I am starting to notice that I have been letting my Instagram timeline determine my worth and direct my emotions. By nature, every time we scroll through the stretching line of photos, we are bombarded with couples that look SO in love, friends having a blast on vacation, and of course, the most beautiful selfie that someone has ever snapped. Then, if you are not careful and aware before you know it, you realize that your overarching belief is that “everyone has a more fun, more fulfilling, more rewarding life than I do.”
I often find myself battling this thought, so here are a few reminders for all of you social media users out there:
The Highlight Reel
Typically all social media, especially Instagram, does an expert job of portraying only the highlights of life. Primarily because we only desire to share the good and shiny parts of our day with the rest of the world. I am not generally snapping photos of the moments when I spill food on my shirt, have an argument with my family, or realize that I have food in my teeth. Instead, I will share the time when I have on the best outfit, have a lovely BBQ with my family, and look the absolute hottest I have ever been. We all know that we scroll through our photo albums only to post our best work online, when the more real and raw moments either do not get photographed in the first place, or they definitely do not get posted publicly. This is always a good reminder because when everyone is doing this same thing, we end up scrolling through the “highlight reels” of life and it only shows us a tiny sliver of the full picture. We must not forget that everyone has hardships, everyone has bad days, and everyone faces feelings of doubt, insecurity, and fear.
Love Your “Behind the Scenes” Moments
If we think about it, the moments that we cherish most and that have caused the largest amount of personal growth in our lives are rarely the moments we post about. They tend to be a subtle yet tender moment with a friend or family member, or maybe it was a breakthrough moment from addiction or depression. Social media does not show the depths of life or give a peek into the “behind the scenes” moments when a genuine transformation is taking place. If we overlook our life’s most precious times and memories only to compare them to the highlight reel of someone else, it is no surprise why we are left in a state of jealousy and comparison.
The truth is, a full and abundant life that is rooted in joy can not just be a string of highlights because it is in fact through overcoming hardship that we find joy, and it is through the darkness that light shines brightest. We have all gone through hell and back in some form along our journey, and I hope that we can remember how these times have shaped us and learn to appreciate them rather than grow bitter at the “perfect life” someone else appears to be living.
My advice to myself and anyone reading this is that we would challenge ourselves to be experts in perspective, learn to celebrate the victories of others, and spend some time away from social media. I hope we always maintain perspective on the fact that social media shows only a fraction of life as a whole and that it has zero authority to determine our value as an individual especially in those moments when you get fewer likes than you had hoped, or someone leaves a rude comment. A friendly reminder that we do have a say in the role that social media plays in our lives! Instead of always comparing our perceived failures to perceived successes of another, we should try to celebrate the victories and mourn the losses of others. Not everything needs to be a comparison. Someone else can be having a “fab” life, and it does not have to mean anything less about my life.
Additionally, if you find that this is genuinely an issue for you and it has caused insecurity to creep in, I would suggest ditching the social media for a while to regain your appreciation for YOU without the input of the rest of the world.