When I decided to write about this topic, I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a hypocrite. After all, I myself am guilty of unhealthy habits and failing to see things from a balanced perspective. But then I realised that it is only through an awareness of our own unhelpful behaviours that we can learn to navigate towards a more healthy way of living.
Being at University has taught me that we are all a product of the same social pressures. Whatever stress or negativity is weighing on you is probably weighing on someone else as well. It is easy to single yourself out as the abnormality, the person that doesn’t fit in, but once you come to terms with the fact that we all feel this way at some point in our lives, you should feel less like the outsider. Because the fact is that we are too often kinder to others than we are to ourselves. We look at others and see everything they have and we don’t- maybe its the job you’ve always wanted or the dreamy relationship or the wide social circle or the perfect- Instagram- worthy- figure. But the problem is that seeing is not knowing. We all want to convey the best possible versions of ourselves and sometimes this means glossing up our reality a little and evading honesty.
You may have read recently about the suicide of Sophie Gradon. The news was met with shock by most- how could someone with such a perfect lifestyle be so unhappy? Many referred to posts she had been writing on Twitter just days before her death, posts that seemed so cheerful and jokey and definitely not the type of thing that a suicidal girl would be posting. And yet, it happened. And it happened because social media is not reality, and the people we see and compare ourselves to are nothing more than caricatures.
We are all guilty of being too hard on ourselves, of worrying too much about things and of trying too hard to seek validation. Its easy to lose yourself to insecurities and overthink when you are trying too hard to become an image that doesn’t really exist. So this summer, spend a little less time on social media worrying about what you don’t have and spend a little more time getting to know yourself. Build upon your relationships with those around you and be honest with each other about your weaknesses and your worries. We all have them, and we all need to learn to be proud of them instead of falling into the matrix of social media.