By Sarah Sapora - Self Love Mentor & Wellness Advocate
If you didn't know me in real life, it would be easy to assume that the image on the right is me. Well.. it IS me. But it isn't me as I actually look. In an editing program, I shed about a 100 lbs worth of size, changed the shape of my body, made my breasts bigger, hips more defined, shrunk my arms and shoulders, my face and my legs, and made my skin entirely too smooth for reality. But, if you were looking really quickly - or if you saw this picture taken out of context - you might think this is what I looked like in real life. In reality, I look like the Left Side Sarah. Here's the truth - a lot of what you see on social media has been edited. Some of it is small and pretty harmless - like making the light brighter in a photo. Some of it is a bit wonkier. Like people who edit their bodies in unrealistic ways and represent this as truth. You may be asking yourself, what is the harm in doing this? Well, it makes comparison a pretty dangerous thing. And, if you know anything about mental health, you probably already know that sitting around and comparing yourself to others is a fast train ride to Anxiety-ville. But when those photos are manipulated? Woh! Let's just say you are a woman in your late 30's staring at the image on the right - you've lost weight and your body (naturally) is healthier now but your skin is slack and jiggly. If Right Side Me claimed to have lost a bunch of weight, you might wonder what is wrong with YOUR body that it doesn't look the same? Why is Right Side Me's breasts so full and high? Why is her skin so smooth? And why isn't YOURS??? AAARGGGH!!! It's misleading. It sets unrealistic expectations. And, at the end of the day, can make people feel pretty bad about who, and what, they are. Does everyone edit their pictures? Of course not! But do many people you see online? Yes. So the next time you see a picture on Instagram or Facebook that looks too good to be true -- it just might be. Observe it, don't absorb it! Notice it. And move on. Focus on YOUR unique beauty and not what you perceive to be everyone else's perfections!