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How To Have A Better Self-Image In The Age Of Selfies

Social media has been linked to poor self-esteem, anxiety and depression especially amongst Milennials and Gen Z. This is why Dove launched a campaign that helps kids build self-esteem called The Dove Self-Esteem Project.

I’ve never met more people offline than when I was going around Europe. I got used to being told that no, there’s no Facebook friend request to accept and no Instagram to follow, if I wanted to keep in touch then I’ll just have to send an SMS, call, or better yet meet up for a strong cup of English tea.  

The people I connected with in the old West were simply too busy living to post about it—as it should be. This made me seriously consider logging out from social media for good but due to the nature of my work, I decided against it: I hardly ever share personal stories anyway. I am guilty of mindless scrolling from time-to-time, and it has never failed to trigger my anxiety and rob me of my productivity.  

Filipinos are the number one Facebook users in the world, and some of the most selfie-obsessed on Instagram. I’ve unfollowed several of my peers for their relentless rants and narcissistic sharing and I myself have lost audience for commenting on politics, (which I know nothing about).

Social media has been linked to poor self-esteem, anxiety and depression especially amongst Millennials and Gen Z. Comparing our life behind-the-scenes to other people’s glamorous feeds can cause feelings of envy and bitterness, even to the point of feeling like a failure.

Constant stimulation every milli-second has also made our attention span very low—impress us in 15-30 seconds, else we’re over it. This becomes a problem in schools where they need the students to focus for at least an hour and a half on a lecture or a task. 

At work, tension can spark over a post that is mean-spirited, imagine what kind of bullies it can make out of teenagers in schools. This is why some schools in the US have started banning smartphones in class and unsurprisingly, there were a lot of positive improvements on student engagement and behaviour. 

So is it about time we delete these apps from our phones? Social media is just a tool, and it’s up to how we manage it that determines whether it is harmful or not. This is why Dove, a brand which has values rooted on authenticity, empowerment and self-love has a campaign that helps kids build self-esteem and confidence. The Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) initiative is present in 139 countries and have impacted over 20 million people thus far and is expected to double that milestone by next year, 2020. 

In the Philippines, beauty companies don’t get far unless they sell whitening and slimming. When I was taking up advertising in La Salle, it was only Dove that had a case study for their advocacy campaign on real beauty. A decade later, Dove’s message has become the battle-cry of almost all the brands that want to champion every woman. We will always remember Dove for defying the status quo: The only Titanic brand that did not bank on women’s insecurities to sell. Instead, it chose to celebrate beauty in every color, bodies of different shapes and changing hair styles. Dove is also all about real care: proper moisture for glowing skin and lustrous hair. I remember my mom would tell me, the Philippines is already humid, using Dove as your soap means you won’t need to apply those greasy lotions after. 

Dove Brand Manager Jackie Mañago
Dove Brand Manager Jackie Mañago
The Dove Brand and Ogilvy Team
The Dove Brand and Ogilvy Team

My mom isn’t around to share her practical sensibilities with me anymore but here are a few things I learned not just from her, but also from working with experts on mental health on how to have better self-image:

Limit social media usage

Time is the only resource we can’t ever get back, and it passes-by quickly and without us realising it when we’re browsing on our screens. Make it a point to allot only an hour up to two a day for Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and not only will you find yourself getting more work done, you’ll also feel less anxious as your brain won’t be over-fatigued from too much stimulation. 

Check your phone after your first meal

People who flick on their screens the moment they wake up to scan messages, posts and emails tend to be agitated throughout the day. This is because upon waking up, we are not yet fully conscious to filter out digital noise. Let your mind soak up the day first by feeding your senses. Engage with the real world before you get caught up in the virtual world. 

Dove Brand Manager Jackie Mañago discussing the DSEP
Dove Brand Manager Jackie Mañago discussing the DSEP

Share to connect

So many of the feeds on Instagram, posts on Facebook and vlogs on YouTube are curated instead of documented, with the intention of impressing instead of expressing. The best thing about social media is how it can connect people. If you’re authentic with what you share online, you’ll build resonance with your followers and have real and meaningful relationships that isn’t limited to likes and views. 

If we are what we eat then our mind is conditioned by what we focus on. So unfollow toxic profiles and be very conscious on what you watch and listen to because these can negatively affect the way we think.

The Dove Brand Team
The Dove Brand Team

Engage the Dove Self-Esteem Project

While teens and adults alike are affected by what they see on social media, the ones most vulnerable to its harmful effects are our young girls and boys. Born into the digital age, these young people grow up with the world at their fingertips. They are exposed to unrealistic images and beauty standards at such a young age, affecting their self-esteem and confidence. This is why Dove started the Dove Self-Esteem Project, so we can help young people build a healthy self-esteem and positive self-image. Learn more on

Writing on the Dove Self-Esteem Wall
Writing on the Dove Self-Esteem Wall

Check out more scenes from the Dove Self-Esteem Project event:

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