Scrolling, consuming, comparing. A highlight real full of filters and edited photos. Social media isn’t reality. Some people post things that are close to the truth, but everything that is being posted is thought out in some way. This is a concept that can be hard to realize.
We live in a day and age where it is normal to want to stop and take a picture of a happy moment to share with the world. Some people post because it brings them joy, some because it is a way to show family/friends what they have been up to, and some because they need to make their life feel better to them. Maybe you are someone who has posted for all of these reasons.
I used to post on social media to feel like I fit in and to make my life look like it was so much fun. I wanted other people to think that my life was always fun and I was so happy and confident. Back then I was trying to get people to compliment me. I had no confidence and I thought social media would make me feel better when I got a certain amount of likes.
I then moved to the stage of only posting when something was happening in my life to show my followers what was going on. Of course it was still a highlight reel and thought about, but it was more natural and I was not looking for likes or compliments.
Now, I post because I want to or I feel inspired to share something. I want to help people and inspire people in any way that I can. I also think that social media can act as a memory book and it can be fun to look back at a picture from a different time in my life.
I can catch myself sometimes comparing my life to what I am seeing on social media. I remind myself that this is a highlight reel and even when people are trying to be as authentic as they can be, it isn’t always what it seems. This picture reminded me of that truth.
The story that this picture paints: It is a beautiful, calm night in the midwest. There are no bugs; the birds are chirping, and the setting sun is casting a dreamy golden hue over the trees. I am inside a tent that I have set up in the backyard. I am going to sleep in nature and disconnect from technology. I feel at peace and safe in my little bubble of a tent. I have cozy blankets and a good book to help lull me to a place of happy dreams. I wake up well rested in the morning to the sun rising and birds chirping. This night in a tent was amazing and I feel rejuvenated.
You probably think that this story is true because this picture paints that scene. It is beautiful and the world looks right in it. I easily could have posted this photo and told people that this was the truth. I am sad to say that this story was not true. It would be nice if that happened, but that was not my reality. That is what I was planning for with my night in my tent, but things do not always go as planned.
Here is what really happened: I set up a tent in my backyard with the help of my dad. Originally, I was going to have no technology in the tent because I wanted to disconnect but my mom wanted me to have a phone with me for safety reasons. One thing led to another and I went from “roughing it” in the backyard to having a phone, a smart watch, a string of lights, two extension chords, chargers, a lantern, a flashlight, an Alexa with a power boosted base, and the best part; carpet. Let’s just say my dad REALLY wanted me to be comfortable. I had an air mattress with some blankets and a few books. It was very windy and I felt like I was going to blow away. The air mattress was cold and I felt like I was freezing from the inside out while trying to sleep on it. I could barely fall asleep because my neighbor has not one, not two, but FIVE wind chimes in their backyard. They also thought it was a good idea to leave all the lights in their backyard on all night. Dogs were barking and cars were zooming. When I finally fell asleep I was awoken very shortly after because two men were outside and talking a little after two in the morning. I couldn’t tell where these men where or what they wanted but I knew that I needed to get inside my house to feel safe. I get to my bedroom and I could still hear these men talking. Finally, after about twenty minutes I heard a car door; the car drives away and the talking stopped. It was now three in the morning by the time I really got to sleep and I had to wake up at six thirty. I woke up exhausted and not ready for the day, but I had work to do so I needed to buck up.
These two stories are very different. One is from this picture and the other is reality. The morning after my interesting camping experience I looked at the picture and was amazed at how perfect a scene it captured. I wanted to have had that experience, but it was not my reality. It made me think about how things on social media are just not what they seem.
I know some people are very transparent about what is happening, but it still is not reality. The next time you see something on social media and catch yourself comparing your life with someone else, please remember that it is a highlight reel (for the most part) and it is not reality.
Maybe this will inspire you to post more candidly on your social media platforms or maybe it will help you be aware of the inauthenticity that has become so accessible in the palm of our hands and to not compare your life with someone, especially on social media.
I hope this helps you to remember that things are not always what they seem and that a picture does not always speak the truth.
Until next time,