Social media has become a normal part of daily life for most people. In many ways it is great. It allows us to reconnect with old friends and stay in contact with new ones. It allows us to share our photos and memories. It allows us to share news stories and blog posts.
When we communicate with others via social media, we are allowed some insight into their lives. The problem with this is that, we are only shown the parts that they want us to see. We are privy to the highlight wheel of their lives whereas we see both the highs and lows of our own. This can lead us to falsely believe that our lives aren’t as great or exciting or fulfilling as the lives of others. It can lead us to compare ourselves to others and harbour feelings of jealousy and resentment as a result.
Let me use myself as an example. My favourite form of social media is, without a doubt, Instagram. I do a little bit of food blogging and I use an Instagram account to share photos of my food in order to demonstrate that healthy and nutritious food can be delicious.
Scroll through my account and you will see image after image of tasty meals and snacks presented in such a way to make them look appealing. This is what people who visit my profile see. They do not see the time that I spend arranging food on the plate so that it looks appetising. They do not see the mini photo shoot that I have from various angles trying to find the one that makes my food look the nicest. They don’t see the heavy editing that the image goes through in order to crop out the wall in the background and change the bad lighting.
They also do not see every single thing that I eat. I don’t share images of the plain salmon and boiled vegetables that I regularly consume. I don’t post my daily pre workout meal of egg whites and sweet potato. I don’t post my collapsed omelettes that turn into scrambled eggs. I don’t post images of the burnt butternut squash that I forget about and leave in the oven for an hour longer than I should.
Why don’t I post these things? Isn’t it obvious? I don’t want people to see them.
The same goes for everything else in life. We don’t share the bits we don’t want people to see. I only post the fun and exciting meals, just like people will only share the fun and exciting moments of their lives. Someone may post an image of a huge bouquet of flowers or romantic meal that their partner has cooked for them but they will not write a status about the huge argument they had that caused their partner to act so sweetly. Someone may post pictures from their glamorous five star holiday but they won’t post about the five months they had to spend working in order to pay for it. Someone may broadcast the fact they have a flashy new car but they won’t share the fact that it took them seven attempts to pass their driving test. The list goes on.
People only show us what they want us to see. Keep this in mind if ever something you see on social media makes you feel shitty about your life; it isn’t real.
Image via Instagram.