Yes I said it. The negative side of our beloved Instagram that I check far too many times a day. We all know a lot of what we see on our feeds isn’t the whole picture yet somehow find ourselves scrolling through people’s accounts feeling incredibly jealous of their perfect lives. Well I do anyway.
You know those people who manage to make cheese on toast look like it’s been made at a mitchelin star restaurant. Parents who live in minimal and entirely monochrome homes (seriously how do they keep it so tidy and what do the kids play with?!).
Girls who only eat goji berries and work out three times a day. Couples who are just so very much in love and never argue about anything, they just kiss and bask about in the sunshine and go on incredible dates etc etc.
Well let me remind you. IT IS NOT REALITY. The majority of photos you see on Instagram took a lot of attempts, planning and moving things around, and have been edited with several filters. They are a snap shot in a much bigger picture. Couples argue. Kids are not always cute. Skinny models are on strict exercise regimes and diets (err…no thanks). Holidays are not always as perfect as they look.
Take my last few Instagram shots for example, I took these on a holiday to Greece that I’ve just got back from. It looks idyllic right? For the sake of this blog, I purposely only posted photos of happy moments, pretty scenery, the sun shining, smiling children; the image of a relaxing holiday. And it was in part – we enjoyed amazing quality family time in a stunning place and felt so blessed to be able to go (our first overseas holiday together). But there were some seriously frustrating moments. The kids didn’t sleep well (surprise surprise!), Noah hated the plane and the swimming pool and the heat (so basically the whole holiday!) so therefore we tag-teamed staying in the shade or indoors with him whilst he was ridiculously grumpy, it took hours of rocking our sweaty screaming baby to try and get him to nap and most of those attempts failed which drove us both insane, meals out were an absolute nightmare, on separate occasions I dropped both Sienna and Noah on the floor(!), someone stole my new expensive flip flops (seriously who does that?!) and left me to burn my feet on the hot floor all week, I made an effort to get dressed up for a meal only to realise afterwards that my dress was inside out (classy), Nick and I had little to no time together, and no bikini could hide the flabby stretch-marked tummy that my darling son has left me. But my Instagram shots didn’t tell you that did they?! I filtered what you saw.
What I would like you to think my kids looked like all the time on holiday vs the reality…
Now don’t get me wrong I love Instagram. It’s a great way of snapping moments and being creative. But an element of ‘real’ has been lost. And I actually think it’s dangerously making us feel dissatisfied, jealous, and stealing our joy from the normal things in life.
A while ago I started a thing on Instagram called #TruthfulTuesday where for several weeks on a Tuesday I would post a more realistic photo; maybe unedited, the first attempt not the 100th, the boring every day stuff that no one posts on Instagram. So that’s what I did. I hoped it showed others that even though my life might look ‘perfect’ (I’ve got the husband, the two kids, a nice middle class lifestyle etc), behind the posed photos, it’s really not. My marriage has its ups and downs. We have issues, we argue, we don’t have it sorted. I shout at my kids, they have tantrums, we mostly just eat spag bol and my house needs a whole lot of work. It’s family life. It’s messy, but it’s normal. People just don’t tend to snap shot the normal.
So why do we arrange everything perfectly for an Instagram shot? To make our accounts look beautiful, sure, especially if you’re selling something, but maybe because we feel the pressure to make our lives look perfect, to keep up with the ‘perfect’ lives of everyone else.
And understandably we want to remember the good stuff, and to make shots look arty and well, better. But we owe it to each other to show some real once in a while. Because I don’t know about you but I can think- am I the only one whose house/body/life/cup of coffee doesn’t look like that?!
I’m also not wanting to make my life sound negative. I just want to say that if you think my life seems pretty perfect on the outside, but I’m telling you it really isn’t, then it probably means a lot of other people’s lives aren’t either. Getting married/ having kids/ mastering the clean eating diet/ having a great career or house doesn’t suddenly fix everything and make you happy.
My challenge to you – take some photos of your reality once in a while. Show us your normal. Or tell us underneath a beautiful shot how long it took you to get it right and what the rest of your house really looks like. Be real and it may really encourage someone else that their life/home/relationship/dinner isn’t as shitty as they thought.