It’s Sunday night, and despite your unproductive (yet entertaining) weekend of debauchery, you’re scrolling through your Insta feed rather than doing your homework. We’ve all been there—the bed is plush beneath you, the lighting is dim, and your eyes are idle as they skim along with the scroll of your thumb.
Then, just like that, you come across a picture—it could be the girl your old hookup is currently seeing, or it could be an Insta famous model or actress. Regardless, you ignore the natural inclination to keep scrolling, and succumb to your inner urge to click on her name.
Ah, here you are, on her profile. At first, you peruse the overview. Then, you start clicking on pictures that look particularly interesting. Before you know it, you’re starting from the top, wasting away hours upon hours as you scroll from start to finish.
You don’t stop here; if it’s not her, it’s someone else. You may get bored with one person's feed, so you move on until someone else's picture strikes your fancy enough to investigate her further. Each time, you groan, feeling pathetic for vocally acknowledging just how much you’re comparing yourself to her.
No matter how much your friends compliment your intelligence, humor, or beauty, you have no power over the instant comparisons you make between you and whoever is your latest stalking victim.
You envy her style, her "cool" aura, or her clever captions. Perhaps you envy her dog, her pretty friends, or her ability to post seamless selfie after selfie... after selfie.
“I want her life,” you think to yourself.
Play it off like it’s nothing, but I heard you. Listen, I understand that the way she has depicted her life looks desirable to you. However, before you fantasize about what life would truly be like if you were she, there are some things you should know.
First of all, Instagram "models" get paid to promote products. If we're talking about genuine models, like Alexis Ren, or even high-profilers like Gigi Hadid or Kendall Jenner, yes, they are paid to tag brands, makeup companies, restaurants, etc. in their photos. Yeah, that sounds amazing (and it probably is), but modeling is their career.
If you, like me, are in college, work, or do both, I'm sorry, but you do not have the life of a model. Models wake up, make breakfast, and work out. Their day literally consists of keeping their bodies picture perfect and going to photo shoots because that’s what they are paid to do.
You have your own life outside of that. You simply do not have the time to box, lift, and squat all day, so please don't expect your body to look like theirs. They work hard, and I'm sure you do too, but there are only so many hours in a day. While they do what they need to do for their jobs, you need to prioritize based on your own life and work.
Continuing, if you're stalking one of those seemingly "Insta famous" girls from your school, please, just stop. Do you know how they got famous? They got one of their friends to take a "hot" picture of them (or maybe they even hired a professional photographer), then they DMed that picture to a famous “hot girl” account that, in turn, posted the photo, tagged the girl, and got her thousands of followers.
In other words, the assumption cannot be made that more followers means more friends. In fact, someone could have thousands—or even millions—of followers, and could still go to bed lonely.
That being said, did you just say you want her life? I'm sorry, but I'm not sure you're conceptualizing the severity of that sentence. "I want her life" is more than, "I want her style, her smile, or her celebrity boyfriend." "I want her life," means you want everything that comes along with it.
Honestly, I don't care if you're talking about Blake Lively. The thing is, you don't really know what anyone's life is like. Sure, you can guess, but you don't know the quality of their friendships, their relationships with their parents and families, or the traumas of their past.
You don't know what their future holds, what's really in their bank account, or how they feel on a day-to-day basis. All you know is that, based on how they've painted the picture of their life, you want the all-encompassing version of whatever it is that they have.
Please, don't waste your time wanting something that isn't yours to have. Your experiences, your memories, your body, your mind, your talents, and your faults—they’re all unique and your own. You're not only belittling the value of your own life, but you're also betting on something intangible. You're betting, not on the reality of a person's life, but on the idea of it.
In actuality, what stares back at you from a screen may not be the whole truth—there are countless stories not being told. The girl with the beautiful smile? She was abused as a child. The girl with the perfect looking boyfriend? He hit her in college. The girl with the killer job? Her dad doesn't call. You don't know about her drug addiction, her eating disorder, or the fact that she used to cut. You don't know how lost and isolated she felt in high school, or how many nights she cried herself to sleep, exhausted by the chase of perfection.
There's a chance that you've experienced all of those things, and maybe even worse. Maybe you dabbled in homelessness—maybe you've never been happy with your appearance. Maybe you've lost a loved one. What's more, maybe you've never known what it's like to be loved.
The point is, we all have our demons. We all have things we love about ourselves, and things we hate about ourselves. And unfortunately, we all have the ability to—more so than ever before—look at what someone else has and deem it as more valuable than what we have. However, you can't gauge a lifetime of experiences from a single Instagram feed.
I know comparisons are human nature, but please, never say you want someone else's life. As great as her hair may seem, and as much as she seems like someone you'd like to be, in most cases, you know nothing about her—or at least about the things that matter. You know a facade, an image carefully crafted day after day, and woven into the idea of a life.
So, instead of focusing on what someone else has built for the world to see, instead construct an exceptional—albeit imperfect—life of your own.
"Listen—are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?" ~Mary Oliver