A lot of people credit millennials as the social media generation, and while they wouldn’t be wrong, the start of social media in the early 2000’s was way less influential than it is today. We are talking about having a top friends list on MySpace and a-now-very-embarrassing username on AIM messenger (“shoppinggirl18”, nice to meet ya). But today, it has evolved into its own life form, with our Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Youtube accounts being a part of everything we do. And the person we show the world on those accounts is very important to us, but often not a true sense of who we are.
Today, we spend most of our free time carefully crafting the image we present to our followers or friends, and most of it is a front—an attempt to make each of us appear like we have it all together, when we are just so far from it. Take, for instance, those sexy selfies or beach pics that we only post for affirmation or compliments; or that healthy meal we shared on Monday to hide the fact we ate our weight in truffle fries last weekend; or the flowers we bragged about that our boyfriend brought home, ignoring the fact they were actually apology flowers for being a jackass…again. For some reason, we feel the need to keep up these perfect appearances—when in reality, behind that sexy smirk and hot body is a whole lot of insecurity; and behind that bouquet of flowers is someone who can’t come to terms with an unhappy relationship.
So why do we feel pressured to post these kinds of things? Because everyone else does. Plain and simple: social media makes it easy for us to lie. When everyone else’s lives seem perfect, we think we need to make our life look that way too. We constantly compare ourselves to other people, and the irony of it all is that 90% of it is fabricated.
Do you catch yourself feeling unsatisfied in your relationship because one of your friends loves to post romantic things about his or her significant other? Well, stop—because chances are things aren’t as great as they seem, and they have problems just like the rest of us. Do you feel unattractive or insecure because some girl posted her ass in a bikini on a yacht? Don’t—because more likely than not she edited that photo in some way and the boat is still docked. Jealous of that guy’s cute as hell dog? Oh, yeah that dog is awesome, you should be.
The thing about it all is that there’s nothing technically wrong with wanting the world to see you in a positive light. It only becomes problematic when you are posting embellished things to make up for the fact your life isn’t the way you want it to be, and starting to believe your own lies instead of working on a change. So, if you catch yourself in moments of insecurity on social media, take a step back and look at your life. If you’re content with where you are, then brush off those doubts and remember a lot of social media is just fantasy. But if you truly aren’t happy with the way things are turning out, then don’t just pretend everything is all roses and daisies. Take that first step to pull out the weeds in your life and plant some seeds towards growing something genuine and beautiful.