How often do we look at another person’s life on Instagram and wish it were our own? Way too often, probably.
And it’s a shame because most of the time what we think we see is really just what we choose to see.
The biggest problem with being envious of the life others decide to share on social media is that the beautifully aesthetic photo album they’ve created for their many followers to see isn’t really a life at all.
What most of us don’t realize though, is that we all are guilty of it.
Posting fun memories from a well-saved-for vacation, a cute selfie derived from taking 103 different-angled but relatively similar pictures, or the yummy food we happened to be eating on our cheat day – these are simply just moments, even seconds, from a day in our imperfect lives. We know that we don’t take vacations or perfectly poised selfies every day, and we definitely don’t eat ice cream-covered waffles for every meal, so why when looking at other people’s pictures do we think they do?
We, of course, understand and are aware of the fact that what we personally share on social media isn’t an accurate representation of what our life is like 24/7.
But when we gaze upon someone else’s feed, we don’t look at their snapshots through that same lens.
In order for us as followers to be able to acknowledge the fact that these seemingly perfect people with perfect lives are just normal people with regular lives too, we need to login to Instagram with a mind ready and willing to decipher between what is reality and what is just show.
Instead of perusing Instagram’s popular feed and beating ourselves up over not having washboard abs or not being able to afford to lay on a beach all day or not having the fanciest clothes or not being able to eat a cheeseburger without it going to our thighs, let’s all come to the realization that these Instagrammers whose lives we gawk at are real people too.
They have cheat days, they binge-watch Netflix in their sweats, they fight with their significant other and experience loss and stress and anxiety, and their legs also jiggle a bit when they’re walking up the stairs just like anyone else. But most of them just choose not to share those moments with the world, and they have every right to omit those things, just like most of us choose to.
So we, as social media users, need to remember that most of what we view on Instagram is just a facade: an outward appearance of someone that is constantly maintained for their benefit.
We need to stop letting our self-esteem and love of our own lives get in the way of how we view other people living their lives.
Instagram and other social media platforms are great for expressing ourselves and sharing special moments that take place in our lives, but we just need to be careful of what we take away from it.