My curated life aka comparison is the thief of joy

Social media has not only changed our lives, but how we share our lives. With social media we have the innate desire to share the details of our lives from the minuscule to the major. From what we ate for breakfast and our #ootd to life changing events such a pregnancy, new jobs, moving, etc.

I have jokingly used the expression “It didn’t happen if you don’t post it on social media” but I think in many cases this could be considered #jokingnotjoking.

Gone are the days of tearing pictures out from magazines for inspiration boards and ideas, now we have Instagram and Pinterest to do. So many of us are constantly striving for something we don’t have or wanting to only show a small snapshot of our life and present it in a way that we think is pleasing to the masses. These days it is not uncommon for people to make a living through social media or rely on it heavily as a part of their business, and a large part of that is through giving a glimpse into their lives from their homes and décor, to their travels, clothing and family. Their lifestyle has now become their brand.

This recent article from the Vancouver Sun is a fascinating and fantastic examination of a curated life and how various women decide what to share and not share on social media as part of their lifestyle and brand.

However, the pressure to present a perfect image and a perfect life can become too much. Recently, a well-known social media “star” quit social media altogether, but not before revealing the truth behind her carefully curated “perfect” life and photos:

I spent hours watching perfect girls online, wishing I was them. Then when I was ‘one of them’ I still wasn’t happy, content or at peace with myself.”

I can imagine this is the case for many people on social media who live their life according to likes, shares and followers, but are too afraid and too entrenched to stop it. How many pictures did they take and how many filters did they apply before they felt they could post it?

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It can be hard to look at their blogs, instagrams, tweets, etc. and not start to covet what you don’t have or not begin to compare your life to theirs. These curated lives can make it look so easy and effortless. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and feel that we are not doing a good job or that we are not good enough. I think this is especially true for young girls and moms. We can forget to look at our lives and appreciate all the good we do have. We forget that there is no such thing as perfect, and these are only small glimpses and snapshots into someone’s life, not the whole picture. We must remember that to curate means to “to pull together, sift through, and select for presentation”. When it comes to social media, comparison truly is the thief of joy if we let it be.

Social media is about connecting us, and to connect we need to share. An important part of sharing is taking it at face value, and not assigning more meaning to them than necessary, and not letting it change the way we live our lives. Most importantly, we connect when we are honest and sharing the good, the bad and the ugly!

Everyone’s life is a mixture of happy and sad. Don’t let social media fool you.

Do you filter what you post on social media? Have you fallen into the comparison trap when it comes to your own life and social media?

2 thoughts on “My curated life aka comparison is the thief of joy

  1. Wow! I have been thinking a lot about the darker side of social media particularly around companies use of spokespeople and social media “celebrities”. I’ve been trying to reconcile the ideas that authenticity in social media is important with what I know to be true of corporate advertising, and what I wondered about in terms of how “authentic” these celebs can truly be.

    What’s more disturbing is that unlike a regulated industry where workers are protected at least by basic employement laws these young women are not, but clearly they’re doing a job.

    What I couldn’t help wondering when watching Essena was how did she get so isolated? It sounds like she started “working” on social media from 12 on. Where’s her Mum? Makes me sound old fashioned I am sure, and I’m not blaming but this is akin to celebrity star children with nobody protecting or helping them figure this out. In the television business ACTRA has very strong rules around child actors.

    Reputable brands should be wary and ethical in their dealings with these influencers and celebs. Child labor laws in our provinces list a whole lot of work environments and rules around when and how kids can work, social media doesn’t appear to respect them, but companies should!

  2. This post hit home as I’ve seen girls at my daughter’s dance studio sit on their breaks between classes taking selfies waiting for that perfect photo. Once the picture is perfect and the right filters have been applied, they have to wait for the right time to post it.

    What are these social media applications doing to our children. They are being brought up in a very different social experience. Outward appearance seems to be extremely important. This saddens me as I was raised to believe it’s what’s inside that counts. Now social media may be having a detrimental effect on our children’s self esteem.

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