Through our little 4.7-inch IPhone screens, we have real-time access into the lives of our peers. We are able to see their workout routines, what’s on today’s lunch menu, or a film reel of each insta-worthy moment during their Muskoka weekend.
This access can become very overwhelming. It is not fun to watch your ex partying on a beach while you are in sweats, reading a book. I also feel a hint of angst each time someone from home asks me if I even have a job, when their only recent contact with me has been through a curated feed of luxurious travel destinations. What they do not see is me subwaying straight to the office after a 7-hour red-eye flight or me stepping on a huge cockroach while washing my face on a Tuesday morning (yes, this happened).
Providing access can also become an addiction. I have recently been exposed to people who need to Instagram story every single life event, from when they pour their morning coffee to when they open a meaningful gift. By being associated with them, you begin to feel like a prop in their movie. Lines begin to blur between what is reality and what is posed. Validity becomes how many followers one has instead of what school they went to. Hard work is undermined, as a workout fean appears to have the same body as the girl who took a high-school Photoshop class.
Separating reality from what people want you to see is a challenge. It makes you go a bit crazy. If my boyfriend likes a photo of a girl in a bikini, does that mean he is more into her than me? My friends are all out to brunch and didn’t invite me, did I do something wrong? These are questions that no generation before has had to ask, and we have to remember this, as start to overwhelm ourselves with finding the answers.
We need to remember to live in reality and not become consumed by the facade. I am not perfect, I face this challenge and have no shame in admitting that I too become overwhelmed and consumed. I think the ultimate answer is to continue to build and nurture real-life relationships and to live in the moment through your eyes, not the lens of your phone camera. We need to not draw conclusions about a person’s life based on a their Instagram account. A person isn’t cool because they has 3k followers, they are cool based on his actions and how he decides to treat people. A person isn’t intelligent because she can Google a witty caption or a model because she can hire a photographer to take her picture. We all need to come back down to earth and stop comparing and analyzing the lives of others and just live our own.
Contributor: Victoria Menechella