Find me at 10pm on any weekday and I'll probably be caught up mindlessly scrolling social media feeds while trying to go to sleep. I mind numbingly see the same repeated images over and over again, someone on a beach, airplane, or in some 5-star restaurant; runway models wearing the most exclusive collections; beautiful houses and cars and of course smiles showing off just how happy all of these people are. It is ever so easy for me to forget that social media is merely a facade, a highlight reel. I find myself spiralling into negative thoughts, feeling unworthy and ungrateful for my situation, as I constantly compare myself to others' seemingly flawless lives. How is this person always on vacation? How are they always so happy? How is their relationship so perfect? I ask these questions and come to the conclusion that well, simply their life must just be easy and blissful.
As we continue to be constantly bombarded with these fake, planned out images, we are constantly being robbed of our own happiness. Seeing what everyone you have basically ever met is doing, and 99% of the time only the good parts, all the time cannot be good for our monkey brains. We weren't made to know what the person you met once in the bathroom of a club is doing every single day. We probably weren't even made to know more than a handful of people. Yet, I now somehow keep tabs on 900 people, some I haven't seen in years. Not only this, we are not getting the full story, the full glimpse into their lives. I for one never show anything too personal, or too vulnerable online, except perhaps to my closest friends. One look at my Instagram and perhaps one would assume I'm always off travelling to amazing locations, eating the finest foods and out with my friends all the time. The truth is, much like everyone else, I am curating what I imagine to be my perfect life for others to see. I really only post when I am on vacation, which is basically only once or twice a year, only when I am at the nicest restaurants, the coolest clubs, and only when I have spent hours on my makeup and outfit. People don't see all the hardships and pain I face. They don't see the sadness or the breakdowns.
So, what's the answer? Should we all strive to be more 'real' on the internet, à la Bella Hadid crying selfies? Should we attempt to stop using social media all together? Or perhaps a more mindful approach is the solution, being cognizant of what images you are taking in, and reminding oneself that there's more to what meets the eye. My solution has been to not even look at sites like LinkedIn, the worst site of them all-made for networking but really just a place for stuck up corporate capitalists to compare their job promotions and post about how amazing their company is. Whatever it is, I believe there needs to be a shift towards openly talking about the harms of social media, and more transparency from all actors involved.