10 Year Challenge Celebrates More Than Just Looks

Amie Sparrow
By Amie Sparrow,
updated on Jan 17, 2019

10 Year Challenge Celebrates More Than Just Looks

Many people are taking the opportunity of #10YearChallenge to draw attention to other issues

If you’re on social media, you’ve seen it already: a flattering (or not-so-flattering) photo of your friend from 10 years ago, next to a photo of them now. The caption probably says something like “well, if everyone else is going to do it LOL” or “OK I’ll jump on the bandwagon.” Maybe you’ve posted one yourself.

Millions of people have taken to social media to post their own side-by-side photos of themselves in 2009 next to a recent photo of themselves for the 10 Year Challenge, and it seems like the trend isn’t going away anytime soon - there are 2.7 million posts using #10yearchallenge on Instagram alone.

“With a society built on looking young and achieving so much, it is not surprising that the 10-year photo comparison has gripped social media,” Counselling Directory member Philip Karahassan said.

“Checking in with yourself to see how you’ve developed and how much you have achieved in 10 years can be a useful exercise, and stopping to think what direction you’d like to go in for the next 10 years can be helpful as well.”

“However, as with all social media, Facebook is about self-promotion and so many might feel they have to show a hyped up or untruthful version of themselves in order to massage their virtual ego.”

Philip explained that this can have a knock-on effect. “Many will judge themselves on the unrealistic expectation that others have shown, affecting their self-worth, and so they may choose the best snapshot to show themselves in an unrealistic light.”

However, many have chosen to address the trend in other ways.

Happiful cover star Katie Piper used the viral trend to celebrate her recovery from an acid attack and to reassure her followers not to let the challenge cause anxiety.

Podcaster and business mentor Ruth Poundwhite used the opportunity to look back at her accomplishments over the past ten years instead of focusing on her looks. Ruth told Happiful, “It was pretty amazing seeing ‘on paper’ how much I had achieved in the last 10 years and how far I’d come, but I had a huge vulnerability hangover as soon as I shared it. I guess it’s not normal for women to be so candid about their achievements. But, I underestimated my amazing community of followers, because they were all incredibly supportive and I hope that they might feel a bit braver in sharing their achievements too!”

View this post on Instagram

10 years ago in I was 21 and had finished university the summer before. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I was earning a living freelancing and about to move in with my boyfriend. * * Here’s my version of the #10yearchallenge, inspired by @loveaudrey83 talking about sharing achievements not just photos (and her latest podcast chat with @_charlieswift #friendswithbizbenefits) * * Since 2009 I have… ✨Felt better about myself since turning 30 than I ever did in my 20s ✨Run the London marathon in the speedy time of 4 hours 48 (& raised £1000 for charity) ✨Discovered what it means to be an introvert and that I wasn’t just ‘weird’ all this time! ✨Gotten engaged & married (and we’re coming up for our 12 year ‘going out’ anniversary in a couple of weeks!) ✨Grown a baby, birthed a baby, and breastfed that baby for a whole year (and counting) ✨Gone through PND, gotten help & come out the other side a stronger version of myself ✨Turned that freelance gig into a 6-figure business & worked with clients from Sweden to Singapore ✨Registered as a Limited Company and hired 10+ freelance team members ✨Tried my hand at website flipping, wrote a book on freelancing (no longer available) and started a podcast! ✨Saved for a deposit and bought a house - thanks to my business ✨Travelled to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Japan in 2012 ✨Funded my travels (and my husband’s) entirely through my business ✨Supported my husband to quit his job and be the poet he is meant to be ✨Started this new business here in 2018... who knows where it will lead? * * PS. It’s not often that I talk about my achievements like this, and it feels good and a little bit scary to share! I’ve decided I’m going to add a weekly celebration thread for everyone in my Facebook group so that this becomes normal! 💫

A post shared by ruth poundwhite✨ (@ruthpoundwhite) on

Actress Jameela Jamil’s “I Weigh” movement, which encourages followers to “feel valuable and see how amazing we are beyond the flesh on our bones” has prompted followers to post their own achievements in lieu of side-by-side photographs that focus on looks only.

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#10yearchallenge #iweigh 🥳

A post shared by I Weigh (@i_weigh) on

Others have used the trend to draw attention to global warming, as racing driver Lucas DiGrassi has, asking people to combat climate change by installing solar panels in their homes and eating less meat.

Whether you’re using the trend to post a couple photos of yourself for a little dose of feel-good nostalgia, or using it to bring attention to an issue that’s important to you, the important bit is to make sure you don’t let the trend get you down.

“It's important that we don't feel dejected by the changes we see in others’ profiles as they are showing themselves in their best light, which might not be a realistic or even a true representation of the changes in their lives,” Philip said.

Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash.

Amie Sparrow

By Amie Sparrow

Amie is a contributing writer for Happiful and PR Manager for Happiful and Memiah.

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