I was lying on the couch trying (and failing because FOMO) to ignore the texts and Snapchats coming in from M and our friends. I’d been so looking forward to joining them at the Canada Day celebrations but, instead, I was nursing a sick little boy.
My phone vibrated. It was M.
My phone vibrated again. A message from a social media follower.
Your life looks like so much fun, the message began. I’ve been following you for a while and I’m so jealous! I wish my life was like yours.
My response? “Sounds like I’m doing social media right.”
That a total stranger sees my Twitter or Instagram and believes my life is fun and easy is precisely why social media is so dangerous. It’s why I try to share the no-fun sides of my life, too, because it’s easy to forget when you’re in a bad place that someone else is because Facebook and Instagram give us a shiny, spotless, perfectly captured peek into what might otherwise be an absolute shit show.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I have a great life. I’ve got a healthy beautiful kid, a successful career, a supportive family, a great boyfriend, and the best group of friends you could ask for. I live with privilege (and even luxury) that many people don’t. I know that. I used to look at people living the way I do and feel insanely jealous because I only saw what they wanted me to see.
As a person who has built a brand and a career on social media, I’m careful not to bite the hand that feeds. I love the good side of social media: the side that connects us, informs and educates, allows friendships to form or continue to thrive from across the country, the continent, and the world. But I see both sides.
That person has more followers. Got more likes. Is skinnier. Has better hair. A hotter boyfriend. Perkier boobs. No, wait – BIGGER boobs. Travels more.
It goes on and on and on and on. The next thing you know, you’re starting to feel like you’re the only one with an imperfect life. You’re not.
Perspective is a powerful thing. After some back and forth with the person who’d messaged me to say she was “jealous” of my life, she realized how little she was seeing and I realized how critical it is to check ourselves more often. Glancing through that perfectly timed, expertly Instagram-filtered, beautifully composed snapshot doesn’t show you even 1/100th of the full picture.