Last week, I got an email from a friend.
It was in the context of us emailing back and forth about various insecurities/first world problems. “I totally admire your life,” she said. “…I feel like we all need to see what everyone else sees, because it’s pretty damn cool!”
It was a sweet email, but it also made me cringe a little.
When I first started using social media often a few years ago, I’d often fall into the trap of thinking everyone’s life is The! Best! Ever! My life is not The! Best! Ever! and if I made the mistake of comparing myself and my life to those sunshiney photos of those Perfect Lives, it wouldn’t usually measure up.
As I got older, I learned a few things:
- My life ain’t bad.
- A blog is not a full snapshot of anyone’s life, but many people just put their best selves out there.
- Dude, if you are feeling down on yourself, step away from the Internets for a little while. You will always be able to find someone whose life is seemingly way better than yours.
The day after I got that email, I saw Carla post an article on Facebook about Instagram’s Envy Effect and everyone’s lives looking perfect on social media. I commented on her Facebook, “but, really, who wants to post an ugly Instagram photo?” but I think it applies generally over social media.
I also know that I—and other women—have a tendency to downplay my achievements, especially on my blog. (Well, except for running. Dude, if I get an amazing PR, no, I will not be downplaying that.) Who wants to be seen as bragging?
This is all a long-winded way of saying: I try to be as real as possible on this corner of the Internet, because painting some perfect picture of my life isn’t doing me—or you—any favors. I celebrate the awesome, but I let you know when I’m frustrated with myself, or when I’ve failed. Obviously I don’t share *all* of my struggles on the Internet, because that is what family, friends and a good therapist are for, but I also hope never to portray some super-awesome-amazing-with-no-problems life. Nobody’s life is perfect.
And: beware the Instagram effect.