I recently called a friend and told her about a difficult situation going on in my life. She responded "Oh wow, really? I'm so surprised, your Instagram pictures from this weekend were amazing!" While yes, I know my photos from that weekend were, as the kids call it, "on fleek", they in no way represented the emotional turmoil wreaking havoc inside my head.
I posted those photos, happy and carefree, even though at the moment I felt like a train wreck. I chose to post something to Social Media which in no way represented my actual well being. Why did I do this? At what point in time did I mentally say, "No, Sydney, only show people the good stuff."? I don't know the answer.
I began to wonder at what age are we taught to not let people see our true emotions. It's not just boys who are told not to cry as kids, but girls too. Don't cry or they'll think your a "typical" emotional woman. Why are we so uncomfortable with other's knowing our pain? Why is it a contest to see who can be the "strongest", or in bad relationships whoever is the least attached has the most power. Why as humans are we selfish with these kinds of emotions? Why, when I was upset in the 10th grade for my childhood dog dying, did someone turn around to me and say "Stop being emotional, it's just a f***ing dog."?
I don't believe in posting all of your problems on social media, and I'm sure that many people feel the same way. Which means coming into play here is that SOCIAL MEDIA IS A LIE. If everyone is doing this, except for on occasion, and we believed only what we saw on Facebook, then we would be living in some sort of engagement party, baby shower, politcal agenda utopia. And some days it certainly feels that way when I spend all day on a computer.
But it's not. Life is nothing like Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/whatever is the newest trend says it is.
Constantly I have people messaging me saying how incredible my life is and how inspiring my posts are, or how they wish they could be living my life. I always answer to them, well it's not that hard, all you have to do is get up and move. They always just laugh and ask me what my next adventure is. Maybe my life may seem exotic at times to those not around, but most days I feel like a normal girl who misses ranch dressing.
I know I lead a blessed life- and this post is in no means trying to disregard the incredible opportunities I have been given. I built my way of life for myself, and I try everyday to be proud of it and know I am a strong woman who has done incredible things, with only more to come. This is unfortunately something that daily becomes harder to tell myself.
With so much social media around, a true challenge lies in not comparing yourself to other people. There is nothing more time consuming (expect maybe binge watching Lost and eating cheese puffs), than going to other people's social media profiles and putting yourself down. We need to stop the comparisons! That smiling photo in Barcelona, or the amazing sunset shot in Greece, in no way represents the person who posted it. There is a reason why when I post a photo with myself in it at some amazing location gets more likes than just a scenic photo. Because people are self indulgent, and for some reason they like to see it as well. It's not like I make the photo any better. If anything I'm taking away from the natural beauty around me and slightly distracting myself from truly experiencing where I am.
Come to terms with it. Social Media is a lie. Being a Social Media Manager and a blogger, this is one of the hardest things to come to terms with. It is a vicious love/hate relationship that cycles insistently.
Do not waste your time going to other people's pages and wishing you were like them, or that you had their life, or even that you wish your hair looked like theirs. Live your own life. Post what makes you feel good and comfortable, but don't lie. Don't be afraid to post the "ugly" and uncomfortable on Social Media either, as humans, we need to see it all. If you are literally always happy, with no other emotions, then are you even human at all?
If you must compare, use it to better yourself, and set goals. Say "Hey! I really like what this person has done and I am going to aspire to be as successful." Do not compare to bring yourself or others down. Remember you never know what is actually happening on the other end of the screen.