How big is the discrepancy between your real life and the one you #HumbleBrag about on your Instagram?
If an alien would try to learn things about humanity based on Instagram and then they would pay us a visit, maaaaaaan they would have a pretty big shock. On Instagram, everyone seems to have THE perfect life, a perfect relationship, perfect friends and they are extremely content and happy with themselves and the perfect life they live in. #FeelingBlessed #MyDubai. Don’t get me wrong, we all want to show the best version of our world, it’s perfectly normal. After all, nobody would want to hear us complaining non-stop about always being stressed and angry and … just that, in fact, this is actually reality, and what we see on Instagram is a beautiful story in which we would like to live. One the one hand, it’s sort of good, in a way. I believe in mental programming or “wishful thinking”, the problem, however, arises when the people around us have the impression that that’s our life. Why should you care that other people envy you or suffer by looking at your perfect life on Instgram? Because, in turn, you are following many people with a seemingly better, more exciting, livelier life than yours. And I bet you sometimes wish you to had their life.
Unfortunately, I’m not just talking from my own experience or from my friends’. In recent years, there have been many studies concluding that Instagram is the social media platform that generates the most depression among its users. Looking for more information, I started typing in a Google search “Instagram makes” with the intention of continuing with “people depressed” to find the above mentioned studies. I did not have to end the sentence, because the first suggestion (sorted by google according to how often it was accessed) was “Instagram makes me depressed”.
Still looking for more on this topic, I found an open debate on the largest public opinion site, so to speak, debate.org. It’s a site where one person asks a question, then anyone who goes on that page can vote, pro or against and in the comments section you can bring arguments (again, pro or against). To the question “Can Instagram make you depressed?” the answer is an overwhelming yes: 93% of the participants voting “yes”.
Come to think of it, these results are not surprising. However, Facebook is used as well to talk to people on Messenger, to keep in touch with all kinds of friends or family. The focus, in there, is on what you say as well, not only on what you look like. The whole concept of Instagram revolves around people’s desire to show off their achievements. Not only that, but the way the application is structured encourages us to always compare our lives, our bodies and our relationships with those of the people we follow. And this is extremely damaging because no one posts pictures of the crumbs that their lover made after eating chips in bed, but only with the fancy gifts or (what is meant to look like the) special moments in their lives.
When you go to your profile, next to your name is a little arrow and if you tap it, it shows you “similar” accounts to yours. I mean, it basically points out to you the people you should compare yourself with. Then, even if you say you’re using Instagram only to follow your friends and family, on the Explore page, you’re being showed everything they think you’re interested in seeing. Besides the fact that everyone is mad about likes and the number of followers, now it also presents you insights; meaning you can see how many people see your posts and out of them how many like it, because we were not frustrated and obsessed enough with the numbers next to our pictures.
I used to be governed by a great deal of frustration and envy, fed by Instagram. I looked at other bloggers and I swear that not just once I ended up crying from frustration because they received clothes or makeup from X company and I didn’t, because they traveled to all sorts of places for free and I didn’t or because they were invited to events and I wasn’t. I find it really hilarious when I think about how much I suffered because they had an “Instagrammable” house and I didn’t. And these are just superficial things, you can imagine how their perfect pictures fed my hatred towards my body that I was perceiving as disgusting because it did not come close to what an Instagrammable body looked like.
This article was featured in the November issue of Glamour Romania
All of these feelings, of course, were pushing me to do everything I could to make my life look perfect, so I wouldn’t be somehow lesser than the norm. Always happy, always wearing beautiful clothes, always in beautiful places, always as close to perfection. It’s just that I was not. On the contrary. The time in which on Instagram I seem to have had the most “glamorous” life is the time when I was the most unhappy and dissatisfied both with me as a person and with everything I had in my life.
It’s extremely easy to lie in a picture. A thought out angle makes us look better, a beautifully arranged corner gives the impression that we have a wonderful home and some romantic settings and some presents suggest the perfect relationship. Instagram for real life is like Hollywood’s romantic movies for relationships: a nice story that’s not really about reality.
We all have good days and bad days, we all cry sometimes (yes, yes, even the boys). It’s normal for you to suffer, it’s normal to argue with your lover or to eat canned food one night because you don’t have the money to have an elegant dinner in the city – it happens. And I think it’s important to talk about these things sometimes, as well.