Social media is hard sometimes. I think most people can get that. We see what everyone else wants us to see. We see the perfect moment’s in their lives. The ideal couple shots. The exciting news. Looks when they are put together and look their best. Moments when they are happy. We don’t always hear or see the moments when people are struggling. When they haven’t showered in days. When they had fights with loved ones. When they don’t know what to do. The moments when they are scared and lost. Moments when they made the wrong decision and now need to fix it. Moments when everything is a mess.
I think it’s very reasonable to say that people’s lives are a mix of all these moments: perfection and messes. But when we only see others perfections, it can have us question our own lives:
What am I doing wrong?
What am I not happy all the time like everyone else?
Why am I not doing this more?
Why am I hurting when everyone else isn’t?
How does everyone else know what they are supposed to do?
Why am I the only one struggling?
I have asked myself those questions numerous times. I always thought I was doing something wrong. If you ever used instant messenger back in the day – I would read other people’s away statuses. I would see how they would be doing all these things when I was just at home. I would then put up an away status to say I was out even if I was home watching television. I felt like such a loser. And then Facebook was created – and the questioning only continued.
Over the years, I was one of those people that posted the best parts of my life. Or I made it seem like they were the best parts of my life. I was in a bad relationship so when we had a moment of something good – or even if it were awful- I would take a picture like it was to post. I wanted everyone to see how “happy” I was. Even though I was pretty miserable. This continued on for a while. My anxiety wanted me to perfect and have a perfect life – and if I couldn’t have it in reality, then I’m going to pretend for everyone else. But in the end- I only became more depressed and anxious.
“I only became more depressed and anxious”
I was so convinced that it was just me. That everyone else was really as happy as they said they were on social media. That I was completely messed up and unlovable because of this. This mindset became exhausting. Pretending to be okay when I wasn’t. Trying to live up to others expectations of what life should be. It apparently wasn’t helping me. It didn’t make my life any better. So I decided to talk about it.
I shared how I went to therapy. I shared how I struggled with anxiety and depression. I asked others for their advice. I shared how I was so unsure of everything happening in my life. I shared how my life wasn’t perfect. I looked like a mess most of the time. My friendships and relationships aren’t perfect, but they are worth it. When I see someone, and they ask how I am doing – if I’m doing miserable – I say I’m doing miserably. I don’t expect anything in return, but it releases this tension from me when I’m being honest.
I found if I’m honest what is going on with me – others feel comfortable telling me what’s really going on with them. I think it’s comforting for all of us.
When you share your truth, it comes with a different type of burden. I share when I’m hurting. I share when I’m going through issues. People worry. People feel the need to offer advice. People feel comfortable judging me. But I don’t think I would ever change what I’m doing. I want people to know that if they are struggling, they aren’t alone. I no longer strive to be perfect – even when anxiety and depression are telling me to do so. I find so much freedom in being me.
I actually find myself being genuinely happier now. I enjoy and love my life for the most part. I do activities I enjoy now. I have good friends. I am in a relationship with someone I care deeply about. I am surrounded by loved ones. I am starting a new career path. But all those things aren’t perfect. And that has to be okay because I don’t think my life will ever be perfect. I am going to be scared and stressed at my career sometimes. People I care about will hurt me, and I will hurt them sometimes. I am going to have moments of random anxiety and depression still. I am still going to have moments where getting out of bed is a struggle. And that’s okay because that’s also life.
Before I wrap this up, I want to say that I don’t judge or care that people post their happiest and perfect moments in their lives. Because I get it. Showing your best yourself. Remembering the good times versus when you are struggling. It makes sense. But all I was saying is – don’t feel the need to if it’s not making you feel good. Share and talk about what makes you comfortable and happy. If you don’t like sharing when you aren’t feeling great – then don’t. Because your life is yours – whether is on social media or not – and that’s the one thing that truly matters.