In high school, I always felt like the "cool" thing to do was to keep up with all the popular social media influencers. If you didn't follow Kylie Jenner's Instagram religiously, you were the odd person out. But over time, I began to realize that maybe this wasn't the healthiest thing for me to be doing. Not because those influencers were really doing anything wrong, but because I was. I was forgetting that people only share the positive parts of their lives on social media, not their struggles. And in a time when everyone is constantly scrolling through their feeds, it can be far too easy to fall into a comparative headspace. And I was creating unrealistic standards for myself from what I saw online.
I don't want people to get caught up in negative comparison because I perpetuate that my life is perfect when it isn't, so I'm just honest.
When I got to college, I made a pact to unfollow all of the accounts online that made me feel bad about myself. I stopped following influencers and celebrities who weren't representative of me and who didn't add anything positive to my life. Instead, I began reposting photos from accounts that inspired me, helped me feel good about myself, and started posting openly about my journeys with things like mental health and body image. Making this switch quickly helped my mental state and the way I viewed myself. My perspective became more positive, inclusive, and kinder to those around me. Soon, I started to notice that I wasn't the only person my content was helping. My DMs were rapidly filling up with messages of affirmation like "I needed to see this today," "thank you for sharing," and "you are so encouraging," which is my new favorite compliment to receive — ever.
On one hand, seeing influencers and celebrities sharing posts that show off their exciting lives makes me happy. It's amazing that they have the confidence and the means to live their lives that way, and they should be proud of that. But on the other hand, many of those people also aren't posting the things about their lives that aren't perfect, and that can be hard to keep in mind when you're seeing that content all the time. When everyone you follow is constantly on vacation, buying an expensive car, or wearing the perfect outfit, it can feel like you're the only person in the world not doing any of those things, when in reality, that couldn't be further from the truth. You just have to change what you're looking at.
I don't want people to get caught up in negative comparison because I perpetuate that my life is perfect when it isn't, so I'm just honest. Sometimes my life is great, so I share that when I'm happy and excited. When it isn't, I share that, too. When I talk about my struggles, I make sure that there's a lesson in all of it, even if it's hard for me to see in the moment. I find strength and courage from others who are honest about whatever journey they're going through, so if I can be that for someone else, I will (or at least I'll try).
So, whenever I'm told that something I did or said helped someone get through something, that's the best compliment I could ever receive. We're all just trying our best in this thing called life, and being there for each other is all we can do.