Filtered Photos and Your Self-Esteem: Experts Weigh In

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Filtered Photos and Your Self-Esteem: Experts Weigh In

(AscendHealthy.com) – Hair is curled and styled; the makeup is perfect. It’s selfie time! Getting the perfect look goes beyond an on-the-fly appearance. Those gray hairs, fine lines and wrinkles are still there. But it’s an easy fix. Just use a filter and poof! Unfortunately, that may not be the best choice for mental health. Let’s talk more about filtered photos and how they can impact self-esteem.

How Filters Affect Our Self-Esteem

Some of us may be worried we have too many freckles or that the crook of our noses just takes over our faces. We may obsess over real or perceived imperfections, using negative self-talk along the way. It could make us so self-conscious, embarrassed, and anxious that we avoid social situations. But behind a filter, we might feel like a model.

Being obsessed with certain attributes of our appearances may lead to body dysmorphic disorder or BDD, a mental health condition where individuals worry ceaselessly about their appearance and constantly compare themselves to others. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it affects one in every 50 people.

Feeling the need to use a filter with photos or to alter appearances may eventually affect self-esteem. Seek help from a qualified doctor or mental health professional if thoughts become obsessive or begin to cause depression.

A Quick Fix

Using a filter can be addicting. We can easily change appearance, clothing, hair color and skin tone by using certain photo filters. It’s easier and quicker than getting dressed and ready for the day.

Yet, it can lead to a lack of self-worth when we see ourselves look flawless in photos, but we struggle to make our appearances satisfactory in actuality. We may feel sad or disappointed, and we may let discouragement stop us from taking the best care of ourselves. It’s important for our self-esteem for us to care for ourselves by cleaning up, styling our hair and looking our best.

A Meeting in Real Life

If we’re posting filtered photos to social media regularly, people perceive us through those images. But if we happen to run into people in public, we can’t hide behind those filters. All the imperfections we might obsess over, like dark eye circles, scars, or excess weight, are all clearly visible.

The experts at Science Daily share that this can be a huge blow to self-esteem when we experience those cringe-worthy moments. We need to love and accept ourselves for exactly who we are and have faith that others will see us for the exceptional people we are, too. We can’t hide and cover-up imperfections forever.

Forever Young

A popular filter softens the face and brightens the eyes. It gives the appearance that we’re 20-something again. The pros at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) suggest that while it can be enjoyable to play, we should always embrace our age and body image. Even though we may post it on social media and get many likes, it’s not authentically us. Thinking it’s okay to share younger versions of ourselves or that we’ve aged flawlessly is living a lie. Celebrate those tiny scars and graying hair. The past is the past; it’s time to live in the moment.

Playing with filters can be fun and entertaining, a peek into the past or an alternative universe. It’s only a problem when we feel we need to look perfect all the time. Peer judgments and negative posts and reactions are real, but they don’t define us. Get the camera and take the best selfie ever. No filters, just pure, authentic, and in the moment. Embracing our individuality can ultimately be freeing!

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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