I Decided to Be More Authentic on Social Media, and the Response Shocked Me
I started off the morning feeling great. I liked my outfit, I wasn't feeling bloated, and I wasn't running late. It was the perfect combination of reasons to share a quick selfie on my Instagram Story. I went through most of the day feeling awesome and reading messages of supportive friends like "you look amazing!," "YES, girl!," and "Your apartment's so cute!" But by the end of the day, everything had gone to sh*t. I had gotten into a massive fight with a family member, I cried, I ate like crap, and I almost skipped my workout. All of these things that could happen on any given day are never something I would share on social media, until I did.
It's no secret that in 2019, almost every part of our life is documented . . . well, at least the parts we're proud to show our followers. We thrive on getting likes and feel validated when we get sweet comments. In a previous interview, Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, explained that social media is "real life, or so it seems, yet it isn't at all. This can absolutely fan the flames of insecurity and comparison, and it is especially confusing for the younger generation."
A few months ago, I detoxed my social media because I found myself unhappy after scrolling through my feeds. I was comparing myself to influencers and upset when I saw someone I didn't even actually like from college. But what struck me the other day was what if I was the person causing someone's unhappiness because I was living too filtered of a life that all sense of reality was lost? In an effort to no longer be that person, I decided to share how my day actually went.
In a recent wave, pop culture and celebrities have picked up on the fact that social media isn't always the healthiest place. In season three of The Bold Type, one of the main characters, Kat Edison, shares her post-breakup emotional breakdown on social media. Similarly, Vanderpump Rules star and author of Next Level Basic Stassi Schroeder has shared Instagram photos after her own public breakup and her struggle with psoriasis. Actress Drew Barrymore has even shared crying selfies on her Instagram page.
When I finally had the courage to share what my bad day looked like, comments poured in with love and support. Several people messaged me telling me they were so glad I had shared my struggle because it was something they needed to hear. It's OK to drop the mask every once in a while and show the unfiltered side of life. Sure, we all love a perfectly filtered selfie or a brightened bowl of pasta, but every one of us has suffered from a breakout or two or a poorly lit restaurant. Being more real with the people who follow you, even if it's just your friends and family, makes social media a much less toxic place for all of us and allows us to connect over the realities of life. Don't be afraid to try it some time.