The Peer Pressure Millennials Put On Millennials Is Starting To Hurt

Securing our status in society comes at a price.

But I’m An Entrepreneur

10,000 followers on Instagram! Marital adventures in the jungle! Setting sail on the Caspian Sea! Spearheading million dollar startups!

Millennials are a crafty bunch, aren’t we? We pride ourselves on supporting little guy businesses who practice sustainability and pat one another on the back for surpassing our older colleagues in the corporate ranks faster than a new pop song is finished playing on the radio (wait, what’s a radio?), and MY, do we love and reward experiential customer service.

A complimentary facial with my full highlight, you say? Don’t mind if I do!

Millennials, while overtly ambitious and scrappy, are capital O-obsessed with success. We are obsessed with having it, with sharing it, and in some cases, shoving it down people’s throats when we feel like we have achieved it.

While Baby Boomers still have us pegged for the job-hopping, grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side, fickle beings that we are, it’s just because we’re so darn curious about the world and simply want to make so many things — concerning the environment, our personal relationships, and a business’s bottom line — better.

Right?

We want to see it all and do it all, and we want to show everyone how great we are while we’re galavanting from one city to the next — stopping at every trendy brunch spot along the way, obviously — filling that void that we feel is always in some way lingering until we cover it up by way of the perfect angled selfie or the “Thank you” post on Facebook to everyone who listened to our podcast and made it hit number one on iTunes.

Ah, yes. Gratitude. Another humbling phenom us millennials practice as we preach, swearing that “journaling” has really been the answer to providing us a clearer meaning of what’s important in life.

Maybe it has.

We are just like any other generation in the sense that we have good in us and we have selfish motives in us.

Are you actually grateful for the people who believed in your weird light-up glasses idea that has now put you in a shiny penthouse, wrapped up with a pretty pink personal assistant, or are you posting that “thank you” to receive a good 2 hours of dopamine hits?

I think it’s a little of both. And I don’t know if that’s wrong, or if we should care if it’s wrong. We’re allowed to be proud of our accomplishments. And we’re allowed to feel happy when we get some online attention…I guess.

My Question is…

Are we moving in a positive direction toward lifting each other up, or are we moving in a narcissistic direction of climbing over top of one another in order to be seen?

Perhaps the question then becomes: Are we the culprit of creating this exhausting race to gain societal praise, or is social media the culprit?

And Those Instagram Models…

Social media may be what’s causing us to feel anxious, depressed, lonely, unworthy, lazy and unsuccessful as we scroll through one professional achievement after extravagant birthday party after celebrations of babies being born after move-ins to $800,000 homes after inspirational “self-made” quotes as a midday perk-up.

But we are the ones — us, on the other side of the screen snapping photos, pairing them with the cleverest and wittiest of captions — are the ones in control of scrolling, snapping, posting, repeat. We are in control of social media, but we have let it control us, our thoughts, our beliefs and now, our behaviors.

Instagram in particular has become a competitive little devil, and I do blame high-profile influencers for painting the impossibly unattainable picture that their lives consist of nothing more than enjoying rainbow smoothie bowls on champagne beaches and leisurely meetings with celebrities that result in fun-in-the-sun product partnerships. Their perfect feeds don’t dare show the imperfections behind the camera. (Because they don’t have any, of course). Instagram misconstrues reality, which results in us competing with things that are literally impossible to compete with because they aren’t real.

And in those moments when we aren’t feeling so hot — those moments where we are particularly vulnerable from either earth-shattering events or plain old bad days at the office — those are the moments we feel defeated when we should feel proud, jealous when we should feel thankful, and so on.

What am I getting at, here?

I guess what I’m trying to say is we should be spending (far) less time on social media and more time exploring the world around us, sans cameras.

I dare you to experience something Instagram worthy like yoga on the river or a cute picnic in the park without documenting it. I’m going to challenge myself to do just that.

Happy exploring, millennials.

Thanks for reading!