I have seen a great deal of criticism about our perfect lives on social media. The criticism usually goes something like “how our flawless, hipster-cool lives on Facebook and Instagram cause others to be depressed.” They say social media depresses us because we compare our not-so-perfect lives to the perfect “Pin-worthy” lives of our friends on social media. But I’m calling bull on that!
I never look at someone’s Facebook or Instagram posts and think that they are true representations of their lives. Just as before social media when I would visit a friend’s home, look at the photographs hanging on the wall, and think that was not a complete representation of them. We showcase the good in our lives.
Look at the business or school pages of your local newspaper. If you compared your life there like you do with social media, you would not measure up there either.
When I come across a friend at the grocery store, and she asked me how I’m doing, I say, “Well.” I don’t say, “I’ve been feeling kinda blue lately and am thinking maybe I need to go back to therapy.” First off, she doesn’t really want to know that. We are having small talk. Second off, those bad parts of my life are reserved for those closest to me. And sometimes, not even them.
Are there parts of myself that I don’t like and don’t want others to know about? Absolutely! Do I think that I am the only person with parts I don’t want seen and that everyone else has a perfect life because that is what I see on Facebook? Ummm, no.
I hear all the time how I’m “always off on a great adventure” from people who watch me on Facebook. I’m not going to lie here. That makes me feel good. But if you look closer at my life on social media (none of which is hidden from my profiles), you will see that I am almost 35, never married, and have no children. Oh, and I live with my parents.
Boy, those last two sentences really make me sound like a loser. But I don’t see myself as a loser. I see myself as someone who doesn’t really want children, doesn’t have time for a relationship, and loves to save money so I can travel four times a year.
And in turn when I run across a friend in the grocery store, and she asks how I’ve been, I don’t say, “Well, I’m still single, still have no children, still living at home. What about you?” No! I say, “In two weeks I’m going to the Grand Canyon! So stoked. Then in June I’m going to Florida. And July is New Hampshire. Never been there! And! In August, I’m going to Colorado and Kentucky. Yeah, I’m really busy, but I love it. Here’s my blog, check it out! How have you been?”
Do I believe I have a cool life? I do. But there are also negative aspects to my life, and I believe that of everyone. Are there pictures of me where I look like a beached whale? Yup! (Just ask my best friends Lagena and Crystal; I have them retake them a million times.) But just as those don’t go on Facebook or Instagram, I don’t hang them up on my wall either.
When things don’t go my way, I do try to make as much of a joke about it as I can. Like when Lagena, my sister, Leah, and nephew Noah and I went to Florida two years ago and had to all pack into my Honda Civic. Things got tight, to say the least. See the picture above. I had feet on me! But instead of being in a bad mood about it, I snapped the picture, which made for a funny Facebook post.
Social media is a great too for inspiration. Not only do I love posting my travel pictures on Facebook and Instagram, I love looking through my friends’ travel pictures. And it’s a great way to get ideas for your future trips.
If you compare yourself to others’ Facebook lives, you will never be happy. But if you understand that their Facebook doesn’t represent their whole life, you can be happy for them.