn’t get as many likes as you had hoped, or even that you’re really happy simply because your photo is blowing up, you may need to make an internal change. Our self worth should be found in God, not our Instagram popularity.

If you are addicted to the “high” of Instagram likes, maybe take a break from social media to reset yourself. Start serving at church or occupy yourself in more helpful ways with your family or friends. Serving other people and seeing the joy it can bring them is always a thrill! 4. You find yourself publicly criticizing or even making jokes about your appearance.

When a friend tags you in a picture and you comment something like “Ew my face looks so fat lol.” a couple things can happen.

A) People could feel like they have to assure you that your face does not actually look fat.

B) People may feel self conscious about the way you see them since you are so critical about yourself.

Both of these things are probably not the results you were looking for from your comment. The truth is, no matter how innocent we mean for our little remarks to be, criticizing ourselves only makes other people uncomfortable.

Next time you want to make a negative comment about yourself, turn it around instead and say “This is such a good pic!”. This will show that you display self confidence and security, and it will make everyone else feel good too. 5. You won’t let friends post your picture or tag you on social media without your approval. Are you that person who won’t let a picture be taken of you until they have your good side and you are hidden partially behind someone else and your lighting is hitting you in all the right spots? Then once the photo is taken do you immediately check it before they post it to make sure you look fabulous?

You may need to gain a new perspective on the world around you. How often do you look at photos of friends and say “Wow that must be their bad side, and they should have gone near a window because they look horrible in that lighting!”? Hopefully not too often or else we have bigger issues to work through.

Try to remember, we are our own worst critics. Most people will take one glance at your photo and move on. And when they move on from it, you should too.

If any of these sound like you, don’t worry. You are not alone!

We are all having to work extra hard to focus on what’s most important in life. Because of the temptation to envy that social media can bring to our lives we must be diligent to combat that temptation with the truth.

Let’s all remember to lift each other up and point each other to scripture, to know that we are wonderfully made by God, no matter how many likes we get on our photos.

About Madeline Roberts

Hey there! My name is Madeline. I am a ridiculously silly 24-year-old with Prince Charming for a husband and an internet sensation wiener dog. I am loved more than I can even comprehend by God, my family, and my friends. 

Acne has been my struggle for the last 9 years, and it used to make me feel like no one would want to love me. Turns out, that's totally not true. My husband proposed to me on my most broken out day of 2016. He looked me in the face, pimples and all, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. He could have jumped ship you guys, but he chose to continue loving me instead. 

Don't you think you deserve to be loved too? Not just by others, but by yourself. Whatever your insecurity is, whether it's acne, eczema, your weight, your height, anxiety, etc., there are countless things that can cause us to feel unworthy in life. But I'm here to tell you that there is a mighty God who created every intricate part of you on purpose, and he thinks you are a masterpiece. 

Let's come together as girls. Let's be on each other's side. Let's encourage one another to be good stewards of the skin, bodies, and personalities that God gave us.