We filter, chop, change and edit our lives online continuously, only letting people see the best bits. Through social media we can give the impression of perfect lives, we’ll post a selfie when we’re having a ‘good face day’ and stood in perfect lighting, send a tweet out when something exciting happens and update our status with only our highest moments.
Without realising it, we’re comparing the ‘normal’ part of our lives, our ‘behind the scenes’ to everyone else’s ‘highlights reel’ and that’s really damaging for us. This is something that’s really been irking me lately and that I’ve found myself actually getting quite upset over. I’ll put my hand up and say that as a teenager, I do compare myself to others and that’s a habit that I know I need to break. There’s been a real self-esteem crash epidemic sweeping the teenage nation in recent years and this probably has something to do with the amount of social media we all use.
No one updates their status with, ‘had a headache today’ or ‘needed a good cry because stress got a bit much’. It’s all, ‘passed my driving test’ or ‘off on holiday’. We edit out the boring, the average and the rubbish parts of our lives so that we can live out a shiny, perfect fantasy online.
On my recent holiday, I found myself without WiFi a lot of the time and that was actually the most freeing experience. I found myself not worrying about what others might think of me because they didn’t have to know about anything that I was doing because there was no way of uploading to my instagram feed. It’s weird I know, but I found myself in a position of carefree-ness that I really didn’t expect.
It gave me a lot to think about, the fact that I felt so much better about myself while being unconnected was kind of weird. I didn’t realise how much of a control and impact I’d let social media have on my life and I think that that’s the same for a lot of people.
We feel as if we need to conform to some kind of standard and we try to make people think we’ve achieved this by posting it online but that’s really not the case! We’re all our own people, we don’t need to be perfect and we don’t need to conform to anything. We just need to be ourselves.
Once we realise we don’t need to wear what the magazines tell us, look how models look and be who society wants us to be, life just gets so much easier and better. It’s that simple. We have the choice to not listen to what this pressuring society tells us. We can choose not to listen, we can choose to step outside of that bubble and live our own lives and do what makes us happy.
Everyone’s just waiting for someone to say it, for someone to tell them that they don’t need to live that certain way, they don’t have to be what our idol obsessed society wants them to be. Well this is me saying it, don’t listen, step outside and be the real you.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with social media or reading magazines or anything like that. I really couldn’t be one to talk, I have it all from twitter to tumblr to instagram and I love flicking through a good trashy magazine. I don’t want this post to seem hypocritical, I know that I’m definitely guilty of living an edited life but I’m giving it my best shot to stop! I just think we just need to be cautious at how we compare our lives to other’s through social media and how we might start to use it obsessively. Never wanting to miss a tweet can start affecting our real off-line lives. We’ll start to miss out on things because we were too busy with our online fantasy. And yes, by all means read magazines, I know I do, but remember that most of the time, the ideals they tell us are an unachievable work of fiction that we don’t need to abide by.
Real life is messy and imperfect and mad but that’s just the wonderful way it is! So come offline for a little bit, breathe the fresh, unedited air of a life without filters and remember, you don’t have to live any way that you don’t want to. Be happy, be safe and be you. That’s the important stuff.