It’s been a while since I’ve done a #BloggingDesk post but to be honest, I’m at the point with the internet and Instagram that this post is a long time coming. After blogging for more than a decade, I’ve seen the space change and morph over the years and with the additions of Instagram and constant social media presence in our daily lives, it’s hard sometimes not to feel overwhelmed with everything we see. But lately, I’ve found that the “un-realness” of the internet and Instagram specifically is really bothering me. I hate that we live in an age where so many people find themselves looking at pictures and reading captions that truly are nothing more than an ad for someone’s highlight reel of their lives, showing everyone else that their life is perfect and making us all feel bad for actually being “real.” It all sort of hit me late last year and I spent a few weeks unfollowing a lot of people that I didn’t feel fit with how I’m feeling about social media these days. And wow, was that freeing! But while yes, we can unfollow if we want, the internet and social media is unfortunately becoming a place that is so far from real life that it’s often hard to distinguish between someone’s real life and their online persona and that’s truly sad. The blogging community (which much of it moved to Instagram in the last handful of years) used to be real, it used to connect real people in real situations and these days, much of it feels very fake and overdone and I think many of you will agree that what once was a real community has started to peel away the layers and reveal an ugly core. Several online situations recently have brought me to this post and each one has taught me a very important lesson.
You Don’t Need to Bring Others Down in order to Lift Yourself Up
A couple months ago, I messaged a “mommy blogger” that I had been following about an Instagram story she had posted about women without kids living a constant vacation. I personally found it offensive and I told her why in a DM. She did take it down but in our conversation, I realized that she would never understand my side of this issue and I would never understand hers. Ok so a little back story, I have followed this person for years and know her through some mutual friends, so my following was more of a loyalty. But here’s the thing, after that situation, I realized that while her whole life (and Instagram) account is motherhood, that doesn’t mean insulting women for other life choices, like choosing not to have kids, should be part of that platform. And I’m not saying she overtly came out and insulted other women, but over time, I found many posts and stories leaning in that direction, basically saying, if you didn’t have kids, you had all this free time and you weren’t living a fulfilling life. Now I have my own very personal reasons for choosing not to have kids and I’ve been open and honest about here on LOM and in my personal life, but each woman has a totally unique and totally valid reason for not having kids. That should never be put down, especially by other women. If we can’t stand together and support each other for our life choices, then we just end up dragging each other down. It got to a point where I ended up just unfollowing this person, not because she purposefully did anything wrong, but I realized that her mindset and mine were so far apart that she was inadvertently bringing me down.
The lesson: unfollow people who bring others down, whether they know they are doing it or not.
The Perfect Relationship
I’m at the point on social media where the captions about how perfect people’s marriages are or how perfect their spouses are make me just shake my head. Ok let me preface this by saying, I love my husband and we have a wonderful relationship and marriage, but does that mean that he’s always perfect and that our marriage is always perfect? Ummm no. And the truth is, no one’s is! That’s why it kills me that there are still the people putting that out there for the rest of us to think, “if I don’t feel that way, something must be wrong with me.” The people that brag about their spouses constantly and the people that say how perfect their relationships are, those are the ones that probably are farthest from it or live in a constant state of denial. I’m so tired of the perfect relationships thrown all over Instagram that now, I totally ignore it.
The lesson: We all have our own lives and our own problems, no matter how beautiful someone else’s may seem, it’s not real.
Always Healthy, Always Happy
You know those bloggers and social media stars that are always happy and always healthy and always dressed perfectly and out and about? Ok I’ll tell you right now, I’ll never be one of them and in truth, I think very few of them are actually real, if any. The truth is no one is healthy and happy all the time. We all struggle with times in our life that aren’t picture perfect, when you just want to crawl on the couch in your pajamas and watch Netflix for hours. When you’re dealing with health issues or you’re sick and can’t get out of bed. The behind the scenes of our lives are our lives and unfortunately, so many people on social media will only show the great amazing moments of their lives that we all think we’re living a less impressive life. And I get it, who wants to see the negatives? Well if that’s the case, then just don’t post. Or post and be honest about what’s going on. Personally I spent a week in late January barely being able to walk because of an issue with my back and I was honest about it. My favorite social media accounts are the ones that are honest about their struggles and are open to their followers about what’s really happening in their lives. Some of my favorites for this particular reason are Carin Olsson, Lauren Bryan Knight, and Kat Tanita. So if you’re looking for people with beautiful lives but that still show the hard stuff too, follow them. I so appreciate it when someone you follow reveals something from their not so perfect life that shows us we’re all the same. We’re not always happy and we’re not always healthy, but at the end of the day, sharing that is what unites us more.
The lesson: Remember that what you see on social media is a facade and follow the people that are honest and open about the downsides of life too.