I thought I was depressed because of social media.
I posted a picture of myself on Instagram and five minutes later, I deleted it, because nobody liked it. I thought I looked pretty in it. I genuinely loved the picture, but in a span of five minutes, I decided I didn’t like it anymore because nobody else did.
Two weeks later I posted it again with a stronger filter and increased the brightness, and I got 57 likes, and I felt good again, but then an overwhelming feeling of disappointment washed over me. I liked the first picture better, so why didn’t I keep it up?
It’s because I define my worth by how many likes I get on a picture or a post, and the realization of that fact actually causes my stomach to flop.
We’re the generation of social media. We all have four core social media accounts kept directly on our phones. Some of us have even more. And that isn’t going to change.
The generations that came before us will continue to scoff as we pull out our phones and rant about how when they were younger, they went outside. They’ll pit us against ourselves and the generation we’re apart of.
We’ll try to take breaks from our social media accounts, and limit the time we spend on our phones, but we’ll never actually get away from it. We can’t. It’s become too important. It’s gained too much power.
We feel it’s needed to keep in touch with old friends. We’re asked by our bosses to promote their business. We have groups on Facebook with our fellow students to help each other study and work on projects. We even use it as a platform to follow our dreams by promoting and sharing our art. And it is truly great for those purposes, but some times, it also depresses the hell out of us, but it isn’t social media that we should blame. It’s us.
Social media has become a competition of who has the more perfect life. If we truly posted to let our old friends know how we were doing, we would post about the bad stuff too, but we don’t. I know, that’s human nature. We don’t like to air our dirty laundry. I’m not saying we’re wrong for it. I’m just saying the negative effect it has on us is undeniable.
We never post about our failures, but we always let everyone know about our accomplishments. We think the friends we have on social media are perfect, so we strive to be perfect like them. We could have had a thousand bad things happen that week, but we’ll post about the one good one, and in result, our friends on social media see us as perfect, just as we see them.
We don’t post pictures of the test we failed or the write up we got at work for being too exhausted to even show up on time, but as soon as we get an A, or a raise, we don’t even entirely soak up the moment before posting it to Facebook or Instagram.
We don’t post pictures of the arguments we have with our significant others, but we always post the pictures of them kissing us on the cheek, or smiling at us like we make them the happiest person in the universe. If only a camera was around to capture the moment I cussed him out for snoring so loud I couldn’t sleep.
We post pictures of ourselves, but only after we take 20, refusing to settle for anything that makes us look less than perfect. Well, as perfect as we can be before we slap a filter on it and brighten our skin.
The women before us compared themselves to the models in magazines, and it hurt, but deep down they knew those women weren’t real.
We compare ourselves to our peers, the very girls we went to high school with. They don’t use airbrush like the models in magazines, but the filters supplied for free by Instagram.
So yes, it’s humiliating to admit I deleted a picture of myself that I loved because nobody hit a stupid like button on it, but it’s true. It’s also true I’ve failed tests before, and have gotten yelled at by my boss at work. I’ve dealt with real issues like depression and anxiety. I’ve fought with my spouse to the extent of wondering if we were even meant to be together anymore. It’s hard to shed the skin of pretending to be perfect. It feels embarrassing, but it feels amazing knowing I’m not the only one. Because I guarantee you, every person you believe is perfect on your social media account is facing struggles you have no idea about.
So please remember, social media might not be completely fake, but it isn’t even close to being completely real either. And, please, remember, if you feel anything like I do, post the pictures you love, and don’t give a damn what people think. You hold the power of how you feel, and don’t you dare give it away to the insignificant like button sitting underneath your beautiful picture.