Ok, so this could apply to pretty much all social media but I’ll start with instagram.
I have no shame in admitting I am already a highly insecure individual, I, like many others, have never felt confident in how I look. And that could easily be disregarded as BS because I take posey selfies from time to time; well taking a strategically angled, well lit selfie in the hope that people will like or comment and boost your self esteem if only slightly, if only temporary, does not equate to feeling happy and comfortable in how you look. Let me tell you that for a fact.
I also have no shame in admitting I’m pretty clueless as to what I am doing/want to do with my life, I am currently a carer for my brother who suffers from severe autism, and that doesn’t leave much room for much thought/other options at the moment.
Yet when I do get a minute to myself, and I log onto Instagram, often it’s just harmless browsing and liking other people’s pictures, but if you log on feeling a little low, it can be quite a dangerous place to be.
What you seem to be presented with, is pictures of flawless looking girls blessed with genetics you simply don’t have and never will have, or pictures of people on flashy holidays, or perfect relationships, or people boasting of their latest career achievements… you get the picture.
And that’s how it feels sometimes. Like everyone else leads these exciting lives, with their stable and successful jobs, with their perfect boyfriend and their perfect hair and they go home to their perfect house at the end of a perfect day. And suddenly, after that harmless little browse, your day feels even shitter than it did before. Particularly when you’re mid argument with your boyfriend and you see gushing, romantic pictures of couples who seem like they have the most swimmingly perfect relationship and you start to put your own relationship down. That couple on the screen have blazing rows too, they just don’t document them for the world to see, and why would they?
What you see on instagram is so far from the truth.
A particular example I remember well, is a girl on instagram followed me, I followed her back, we became friendly, and it seemed like everything I did, she did better. Every picture of me made me look like a toe compared to her and every time I saw a picture of hers on my timeline I felt agonisingly jealous, I became really quite bitter about it and it definitely is true when they see jealousy is ugly, I’ve never felt uglier, physically and mentally. Then she added me on Facebook and her tagged photos started to pop up on the timeline and they looked COMPLETELY different to her instagram selfies. Nothing looked the same, without the filters and the strategic angle, she looked like a different person and I quickly realised that the jealousy I had been feeling was beyond stupid, and I wished I could take back them hours spent hating how I looked.
And I’m not trying to be one of these nasty girls who tears down other girls, I’m not for a second saying she looked ugly, I’m just pointing out that people do not look like their instagram selfies, including me, and that is important to remember.
I do not blame people for only posting their good pictures, strategically angled and strategically filtered, I don’t blame people for posting pictures of their exciting holidays or their nice moments with their boyfriend or their latest achievement in their life. Because why would you post about the more realistic side of things? You’re not going to advertise pictures of you on an ugly day at an ugly angle in bad lighting, you’re not going to post something when you’re mid argument with your boyfriend or you’ve taken shit all day from customers, or you’re having what feels like a mid life career crisis and feeling lost. Ofcourse you’re only going to post things that make you feel good and show you in a good light, we all do it. I know people must look at my instagram, selfies and pictures of my travels and days out and weekends away, and could probably never imagine me sat here writing this right now, hair scraped back like a boiled egg, bloated stomach feeling about 50 stone, confused about my life and what I want from it, thinking about when I’ll next be able to afford a holiday away from my chaotic household after looking at other people’s holiday photos.
The truth is, we are all just flawed, clumsy, clueless humans sort of stumbling through life snd always wanting what we don’t have and living for them brief moments of happiness along the way, and there is nothing wrong with capturing them moments and posting them; just remember that what you see online is not the full story. Be happy for those around you, but give yourself a break too.