Why are we so concerned with being “picture perfect?”

My friend, let’s call her Rachel, has a seemingly perfect life. Her Instagram screams happiness and adventure, she never has one hair out of place in any picture, and according to twitter her and her boyfriend of 3 years are in love and couldn’t be any happier.

Or so I thought. Prior to meeting Rachel, I was always jealous of her. She seemed like the kind of girl that every girl would want to be, the kind of girl that had everything together. And that’s exactly how she was… on social media. Turns out, she had more split ends on her hair than a freshly bleached natural brunette, her boyfriend of 3 years had been cheating on her since they had started dating, and her life was not nearly as glamorous as she showed. It took me months to see this about her. How did I not see this any earlier?

Well, it turns out that behind all the selfie face edits, the hiking pictures, and the numerous happy tweets, was an unhappy girl who wanted desperately to showcase a better life than she was living. But why?

Why do we care so much about how we look on social media? Why do likes and comments seem to define our worth?

From my experience, the false security that online interactions give us should not establish who we are as people. As people, we all go through struggles that shouldn’t be kept hidden. Forcing this “perfect life” facade can only be detrimental. Both to the owner and the viewer. Social media gives people a false idea that this perfect life can exist. The result will be two kinds of people: those who don’t want to admit they have problems and focus all their energy on glorifying themselves on Facebook, and those who feel discouraged by their struggles and therefore feel even more down about their lives.

So, I’m sorry for exposing you Rachel. But I’m also here to say that it’s not necessarily a bad thing that a picture doesn’t get 100 likes or that my relationship never makes it to social media. It’s not mandatory to have a celebrity aesthetic or to boast about your wonderful relationship. What I do think is mandatory, though, is that we all stop acting like we’re perfect people and accept our sometimes boring and sometimes gloomy lives.

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