I thought I would talk about something that has been on my mind for the past week. Recently my posts have focussed more on what inspires me or what I’ve been doing recently, rather than how I feel or what I’m thinking about. So I have decided to change things up and talk about Instagram since lockdown has me thinking more about social media.
Many of us have mixed feelings when we hear or read that word. Instagram. And, for myself, I’m lucky not to be affected by it when it comes to my mental health or my negative thoughts. But I had a realisation the other day when I was in bed scrolling away: Instagram is not real.
I mean, we all think we know this already but does it really sink in? I managed to see this from a different perspective.
I started to think more about my feed and the posts and captions that I put out. I looked at them with the view of what people would assume about me from just looking at my feed. And, to be honest, it’s absolutely nothing like my real life. For example, I’m not always fake tanned, in fact I’m quite pale. I don’t always wear makeup, especially now we’re in lockdown. I’m not always inspired, unlike what my captions suggest. I don’t go into London that much, I live in Greater London and only go in on weekends or sunny evenings. I spend the majority of my time in the house, whether we’re in lockdown or not, because that’s my favorite place in the world. I have depression, low confidence and general anxiety disorder, it’s a daily struggle for me. But would you know that from my feed? Probably not. For real honest snapshots about how I’m feeling, you should probably go to Twitter where I moan constantly and express my thoughts more openly. Although, that’s still a brief look into my life.
Instagram doesn’t show you inner thoughts or feelings, it shows you snapshots – fully planned and filtered – from someone’s life. When I look at another person’s feed, I automatically assume that that’s their real life 100% of the time, which really doesn’t make much sense because when I look at my own, i know that this isn’t my real life. There really isn’t a difference between our profiles in that way.
We’re all trying to show our best selves, perhaps a self who we wished we were in a way. But this can be unhealthy. Instagram is only an idea of someone’s life, or of your own life, how can you expect to be that? How can you expect your own life to be a light-hearted snapshot 100% of the time? Realistically, it’s normal for us to feel low, confused, stressed and unhappy. It’s a part of life, so expecting ourselves to be “Instagram worthy” 24/7 is actually cruel. It’s impossible. We’re setting ourselves up for failure!
For me, my Instagram account is sort of like my blog. It’s a creative outlet where I can express myself and be proud. I want to view my feed and be happy about what I’ve posted or what I’ve been doing. It motivates me to keep going and keep trying, even when I’m feeling low. There are highs and lows in life. Instagram usually just shows you the highs. And it reminds me that the highs will come again and I will feel good again – it’s okay.