Sorry, Mindy Kaling. You’re not the only one who can come up with witty lines about feeling out of the loop.
Scroll through any social media platform nowadays, particularly Instagram, and you will be inundated with photos of people looking like they’re having more fun than you.
I’m talking about the selfies in Machu Picchu, the photos of skyline of New York at sunset right down to the perfect, clean desk and laptop set ups.
These are things that flood our timelines constantly, and can increase during the summer. It looks like everyone is interning in New York, holidaying in Malaysia, and hitting up Malibu without you.
And let’s face it, if you scroll a lot like I do, it can kinda make you feel as though you’re wasting your summer.
But this is the problem with social media. We only send out the best version of us possible. We all do it. I’m guilty of it. Even my own parents are guilty of it.
How many times do we untag ourselves from photos or filter the fuck out of our instagram? Did you stay in bed all day with the.worst.hangover.imaginable? Post a photo of your holiday two years ago in Marbella and #tbt it. No one will know.
We, as social humans, feed each other’s need to strive to have the “perfect life”.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do that, we’re allowed post up whatever we want. I don’t want people to not have nice things but sending out these signals can be damaging.
We begin to compare lives. How do they have the money to go to New York every six months? How did they get so fit? Or the dreaded: are they hanging out without me?
It’s difficult to drive home the thought that our online selves do not necessarily reflect our real selves. On social media, we only see the surface of what a person’s life is. And the surface are just that, the surface. There’s a whole barrage of life underneath that we don’t see.
Yeah, maybe your friend is in New York but maybe she’s struggling to make rent or is working overtime. Your friends put up a selfie of them together but maybe it’s because you’re not the fucking centre of the attention all the time and friends can hang out without you and it means nothing. Alternatively they may have run into each other and decided to catch up, which is more likely.
I post nice photos and the odd selfie but in reality, I’m unemployed, burn through money faster than a match in a haystack, and am on-and-off clinically depressed. But you don’t see that on my instagram, do you?
With the over-saturation of bloggers and #instagrambloggers online nowadays, we feel as though our lives have to reach a certain standard before we can be happy. Before we can feel fulfilled. Before we can live. Which is absolutely bullshit. You are living right now. What you do, not others’ validation of it, makes you feel fulfilled. Happiness, as I said in my last post, is a choice, not something that magically rains from the sky when everything is deemed ‘perfect’. Take inspiration from other’s lives but don’t assume they have it all figured out either.
So next time you find yourself wistfully scrolling online and feeling jealous, just remember: just like you, the people you see online are humans with their own problems, emotions, issues. They could suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues, or are suffering a bereavement, or are struggling to make ends meet. No one’s life is free from hardship and lack of hardship doesn’t equal a perfect life.
Life is to be lived not to be perfected.