This article originally appeared on People.com.
As a psychologist, Stacey Lee understands the impact social media images can have on a person�s self-worth.
�One of the recurrent themes I treat in my profession is body image and its effect on self-esteem,� the Melbourne-based fitness influencer posted on Instagram on Monday. �Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one�s own worth. ?However, when that worth is tied to an image, a number on a scale, the size of clothes, the smoothness of skin, the smallness of a waist, the bigness of a butt, the definition on your abs or the gap between your thighs, your worth will never be measured correctly.�
Lee says using those factors to define our self-worth is especially damaging when we hold ourselves to the unrealistic ideals set by images that have been photoshopped.
�We are shown images every day which are not realistic � even the small changes to photos or advertisements make a difference,� she says. �They send subconscious messages saying that you aren�t enough, and never will be.�
Lee decided to decrease her exposure to manipulated images by unfollowing certain social media accounts.
�As soon as I stopped following accounts that used photoshop, professional images, constant filters and altered their images, my self-esteem improved,� she said. �?Being able to see real women share their real bodies [�] gave me the confidence to work for my realistic goals, and to measure my progress on a REAL measuring stick.�
To illustrate her point about subtle manipulations to photos, Lee showed how minor edits can make a big difference in the way a person�s body looks.
�?The point of this image is to show that when something that is already �good� is altered to be �better,� it teaches people that your �real� isn�t good enough,� she said. �?I don�t want to ever perpetuate or encourage that twisted notion. So I post these photos to combat that idea and to raise awareness of the damage it can have.�
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