I have a love and hate relationship with social media. It’s a truly wonderful platform to grow your business and expand awareness of your company. It can be inspiring and a place to connect with some truly amazing people. It is also a place of egos, insecurities and judgement.
How many of us have flicked through the images found on someones Instagram or Facebook accounts and unconsciously made judgements about the kind of life they have?
If you follow me on any of my social media platforms you have probably come to some of your own conclusions about my own life. From the images I share you may think that I am someone who likes to lead a fairly spiritual life, I enjoy yoga and I meditate. I love nature, my dog, and our endless country walks together. You probably view me as career driven, very sociable and a lover of all things fun. Social media tells you that right? It gives you an insight into someones life?
But do you really know me? What you won’t know from my social media pages is that I am in fact incredibly private, private about the things that really matter to me. You won’t know anything about my family relationships, or the details of my closest friendships. You won’t be privy to the fact that I don’t have children, or why. You won’t see pictures of my husband or my nephews, or my life. You know, the life that is personal and sacred, the same life that I deem as far too private to be shared across the internet in a selection of images or quotes for the world to see.
I had lunch with a friend recently, a good friend who is currently dealing with one of life’s curve balls. You know the type, the ones that are thrown so quickly and come out of nowhere, that it literally knocks you clean off your feet. He is struggling, and for him, right now life isn’t the best it’s been. Over our coffee he mentioned that he had recently posted an image on his Facebook page, it was one of him at a party with his friends. Soon after he had posted it someone had casually commented that his life ‘was always so glamorous and exciting’. At that moment in his life, he felt it was neither. The irony.
Social media can actually help us be more mindful. We can begin to acknowledge when we are viewing something from a place of ego or judgement.
I am a qualified therapist and healer, I have also studied mindfulness and Buddhism for many years. I often post things relating to depression, and mental health issues. I have neither, but a lot of my clients do. I love to share images or quotes about self-love and positive body image, some may misinterpret that as me having a low self-esteem. I don’t. I post things about relationships and dealing with various emotions, that doesn’t mean that particular topic I am sharing relates directly to me. When we look at images that people have shared on social media and we start to try to reason as to why they have shared them, we are in fact coming from a place of judgement, or even ego. Try not to create stories in your head, about that person’s life. Unless you share their journey personally with them, you don’t know them, or their stories.
Just as we judge others, we can also judge ourselves.
How many times have you seen images on Instagram or Facebook and suddenly felt your life is inferior to that of others? Theirs seems so much more glamorous, adventurous or even fun! Or like me, have you found yourself looking at the thousands of images of those women with perfect yoga bodies, you know the ones, they are always perfectly placed in some advanced asana with a backdrop of vast mountains or deep blue oceans. You see them, and for a moment you think ‘She looks incredible, I wish I looked like her.’ Lets be honest, we’ve all done it at some point.
So much of what is posted on social media isn’t real life. That image you longingly look at could be the one image that’s been selected from the hundred taken before it. The lighting has been tweaked, the angle perfected and then every filter has been used to create the final shot that the world gets to see. The people in those images will all have their own insecurities, they will face their own challenges, and for many of them life will be a constant journey of ups and downs. But that image doesn’t tell you that, that image is nothing short of perfect. So much on social media is in fact fake. Stop comparing your life to the random images you see. You are real, filtered photo’s are not.
When we learn to stop comparing the sharing, have less judgement and remember to be grateful for the many blessings in our own lives, we are in fact living with more presence, more compassion and more truth.