Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I love that I can stay connected to all my friends and family back in New Zealand, I love that I can stay connected to all my clients and yoga students through my business page, and I love a good scroll through Instagram! There are so many awesome things about social media and it definitely has its advantages.
But I also think it has some major disadvantages.
People have a tendency to display just certain parts of their lives online. Generally speaking it’s the good parts. The holiday and travel shots, perfect beach shots, all dressed up and looking gorgeous, striking the perfect yoga pose, sexy sultry expressions, colourful fresh salads and healthy green juices – all that positive stuff (it’s not hard to guess what kind of Instagram accounts I follow!).
And this is all well and good, I mean I post those same kinds of pictures (yes, guilty as charged). Because what are we trying to convey to our friends and followers? To put it simply, that our lives are perfect. We want people to think that we’ve got it all figured out and it’s a happy day every day at my house thank you!
But our lives aren’t perfect. Not all the time anyway.
You don’t see the six months of 9 to 5 working that happened before you saw those perfect travel shots. You don’t see the feeling-like-crap days spent lying on the couch in trackies that happen between all the dressed up looking gorgeous shots. You don’t see the twelve failed attempts at that perfect yoga pose that happened before the perfect shot was taken. And you don’t see the fast food eaten in between those colourful fresh salads and green juices.
It’s an illusion.
And sometimes, this is amazingly inspiring and gets you up off the couch, working out or trying new recipes or fuelling you to keep heading towards your goals. But sometimes, it’s just depressing. Plain and simple.
You feel like you have to compete. You start comparing your life to these ‘perfect’ lives playing out in your newsfeed. You start thinking, “I’m never going to look that good. I’ll never get to go on holiday and lounge on a beach in Thailand”. You feel like crap because you just ate junk food and you’re being inundated with photos of girls in bikinis bragging about their incredible sugar-free diets.
Back in 2013 they even did a study on this. They basically concluded that Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself.
Many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry.
Both men and women feel pressure to portray themselves in the best light to their Facebook friends, but men are more likely to post more self-promotional content, and women are more likely to stress their physical attractiveness and sociability. (reported by Huffington Post and Time.com).
So if you’ve been scrolling through your newsfeed and feeling worse and worse about yourself, remember this. What people post online is not the full story. We all have our stuff, bad days, arguments with loved ones, struggles with food, struggles with our bodies. We certainly can’t judge a person’s entire life just on a couple of photos taken on a really good day.
And you don’t want to compare your life to assumptions you’re basing on a few perfect snaps posted online.
Social media is great and I love it for what it is, but I also recognise that it’s not real life. It’s like reality television – the camera captures just the highlights and the stuff that’s going to gain the most attention.
Real life is what happens outside, away from your laptop and your phone. It’s how you spend your days living a life perfect for you. Never feel bad about what you’ve created for yourself and never feel second best to someone else’s social media account. You never know what’s really going on behind the scenes.
My advice? Be happy for people online, wish them the very best, and then put the phone down and keep working towards your own dreams. And that’s a perfect life worth capturing.
With love and living life for real,