Do we need to remove the filter?

Picture this: flicking through twenty different photographs of your rapidly-cooling meal for the perfect #meatfreemonday or #toasttuesday post for Instagram. Or taking the same photograph of a yoga pose again and again because no matter how hard you try, you can’t angle yourself to avoid the stomach roll appearing. Or trying to get a gorgeously glowing post-workout selfie when, frankly, any exertion turns your face beetroot. I’m sure that you get the idea, and probably know these feelings first hand, especially if your online presence is entered around healthy living. I know that I get these feelings all the damn time and, on top of that, feel guilty when I’m not living a perfect health blogger/yogic lifestyle. Which, lets be honest, is not something that’s going to happen whilst I’m a student living in small cities on a small budget and often small, dark apartments. 

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I’m guessing that for a lot of you reading this will hold true. Heck, even if you are working in the health, fitness or wellness world or your dream field (if so, good on you!) I am pretty sure that every day is not a perfect embodiment of the Instagram goddess life we may believe it to be. Of course, if anyone has any tips to make my life half as beautiful as Fredrika of the Fakander Instagram account, then I would totally be down for that. But I digress. Life isn’t perfect, and as much as we try to cultivate our feeds to represent an ideal, sometimes real life gets in the way. This isn’t to say that filtered and themed images are a bad thing -I work hard to try and keep my feed looking a certain may and the aesthetics of many accounts are part of their appeal -but maybe sometimes, a blurry, unedited photo wouldn’t hurt. I love how accounts are becoming more relatable as the captions and Instagram stories give out confessions and #realtalk. If a blogger with a big following admits that they skipped the gym or ate an entire bar of chocolate -and is okay with that -then it sends out a message that perfection isn’t necessary. Or, indeed, possible. Similarly, I love how Tara Stiles, posts unedited, blurry photos onto her accounts because to her, that is what is real. Moving from Instagram to reality somewhat, Maxine Ali’s statement on Laura Thomas’ podcast about how real balance is enjoying an indulgence spontaneously, and not by planning days or weeks in advance, rang so true to me.

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The point of this post isn’t to make anyone feel guilty about their edited Instagram photos or for having a slobby evening on the sofa (regardless of whether or not you then post about it). It’s just a message to say hey, it’s okay. It doesn’t matter how you are living or how you portray your account online, so long as it isn’t harming you or others. But sometimes, it is also okay to breach the gap between online and offline and just remove the filter even a little bit. Because underneath is you and that is a pretty awesome thing.