Why Going On Instagram Will Never Make You Feel Better About Your Life

I have an Instagram account and I use it frequently. I will continue to use it frequently after this post is published, regardless of the fact that I’m the one who just wrote an article stating that Instagram will never make you feel better about your life. Just embrace the hypocrisy my friends.

This is not a post about how social media is evil and is the death of all things good about society. It’s just a post that’s here to remind you not to take your virtual world so seriously.

On a social network where the only thing you can do is put up cool pictures and look at other people’s cool pictures, of course everyone is going to put their best face forward. That’s human nature. I do it, you do it, and every single one of the people you follow does it too.

If I spent the entire morning lying in bed and eating a whole loaf of banana bread, and then the entire afternoon sitting on my couch learning about things on Wikipedia, but I went on a nice walk in-between these two events, I’m probably going to upload a photo of the pretty view from my walk. I’m not going to post a photo of me lounging on the couch in my pajamas, wearing socks I still have from middle school that say “2 Cute” all over them. I’m not going to post a photo of the empty plate where a loaf of banana bread used to sit and inform everyone that the entire thing is now in my stomach. (This is all hypothetical, of course).

People share things that are cool and exciting and glamorous and funny and interesting. Because it makes them feel like their entire life is that way.

When you scroll through your Instagram feed, you’re seeing the best sides of people, you’re seeing the most exciting aspects of their life, and you’re seeing the best parts of their day. No one is sharing the boring, uneventful, mundane aspects of their life and of themselves. But they have not-so-glamorous things going on in their life too, just like you. If they post a flattering photo, chances are they took about 20 different versions before they finally got one that they thought was okay enough to share.

Instagram is never going to make you feel better about yourself or your life because you’re comparing yourself to people that don’t exist. The people in these accounts, including you, have pretty views and great friends and fun vacations and cool social lives. There’s no photos that also show their worries or fears or insecurities or depression or breakups. You’re just looking at one side of each of these people – the good side. That’s what you need to remember.

Trying to avoid social media is pointless. If you don’t have an Instagram and don’t want one, good for you. But if you do have one, I highly doubt that I could tell you to just screw the world and delete it. You wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. But if social networking is going to be a part of your life, you just have to remember not to take it so seriously.

It can be fun and distracting and entertaining and interesting. It can even make you laugh. You just have to remember that it’s not real life. These are the best and the coolest aspects of people’s lives, but it’s not how they live every single day. Just like your Instagram account probably isn’t an accurate representation of your everyday life.

So keep the Instagram account. Have fun with it. But at the end of the day, just remember it’s not real.

image – Tim Roth

About the author

Kim Quindlen

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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