Facebook and Instagram make my life seem pretty lame.
Every time I log on, I’m bombarded with pictures of happy smiling people doing happy smiling people things. Endless news feeds positively bursting at the seams with life achievements. Exciting milestones. Large and apparently delightful social gatherings.
Occasionally someone will have a bit of a whinge or rant about the man at the milk bar who overcharged them for their potato chips and how they’ve now “lost all faith in humanity”. But such posts are usually sandwiched in amongst snaps and snippets of parties, proud moments and people looking spectacularly attractive… so no one pays too much attention really.
In fact, if social media is to be believed, most people have their sh*t totally together.
We don’t tend to upload beach shots featuring muffin tops cascading over bikini bottoms. No one updates their status to tell the world when they’re rejected after yet another job interview. In fact, very few people post about failure or imperfection at all.
Which is fine. Kind of. I mean, newsfeeds chock full of the depressing and mundane wouldn’t make for particularly inspiring reading. But at the same time, if it appears that no one has any issues… that’s kind of an issue.
When everyone around us looks like they have their lives sorted, ironed and neatly stowed on the ‘awesome’ shelf, our own achievements can seem a bit feeble by comparison.
I may be feeling quite pleased with myself after successfully selecting the exact Tupperware container size required to precisely fit my leftovers from dinner. But then I then hop online and see some vague acquaintance has just been plastered on the cover of Vogue; another is reclining on a Carribbean beach alongside her perfectly chiseled male companion; another has just published her 83rd research paper.
Suddenly my leftover food-stowing success feels like less of an achievement.
Unfortunately, self worth tends to be perceived not in absolute terms, but rather in relative ones. If all we see is success, happiness and fun, we naturally assume that our lives should be the same. And when the most exciting element of our weekend is a hot date with Netflix… we start to question.
Is this good enough? Am I good enough?
We all want to feel like we’ve got it together. But sometimes more, we want others to know that we do. We want the validation of being liked — physically and electronically — by others. So of course we put our best e-foot forward.
But sometimes — just sometimes — I wonder whether it might be worth balancing out all that perfection by sharing a little scrap of the defective or banal. Posting an occasional multi-chinned or Buddha-bellied selfie. Sharing pictures of cakes that farted out their uncooked filling when we cut into them #nailedit.
Because in an age of digital selectiveness and photoshopped flawlessness, it’s easy to forget that perfection is a computerised construct.
So here is my challenge to you. Instead of holding out for the next superbly-angled selfie, upload a photo or post a status of you and your life right now.
It may be sensational. It may be banal. It may be downright embarrassing.
But it might just help the rest of us to realise that we’re not the only human humans out there.
That maybe we are, in fact, doing ok.