Lately, I've been struggling with who I am and who I want to be. I've been stressed about moving to a new city for college and beginning a new stage in my life. I've been looking in the mirror lately and not liking what I see. I've been more anxious than usual. I've lost friends I've had for years. I'm just kind of a mess!
There are days when I feel pure happiness, bliss or even contentment. There are days when I feel anger, hurt and sadness. Then there are days when I just go through the motions and smile when I'm supposed to. Some days I feel alone, left out or unwanted.
But you don't see any of this on my social media – or anyone's, really, for that matter.
We all know that most of social media is a highlight reel, filled with our own highlights, as well as thousands of other people's. WHICH IS GREAT! It's important to love the little things in life — a cup of coffee, a day on the lake, time spent with friends, vacation, etc. Showing off those things is healthy because we're acknowledging what makes us happy.
The problem is that it's not much more than a highlight reel, and we tend to hide behind our filtered, carefully selected pictures. We also tend to set expectations for our lives based on others' posts. We feel the need to constantly be traveling or going out, and we think that we're missing out even when we're perfectly comfortable staying at home.
We need to be more honest and comfortable with who we are.
On social media, we don't acknowledge when we're struggling. We don't post pictures of the days we can't get out of bed, hate what we see in the mirror or are overthinking to the point where everything just feels like a blur. Why not? Why do we only show the parts of us that are happy?
Many times when we do acknowledge our struggle, others complain about how we want attention, are sensitive or are just making a big deal out of things. For some reason it's perfectly okay for us to show off the best parts of our life, but not okay to be honest about our struggles? When we are feeling down and scrolling through social media, we see smiling faces. It makes us think that we are the only ones not happy, while everyone else is having the time of their lives.
If we saw a post about someone else feeling down, when we felt the same way, maybe we wouldn't feel so left out and alone.
It's important to talk about what we are going through. It's important that we don't hide away the parts of ourselves that we feel are too much for others to see. By opening up our struggles as publicly as we open up our highlights, we can give each other the opportunity to better understand our lives and realize that we're all just humans looking for friendship, love and happiness.
In addition to opening up about our struggles, we should work on being aware of our intentions when posting on social media.
Ask yourself if you are going to that place to take pictures or to enjoy the place and the people you're with. If you are taking pictures, are you doing it because you enjoy taking pictures, or because you want people to see your life from a certain, carefully thought out angle?
Live your life for yourself. Stop spending so much time trying to impress people. It's great to show off people, days, fun things, etc. because you are truly happy, but not because you want everyone to think you are. Most importantly, try to acknowledge your struggles. They're just as awesome as your highlights because they make you who you are.