The worst part of social media is the way it makes people feel. We’re all more than aware of the issues surrounding body shaming, jealousy, unrealistic goals, bullying and trolling. It’s been written about, documented on TV and discussed on the radio time and time again, but what changes? Not a lot. When it comes to jealousy, there’s probably thousands of girls right now scrolling through Instagram wondering why they don’t have the glossy, busy, dolled up, expensive life that others lead.
How do these people have such good skin? How do they always look so good? How do they have time or enough money for this constant brunching, clothes shopping, wine drinking, jet setting, make up hoarding lifestyle? HOW DO I GET A LIFE LIKE THIS? When I first got Instagram and followed about 4 people, I used to spend my time on the app looking up famous people to be nosey or researching travel. This was long before I got into the ‘lifestyle’ accounts and the envy set in. But then it did.
For a while, about a year and a half ago, I used Instagram to hate on myself without even realising it. I didn’t really blog much then, I didn’t follow that many accounts and I hadn’t really been drawn into the women’s lifestyle content that I read now. But what I did do, was sneak peeks at accounts that were the beginnings of all of this. People who were always posting photos of themselves looking immaculate with salon hair and pristine faces, while I was still working out if Sudocrem was the best thing to put on my chin spots. Is it all filter or are they just really perfect? Am I doing a lot of stuff wrong? Should I peel off my face and get a new one?
The worst part is, when I take stock of all this, I DON’T CARE. I’ve never been much bothered by what other people are up to, mostly because it’s a lot of effort but also because I consider myself quite confident. I like to think I have the confidence to not need to fixate on other people’s lives, but social media just comes along and barges in with all it’s glossy photos and constant reminders that someone is doing something more fun and more exciting than you. In a way, I’d like to deactivate it all and throw it out the window, but I work in social media and I need it to promote what I do, so not really an option.
It’s important to realise when you’ve been sucked in to this whole ‘oh look another person who’s life looks better than mine’ mindset so you can slap yourself and get out again. It’s just some photos, probably taken several times, edited extensively, breakfast probably went cold and that’s definitely not what people’s skin looks like in actual real life. You can’t compare your existence to a set of images that are derived to totally lead you to believe that something is absolutely perfect.
I use Instagram a lot, it’s an influential platform and brands and organisations want to work with people with big followings. I’m all in. Sign me up. Follow me. Look at my photos. I want to be part of it, I just don’t want to become it.
I don’t want to be jealous of someone’s pancakes or how much nicer their coat is than mine or the really nice looking kitchen floor they have. Life is too short and too busy for that crap. I’ll edit the life out of photos and pause in front of every pretty white building I see, believe me, but glossy grids aren’t real life.