Sometimes when we scroll our way through social media, we get the impression that everyone else in the world is just perfect. An ideal world that you have no chance of keeping up with. Madita felt exactly the same way. She wanted nothing more than to belong. But the pressure of constantly comparing herself with everyone else led to nothing but discontent. Until she decided once and for all to be herself and to show the world the real Madita.
Today, her Instagram account (@maditadorn) is all about more authenticity on social media. She shines a spotlight on how easy it is to edit photos after they’ve been taken. We talked with her about how she took the first step to self-acceptance. Read our interview with Madita to find out how you can put yourself onto the path to more contentment in your own life.
Madita, tell us about yourself!
…makes you laugh the most?
My dog and the tv show “Friends”
…are words you live by?
“Better to be real than perfect.”
…do you do best?
Overthink! But I’m working on it – and I’m also really good at enjoying and eating my food!
…can you not do at all?
…is your favorite foodspring product, and why?
The Chocolate Vegan Protein, because I use it in my porridge every day. It simply tastes amazing!
You have a big community on Instagram and you’re regularly active on social media. How did you decide to get started on Instagram? How have you changed the way you use this platform over time?
Back at the start, I wanted to share my newly discovered passion for strength training with other people. But it didn’t take long at all before I started comparing myself to other influencers. They were in love, they were always smiling, they were beautiful, they were always on the move to the most beautiful places in the world. To my eyes, their lives were absolutely perfect. Trying to keep up with them put me under so much pressure, it had a huge effect on my life outside of the app as well. All of a sudden, I was unhappy with myself all over again, even though strength training had given a huge boost to my self-esteem!
After a while, I realized that loads of influencers were using editing apps. The following few weeks I spent hours at a time on my phone, trying to make sure my feed looked as perfect as possible. But that made me unhappy, too. I was trying to look like someone who, in reality, I’m just not. It reached a breaking point when I found myself in tears one morning. I made the decision that I either had to delete the app, or completely turn around my attitude towards it. And so, between one day and the next, I stopped editing my photos. I started just being myself. Just Madita – not Influencer Madita. And since then I’ve been speaking up for more realness on Instagram. I want to help others feel good with how their own bodies and their own lives are, rather than worrying about what their bodies and lives aren’t.
Day after day, we’re confronted with “perfect” photos, be it on social media, on magazines, or on the TV. Some of the photos are professionally retouched, but even careful posing and controlling the lighting conditions can have a huge influence. Your Instagram account promises “no editing here.” And even in your posts, often enough you show an edited photo next to the unedited one, and point out the differences. Why is reality on Instagram so close to your heart?
I know from my own experience how much of an impact it can make to compare yourself to the edited photos you see on Instagram. They can have such a negative impact on your own life. There are lots of positives that Instagram brings to the table, but unfortunately there are some cons, too. And one of those is that the reality gets covered up. People get the impression that everyone else has a “perfect” life. But there’s no such thing as perfection. We all have our problems, our bad days, and the things we feel insecure about. I don’t want to sweep mine under the rug. We’re all people – whether we’re influencers or not.
Even if we know the tricks they use, we keep tending back to this instinct to compare ourselves with other people – consciously or unconsciously. What are the dangers of constantly comparing yourself with other people? What’s your advice for moving away from that?
The constant comparison on social media doesn’t only bring out insecurities; it can even make them worse. And then these feelings impact our lives outside of social media. When I went through puberty, for example, I used women in magazines as my basis for reality. Back then, it was “in” to be very thin. I forced myself through countless diets to try and change my curvier body to fit this beauty standard. It got so bad that I started having binge eating episodes, and I’d feel guilty every time I ate. It wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve developed a healthier relationship with food.
Hopefully you’re getting a picture of how dangerous it is to compare yourself with others, especially in the world of social media, where so much is staged and edited. That’s why it’s so crucial for me to stay as authentic as I can on Instagram.
My tips for less comparing:
Unfollow any accounts that bring out bad feelings in you. Meanwhile, follow accounts that inspire you.
Remind yourself again and again that you’re only seeing 0.1% of a person’s life on Instagram, and even that is often edited and staged.
Reduce the time you spend on social media. Spend more time in your real life.
Ask yourself why you’re comparing yourself to others. Most of the time, your comparisons are covering up hidden feelings of insecurity. Uncover these feelings and try to work on them.
Remind yourself that no one is perfect and no one could ever be perfect. The things that you perceive as flaws are normal and human.
The way you look has nothing to do with your value as a human. Concentrate on valuing yourself from the inside, on your inner values.
Be thankful for your body! It does an unbelievable amount of work every day. Be good to it – you’ve only got one!
Our Tip: Are you looking to distance yourself from the “appearances matter” mentality? What would you think about a digital break to kick things off? Read our article on digital detox with 12 tips for a more analog life.
The concepts of body positivity and body neutrality are gaining more and more ground lately and calling out the unrealistic, discriminating standards of the beauty ideals of the past. On top of that, we should be focusing on what’s inside, not how someone’s outside looks! What a great message! In real life, though, it’s easier said than done. The path to more self-love is a long one. What were you most insecure about and how did you find a way past it?
That’s absolutely true! I’m still on that long self-love journey! We’re constantly confronted with things we’re insecure about, whether old or new. I see it more as a change of attitude, rather than a goal that you can reach and be done with.
My biggest insecurity was the cellulite I have on my legs and my butt. I always used to be the last one into the pool, just to make sure no one could see me from behind.
I was able to conquer this one by confronting my fear. Instead of overthinking everything, I challenged myself to do the things I usually avoided. When I did that, it became clear to me that I was my own worst critic. Because – fun fact – most people don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about me as I do. We’re all too busy focusing on our own insecurities.
And on top of that, I did some research into cellulite and I found out that it’s just a normal thing for humans to have (even if we barely ever see it on social media).
Our Tip: Loving yourself is probably both one of the hardest and one of the most important topics to master. We’ll show you have to strengthen your self-love using practical exercises in our article on self-love.
What character traits do you love about yourself? How about in other people?
What I love about myself is that I’m authentic. I’m always working on being the person that I really am, and that I want to be. Another thing I really prize about myself is that I have so much empathy and a soft heart for people and animals.
I like people I feel comfortable around and can just be myself with. And I hope I give those people the same feeling about me!
Loving and accepting yourself the way you are doesn’t stand in conflict with working out regularly and eating a balanced diet! You have to pay the most attention to the way you approach it. How did you find your own balance when you were starting out?
That’s absolutely true! These two ideas are so often seen as opposites! But if you love yourself, of course you want to do things that are good for your body!
I had to learn to listen to myself and my body from the inside again, instead of what was going on outside of it. Today I do whichever sports bring me joy and feel good for me. I eat intuitively; I keep my diet healthy and balanced.
And most of all, I’ve made it totally clear for myself that it’s absolutely normal to have bad days. I’m not always perfectly happy and balanced. And that is completely okay!
What do you do for your physical and mental well-being?
I try to be active every day, whether it’s a short walk or an hour and a half in the gym. But I’ve gotten out of the habit of forcing myself to do anything. I do whatever activity or sport I feel like doing in that moment. I also love trying out new things.
And for my mental health, I meditate, I do yoga, I read a lot, I practice mindfulness and I always try to keep growing.
What advice would you give someone who wants to improve their self-confidence?
Self-confidence doesn’t come from outside, but from inside. That was really important for me to understand. You can do as much exercise and go on as many diets as you want and still feel insecure about yourself. Find out where these insecurities come from. Most of the time they’re buried deep in our subconscious. Once you get to know your insecurities and your trigger points, you can work on them.
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