Selena Gomez opened up about going through a “really dangerous” period in her life in which Instagram became her “whole world.” 

The multi-hyphenate told InStyle that when she was younger, the platform influenced her expectations of beauty and negatively influenced how she wanted to be seen in public. “At one point Instagram became my whole world, and it was really dangerous,” Gomez said. “In my early 20s, I felt like I wasn’t pretty enough. There was a whole period in my life when I thought I needed makeup and never wanted to be seen without it.”

As she got older, Selena realized how harmful her relationship with Instagram had become, and it became clear that the only answer was to step away from the app altogether. “The older I got, the more I evolved and realized that I needed to take control of what I was feeling. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and feel confident to be who I am,” she explained. “Taking a break from social media was the best decision that I’ve ever made for my mental health.”

Gomez said she has since implemented a “system” that will prevent her from accessing her passwords, confessing that she realized how the “unnecessary hate and comparisons went away once I put my phone down,” adding, “I’ll have moments where that weird feeling will come back, but now I have a much better relationship with myself.” 

Selena’s cosmetics line Rare Beauty serves as a reflection of her own self-discovery. Back in 2020, she described Rare Beauty as “being comfortable in yourself” and not striving for an unattainable level of perfection.

“I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand,” Gomez said. “I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and start embrace our uniqueness. You’re not defined by a photo, a like or a comment. Rare Beauty isn’t about how other people see you, but how you see yourself.” 

Over time, Selena has come to realize that she needs to strike that balance between prioritizing herself and being there for her friends. Even though that middle ground can be hard to find, she knows that she must come first. “I have to make sure that I’m OK, you know?,” she said. “Because if I’m not OK, I can’t be OK for other people.”

Head over to InStyle to read the interview with Gomez in full.