We live in a unique time.
The internet has become the center of everything, from business & commerce to communication & relationships. We essentially live online – Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, Pinterest, gossip and personal blogs, and the list could go on (and on and on and on).
Social media platforms have become so common that you’d be hard-pressed to find a person without an account of any kind! They’ve become a focal point of our lives, allowing us to creatively share our personalities and unique outlooks, family updates, accomplishments, struggles, opinions, daily activities, our everything with the world. And we in turn consume everything everyone else shares, too.
But it seems a shift has happened. In having these platforms to learn and communicate with others on a large scale, we’ve slowly begun presenting virtual lives that don’t always reflect our realities.
I’m not going to exclude myself from this! We all want to share pretty pictures. We want to capture attention. We want to have impact. We want likes, follows, comments, compliments, and for people to think of us as successful, capable, and fun humans! We want to feel seen, heard, respected, and even envied.
We pick the perfect image out of 100 takes, spend a considerable amount of time trying to write a good caption, and highlight the most amazing stories of our lives. You’ve heard it before – we share our highlight reels. Sure, we give glimpses of struggle. We say, “I didn’t want to go to the gym, but I went anyway! Push through your ruts, friends!” And maybe we add some awful cliche quote about greatness. (*insert eyeroll here*)
Unfortunately the desire to share our lives, increase exposure, and project confidence and success has transformed into sharing perfection – and perfection doesn’t exist. Instead of just adding a filter to our pictures, we’re adding filters to our entire existence.
So what about the days when we don’t feel like going to the gym and then DON’T? What about saying, “I didn’t want to go to the gym today, and I didn’t. I know I should’ve pushed through, but I didn’t. I feel crappy and guilty and like a failure, but I’ll try to find grace and give myself a break.” THAT’S real.
It’s a balancing act, really.
Share the pictures where you feel beautiful, edit the lighting of the photos, tell everyone your stories of accomplishment and new journeys. But upload those photos where your pimples show, too. Upload the photos of you with your kids at the park where your hair was blown into a rat’s nest. Share the picture of your crying baby, and share that it’s hard to come home from a long day of work to a whiney child. SHARE YOUR REALITY, which may not necessarily be deemed Instagram-worthy by society!
Don’t get lost in sharing only the highlights. Allow people to relate to you! Do you want impact? Allow people to see that you’re JUST like them. They’ll feel capable when you succeed, resilient when you recover from life’s difficult moments, and understood when you share your raw and vulnerable truth. Allow people to encourage you and cheer you on when you need it!
Sharing Through A Lens of Perfection Hurts Us Too
We don’t just alter others’ views of our lives by sharing our highlight reels, but our views of others’ lives are also altered.
We’ve all done it… we scroll through our Instagram search feed and see beautiful pictures. Ocean sunrises that make us feel like we need a vacation. An Acai bowl that makes us wish we lived in a bigger city where we could easily access healthy fast food. A perfectly styled Instagram influencer that makes us feel like we need to drop everything and give our closet a complete overhaul. Like seriously, would Goodwill even accept these clothes?! “NO, these aren’t armpit sweat stains on my white t-shirt… I’M CLEAN!” (Yes, people, white shirts make me feel like a dirty, dirty cave woman who hasn’t taken a shower in 33 weeks.)
We compare. We feel left behind. We feel like we’re not as accomplished as we should be at this age. We feel like we need to be better at doing makeup. We need more friends. We need to be funnier, more determined and focused, more positive, more grateful, more confident. We’ve all had our own versions of these thoughts. But in the words of a wise pastor I grew to love church from, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Steven Furtick, you truth-teller, you!!
Spending too much time online, whether it’s Instagram scrolling or gossip column reading, can be incredibly detrimental. We develop a warped view of the world and come to believe that we’re not enough, we need to be better, and that everyone else in the world was dealt a better hand than us. What we consume influences our energy; if we’re constantly ingesting information and media that make us feel less than, we will view our lives as less than.
It makes me think about what I share, and how I share my life. I want to be more transparent, which this blog helps with so much. I want to be honest. I don’t want to share only from a place of happiness, peace, and love, but also from the places of sadness, stress, anxiety, and plain pity (we all throw pity parties, and let’s not pretend it doesn’t feel damn good to feel sorry for ourselves!). I seek to inspire and encourage people to own who they are, believe in their dreams, and fight the good fight every day, and I want people to know how much I truly mean what I say and what I share. It is my absolute top priority to post authentic content and sincere encouragement that comes from a place of experience and love, not just “pretty words” or “content fluff.”
I want you to know my deepest heart, goals, fears, successes, insecurities, and personal journey, and I want to share it with vulnerability, authenticity, and honesty. NOTHING deters an audience/following more than insincere and empty words. I know how uncomfortable I feel when I read a caption that feels fake, forced, or cliche.
It’s okay if some people don’t like this blog. It’s okay if some people don’t like my Instagram feed or read my Facebook posts. It’s okay if people don’t like me. Those who do will make up my tribe, and I want to filter out the ones that won’t stick up for me, cheer me on, or celebrate my accomplishments with me.
I’m set on throwing out insincere crap and showing up as flawed and as human as I am. Let’s work on this together!