Instagram vs reality. Some days the wind blows my hair just right, and other days I’m stuck in a hair tornado. Windblown may be pretty, but my reality is often the hair tornado.
That got me thinking about how toxic social media can be sometimes. Lately I can scroll through social media and feel the shame creep in as I watched my kids on their iPads while everyone else’s kids on social media are following lesson plans outlined on a chalkboard. Their activities are detailed in a nearby column explaining a craft or outdoor activity they had planned for the day after their studies. My kids jump on the furniture and make a mess while I try to fit eight hours of work into two.
That shame is not unfamiliar. That is why I try to share as much realness as I can on social media. Social media is a highlight reel showcasing our best moment, but reality is full of the candids. The photos too blurry to post, where we have a dumb look on our face. The moments we don’t dare take a photo of. Those moments are reality.
It’s unfair to compare your real moments with someone else’s highlight reel. Don’t compare your hair tornado to their windblown look. That’s why it’s important to remember not to make comparisons. You have no idea what the photos looked like that they didn’t choose. You have no idea how messy the other parts of their house are that aren’t in the video they posted. No one is perfect, and no one has it all together. No matter how much it may look like it on social media. Instagram never shows the whole picture, so if you’re struggling with comparisons on social media, take a step back and remember what you aren’t seeing.
Unfollow Toxic Accounts
I often do a complete social media cleanse where I unfollow accounts that make me feel bad. Even if their content isn’t intentionally hurtful, if it makes me feel bad, I unfollow. I used to follow a lot of fitness accounts that relied on shaming to sell products and motivate, but that’s never been my style. The accounts that told me I should be doing more, or that I was lazy when I was just trying to survive are not the accounts I need to be following for my own mental health. Instead, I focus on following accounts that want to inspire. Accounts that make me want to make a change that is doable for me, not changes that I’m shamed into. If you find yourself making comparisons or feeling bad while scrolling, try a social media cleanse of your own!
I post a lot of pretty photos, but I also try to put out content that’s real as well. I try to post when I’m feeling less than perfect. I try to post photos that show my imperfect moments to make my followers feel like it’s okay if they are feeling the same way. It’s okay if you have days worth of dry shampoo in your hair, if your kids are eating Easter candy for breakfast, if they’ve spent all day watching TV, and if you haven’t done an outdoor activity in a week. It’s okay if you are an essential worker who doesn’t get to be at home with your kids and you’re sick of seeing people complain about it. Your imperfect moments are okay. The more we post them, the more others will see that no one out there has it all together, so we can all stop feeling bad about things.
We all tend to show the better parts of life on social media, and that doesn’t mean we aren’t real, it just means some parts aren’t the parts you want to remember. However, if we all post our hair tornado every now and again, it’ll help all of us to remember what reality really looks like.
How do you deal with negative social media comparisons?