Instagram vs Reality (The Hidden Truth)

I hopped on another Zoom call with a couple of my girlfriends the other day (because that’s the way of 2020, right?) and we chatted about the usual topics- life, motherhood, kids (and E-learning), relationships & business. Really, we call it our “weekly check-ins.” This is how we offer each other support during this trying time.

During this call, I revealed some frustrations. I laughed about them at first, but soon tears replaced the giggles. This year has been hard, really hard. Somehow I sat there thinking that when this is all over, am I going to wish I did more? I haven’t really done much more than survive and keep my family going. I allowed negative self talk to creep in on me daily. I had thoughts running through my head constantly of all of the things that I “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing-

I “should” be recording modules for my next course.

I “should” be working out more.

I “should” be reading that book.

I “shouldn’t” be eating that.

I “should” be more supportive to my Facebook and Instagram communitites.

But as it turns out, I am, in fact, only human. I also needed time to process this stuff, too. As we were coming to an end of our Zoom call, one of my girlfriends tells me how she was watching someone on Instagram an how they are constantly posting story after story AFTER story. You know, living a life captured through those like dots-picture perfect. Immediately, my “Stop right there pep talk” came out. Maybe you’re like my friend and do this, too. You look at somebody’s Instagram and think, “Gosh, her life looks so simple. She must have tons of time on her hands. Must be nice.” Or maybe it’s, “Man, I wish my life was as beautiful as hers.”

Let me remind you of something; Instagram show cases perfection- filtered, perfection. You don’t see the messy, behind the scenes, unfiltered life stuff. You see the showcase because that’s what they want you to see. They want you to believe that tiny snapshot of their life is their constant reality. And that, my friend, is just not true.

After we wrapped up our call, I started to reflect on this these ideas of Instagrammable perfection. I want to challenge you all with this; before you look at her life on the ‘gram and quickly become sucked into comparison-itis, take two steps back and remember what you don’t see.

You don’t see her crying in the garage after a huge fight with her husband.

You don’t see her frustrated because her child won’t keep his mask on for the five minute trip into the grocery store.

You don’t see her ripping apart her closet out of frustration because for the first time in months, she decided she wanted to wear something besides yoga pants and things aren’t fitting quite right.

You aren’t seeing her kids battle her night after night to go to bed.

You aren’t seeing her weight herself daily, shame herself and put herself on yet, another diet.

You don’t see the guilt that she feels because she isn’t doing enough for those around her.

You don’t see the husband suddenly out of work and the family who fears not being able to afford to feed their kids.

You don’t see the mom who accidentally slipped another F-Bomb in front of her kids and the guilt that she wears after.

Whether you look at her with the critical eye of jealousy or the self-deprecating lens of comparison, we need to remember all of the parts that make her the human that she is-the love, the laughter, the fear, the anxiety, the beauty & the fire in her heart. I challenge you today to look at those you admire on social media and remember the real human behind the filter. There’s beauty and there’s mess and she wouldn’t be who she is without the whole story. Embrace her whole story without ever really being able to know her whole story. And remember what it really comes downs to, Instagram and social media are marketing tools and not documentaries or home movies.

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