The Other Side of Instagram

Obviously, everything on social media is curated. You don’t need to read 34.8 million results on Google to validate this. The images of other people’s fantasy lives on all of us are mostly unhealthy.

One of the most damaging effects it can have is that it misleads us to believe that other people just arrived where they are physically, with their career, or their seemingly endless moments of enlightened, sepia-toned happiness. These people, most of us, are only broadcasting their best selves, a noxious personal brand that is always super premium.

By most measures I’ve become a fairly successful person. This is not to brag, it is a fact, but one that comes with a footnote: it was a combination of an enormous amount of effort and an equal amount of luck. However, after too much time on Instagram, I find it important to remind myself how hard it was to achieve these goals and how much energy is required to continually cultivate my personal wellbeing.

For example, in the the past few weeks there seemed to be an endless deluge work and stress. Trying to exceed expectations at an intense job, finding time for the gym, cooking every meal so I can eat properly, making sure I get enough sleep, figuring out if a romantic relationship is really “for me”, and contributing to — or sometimes just not ruining — the handful of healthy friendships I have managed to acquire over 33.9 years can make me feel like I am walking on a tight rope through the gusts of the Windy City.

We all feel wobbly on our tight rope from time to time. Every accomplished person I know has admitted to the fatigue of this balancing act. Sometimes in great detail, sometimes as they exhale “I just need a vacation.”

But we should expect this. Getting what you want and keeping it is never effortless. The demands of success are isolating. As you achieve more of your goals, the tight rope gets a little further from the ground. The stake get higher.

But despite the pressure and exhaustion we all have to deal with, I’ve realized that as your goals crank the rope up, your accomplishments widen your safety net.

This is why I think it is so important to focus on the great things you have done and great lessons you have learned. Once in awhile, go to other side of Instagram and hold on to all the intensity and effort and work it took for you to enjoy your Clarendon #Brunch or Amaro #Sunset. I am firm believer that how matters, and it’s so easy to forget the process when we only see the post.

Navigating success while cultivating our wellbeing is one of the toughest balancing acts in life. I don’t have all the answers, but I think I have some. The point of this blog/journal/post (whatever final format it takes) is to share what I’ve learned on my tight rope to success and try and figure out how to keep moving forward as I cross this turbulent chasm on a taught string.

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