Despite what you think, your favorite YouTuber, influencer, or that gorgeous girl you see on the explore page do not have it all together.
I can recall the countless number of times when public figures have come out and confessed that they’re suffering from depression, are broke, or end up breaking off their long-term relationships.
Although unfortunate, we’re often shocked and surprised when they break the news. But why?
Life’s problems do not discriminate.
All of us are humans and none of us are exempt from experiencing problems, no matter our social or financial status. Perhaps, one of the reasons why our shock factor peaks when we hear of something going wrong in a well-known person’s life is because, compared to images of the “perfection” they project, we would never suspected anything to be wrong. Meaning that either they did their utmost to portray a “perfect lifestyle” and hide their problems or we fall into the false narrative and subconsciously believe that the life they’ve shown us means they rarely have issues — and that’s where the problem lies.
So, let’s backtrack for a second and ask ourselves: What does having our lives “together” really mean?
According to the societal norm, having your life together consists of being financially stable, healthy all-round, and one of the best in your field. The consensus is that most of these things are considered “goals.” Yet, we have been conditioned to believe that money, travelling all over the world, beautiful selfies, certain body types, a relationship, the numbers of views, likes, and followers we receive equates to success.
To put it bluntly, this occurs because society capitalises off our insecurities.
Ultimately, the reason we feel like we’re not doing enough is because we consume too much information about what everyone else is doing instead of focusing on ourselves.
Every time we log onto Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat, we see someone hitting their weight loss goals, landing a new job, building their business, or vacationing in Bali.
The more exposed we are to the others’ moves, the easier it is for it to go from feeling happy for them to feeling envious of them or feeling motivated to feeling discouraged when we see that our reality doesn’t look like their social media feed. In the back of our minds we start thinking:
“I’m not doing enough.”
“I’m moving too slow.”
“Why haven’t I done x, y and z yet?”
Think about it.
If we didn’t know what everyone else was up to, would we still feel as unaccomplished?
Would we still get worked up, anxious, upset, and depressed because we are not where we are “supposed to be”?
For two years, I used to feel like this almost every day until last year when I quit social media for two months. I muted everyone on Instagram, deactivated Twitter, and stopped watching YouTube, all because the overload of information was too much. I too felt the pressure to have my stuff “together” based on what I had seen online and could see the same frustration amongst my peers.
It seems like the pressure just keeps on intensifying for us. But, the fact is that it probably won’t get any better until we self-regulate our thoughts and media consumption.
I’d taken social media breaks before, but this one was different because I was determined to get my mind right and never feel as down about myself as I did before. If you’re currently feeling like this too, here’s a piece of advice:
You need to switch your attention from what others are doing to what you need to do to get ahead in your life. Even if that means quitting social media for a while or for good.
If we want to stop feeling like we’re not good enough and actually make something for ourselves, we have to stop focusing on what others are doing. We have to focus on and work on our strengths. We have to shift our perception of ourselves and the world and remind ourselves that whatever we want requires sacrifice and dedication.
We can do these things through reprogramming our minds and saying positive affirmations to ourselves. Here are some truths to remind yourself of when you need to get out of a rut:
Your REAL LIFE journey is unique to you, so don’t get yourself down comparing your life to a curated feed.
We have no idea what people go through to get what they have.
If we all put our problems on the table, we would quickly grab ours back.
Anything worth having doesn’t come easy.
Lastly, anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.
Be happy when others succeed, and let that fuel you. Let it be testament that anything you want is possible for you too. You get to create your own life so take joy in that and remember what others do or don’t do isn’t your business to worry about. Live a life that inspires you.
Learn to define success for you and stay true to it.
You are special, and there is no one else like you on this earth.
Your life and your gift matters. So use it.
Your purpose is the most important thing you need to focus on.
It took a while for me to get to this place — a sense of peace in who I am and who I am becoming. A year later, I can say that I have a better relationship with social media. It wasn’t easy, but I had to constantly remind myself that my journey is my own and everything will fall into place at the right time.
After a lot of introspection, several social media breaks, and time to mature, I have learned to take what I see on social media with a grain of salt, because not everything is what it seems.
I hope you do too.