Last week I read a great blog, Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life. The title caught interest because we all relate. On days when our lives seem to be in havoc, it’s hard to browse through facebook pictures and status’s of others seemingly perfect lives. But that’s what facebook is, isn’t it? A collection of highlights. It’s a pseudo world that wasn’t meant to fill our need of community and friendship. If we seek to belong, social media will always fail us, which is the Relevant article’s conclusion. Community doesn’t happen online. It happens face to face.
I decided to do an experiment as a result of reading the article. Do people really want to see the ugly? I posted a picture of myself first thing in the morning (the picture you see here). I made this picture my profile picture for the day. Yes, it was extremely embarrassing. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, to give others a laugh. Second: to observe reactions. Throughout the day I also posted pictures and status’s of everything I was feeling or things that went wrong. Interesting, that particular day A LOT went wrong!
Here’s what I observed from what I posted and the feedback I received.
Although many had a good laugh and applauded my bravery for posting my first-thing-in-the-morning look, some interesting messages came into my inbox about my profile picture. Here’s what one said:
Is showing the ugly, or the “not so great” helping people focus on the beauty of life? Ya, life can suck and bad things happen, but why are we focusing on it.? I don’t think not getting my dishes done is praise worthy or lovely. I find when I look at the not so nice things in my life, it makes me depressed. Looking at the things in my life that I did right or things I excelled at makes me happy. Having a look how bad my life is isn’t uplifting to my spirit. I know we can grow from bad things in life, and believe me, I’ve gone through a few things. It wasn’t the people saying, “Look how bad my life is”, that got me out. It was the people that showed me hope.
I think this is a notable observation. If we all posted our worst pictures, our worst moments, what would that do to beauty? Would it encourage others to dream, create, be passionate, excel and achieve? Or would it create a culture of mediocrity and apathy?
I like what another wrote in to say about taking more ownership on ourselves on how we use social media. She wrote:
If we experience feelings of dissatisfaction or inferiority because of what we infer from other people’s posts (i.e. their life must be better than ours), then we are the ones who need to renew our minds. True contentment does not come about because other people stop posting about how awesome their lives are. When we continue to trust in and have faith in God, when we continue to be thankful for what we have, and when we continue to trust that He is at work in our lives, despite any outward evidence to the contrary – that is when we will truly feel content. No amount of instagram photos or facebook statuses can diminish that or rob it from us.
I agree with this statement. There was a time I was experiencing much isolation and jealousy as a result of typical facebook envy. It was consuming my mind and making me angry. I started to notice when people stopped “liking” my pictures and status’s, yet still “liked” others in our circle of friends. I found myself feeling left out and rejected from “likes” on facebook. I had to make adjustments on my settings to give myself boundaries and return to a place where I could enjoy social media for its positive side. Ever since I did that, I can’t begin to tell you the liberty l’ve experienced. I’m free from facebook Jr. High drama and it’s lovely.
On the other hand, another wrote in about the importance of keeping it real and not being afraid of showing imperfection. She writes:
While I can agree with the comments above, i also believe that there is a place to be able to say, “I’m sweaty, I’m frustrated, I’m not on my game today, or pick your issue of choice!” Balance is important.
I couldn’t agree more. There’s something about pictures like these that make us laugh at ourselves and make us feel at peace with our humanity.
Pictures like this:
These pictures were posted by some friends who thought they would share in the #stopinstagrammingyourperfectlife experiment. These pictures make us laugh because they’re relatable. They’re not “negative” or bring feelings of apathy. There’s nothing like these moments that remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. Posting pictures like this reminds others, too, that laughter is good for the soul and not to worry too much if life just isn’t working today.
What I noticed from this experiment is: no one wants to see our worst, yet we want people to be real. We enjoy it when others aren’t afraid of revealing their funny imperfections. Elitism on social media disgusts and creates inferiority, but showing the beauty we bring to the earth in a spirit of friendly confidence inspires others to be their best.
I concluded the day by stating: We all know we don’t have perfect lives. If facebook or social media make us feel inferior then we are the ones who need to adjust the amount we’re on facebook. To expect others to expose their darkness on social media isn’t realistic and honestly looks…. weird. I believe in being real. It’s one of my core values, but I will save some vulnerability for those who have earned seeing me at my worst. We were born for genuine community – community that can’t be manufactured cheap through a screen. We long forcommunity that is real, raw, accepting, and gets into one another’s lives face to face, with the dedication of stating “I AM FOR YOU” – quirks and all.
Tomorrow I will reveal a free chapter from my book, Culture Rebel, that talks about a time when I was buried in my shallow heart, revealing it’s ugly head on my facebook page. Until then, what are your thoughts?