Social Media…The Good, Bad, and Ugly

As a lot of people have probably heard, there’s a big conversation happening on Instagram about influencers, bloggers, and social media in general. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic over the past couple of weeks, and I’ve been feeling like I should add my voice into the conversation – even though I don’t have a huge following and this is pretty much my first blog post ever.

Anyways, this past summer I got an amazing internship. It was awesome, but I was working 40 hours per week plus a full school schedule, and I opened my swimming suit drawer twice the entire summer. I was fine with it until one particularly rough day, I opened up my Instagram app and started scrolling.

I kid you not – I probably scrolled through 25 posts and at least 50 stories of people in Hawaii, on cruises, road tripping to the beach, touring Europe – you name it, they were doing it. And I fell victim to the vicious monster called jealousy. Actually, I was straight up angry. How on EARTH were these newlywed college students affording to tour Europe for three weeks? Why was I sitting at a desk all day while seemingly every person I knew was in a different part of the world getting amazing cultural experiences? I CRAVED what they had. I’ve had amazing travel opportunities, and I STILL couldn’t shake the feeling.

I’ve reflected a lot on this experience since that day, and I remember feeling so depressed. I was angry, sad, and felt like somehow I was less of a person because I was missing out on life experiences. I was mad that other people were living my dream.

Since then, I’ve come to realize that these people were just excited to be doing what they were doing. It wasn’t a personal attack on my lack of experiences. If I were traveling Europe, you better believe I’d be posting about it because it would be totally awesome!

I also came to realize that those people don’t have perfect lives. No one does. Selena Gomez has the biggest following of anyone on social media, and she has a chronic disease. She still posts amazing pictures, but her life isn’t perfect. Every blogger I follow looks like they have an amazing life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle.

One of my favorite influencers ever is Ashley Lemieux (@theshineproject). She’s the epitome of a strong woman who has been through the absolute worst possible situations, and she still chooses to be happy and smile. She’s extremely vulnerable and honest with her posts and her stories, and I admire her bravery for sharing such a huge part of her life – no matter how painful it is.

I follow other influencers who don’t choose to share so much of their personal life, and that’s perfectly fine too. I love following people with great style, beautiful pictures, and killer hair tips – even if they’re not telling me their life story.

I personally choose to post my highlight reel on Instagram. I struggle with anxiety big time. My husband and I fight sometimes. I sit in the car and cry before my workout because I don’t want to face all the people with perfect bodies at the gym. But do I want to post all that on social media for the world to see? Absolutely not. I use Instagram as a journal, and I want to remember the fun, amazing times instead of the times when I’m at my lowest.

Just because someone’s Instagram looks perfect doesn’t mean they’re not struggling. But here’s the bad part – our brains think their highlight reel is their reality all the time. It’s SO EASY to start comparing yourself and thinking you’re not good enough because you haven’t done your hair in two weeks (me right now), but the beauty of it is we can control what we see to an extent.

If there’s an account that makes you sad, unfollow it. I used to feel guilty for unfollowing people, but sometimes it just has to happen for the sake of your happiness. For me, it was travel accounts. I’m so happy they’re having those experiences, but I personally feel jealous and sad when I see those posts, and I don’t like feeling that way.

With that said, we should NEVER tear others down. If someone posts content you don’t like, unfollow them or scroll past it – but don’t attack the person who posted the photo. Because that person on the other side of the screen is a REAL person with REAL emotions and very real struggles.

Let’s learn from this whole conversation and make social media a place we can go to feel happy and uplifted. We don’t have to post every struggle we have, but let’s make a better effort to lift each other up and make everyone feel like they’re doing a great job at life – because we’re all just striving to become the very best version of ourselves we can possibly be.

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