Recently I have been thinking a lot about social media.
When I scroll through my feed on Facebook. Literally, everyone seems to be having an absolutely amazing time.
There are pictures and updates about amazing meals out, dream holidays, perfect families (and children that sleep at night!), new cars, awesome career moves – you get the picture.
I feel pressured sometimes when I read all of this – like I am not doing enough, that I don’t have enough, that I’m not good enough.
It doesn’t seem real though.
For example, are we seriously the only people to have children who insist on waking up at 4.30am every morning and the last decent night’s sleep we had seemed at least a year ago.
Also, when I cook dinner it does not look like it came straight out of Masterchef.
I think we all feel like this if we are honest. Like when you compare your real life to what you see on social media, that somehow you are just not hitting that mark.
I bet every single one of us has posted something to social media, when actually we were upset, worried, anxious, fed up or just having a rubbish time.
I once posted a picture of me and the family having an amazing time riding bikes at the park – it didn’t show the almighty argument I’d had with my other half only moments earlier.
The other week I posted a picture of my running time – a huge improvement on the month earlier. I didn’t post a picture of me eating five chocolate biscuits about two hours later and wiping out all the exercise I’d done earlier.
Maybe these are just small points I am making. But I bet I will do it again and again (the posting of perfection and the eating of chocolate biscuits).
Because I think we are becoming addicted to posting all this brilliant stuff in our lives and seeing all the likes and comments come flooding in. Who fancies being honest and saying “actually, things are not ok”.
So, finally, to my point. Through writing this blog I have met (yes, on Twitter) some brilliant people who talk about their own mental health to change the views about the stigma around this. Something I am doing as well.
The key thing I have noticed through this is that these people don’t just talk about their great accomplishments, but also their low points, their struggles, fears.
It has made me realise that it is ok not to be ok. In actual fact, it is more authentic and more realistic when you think about it. I also think it helps others to see that.
So when someone bravely posted on Twitter – “It’s very difficult to get the balance right when it comes to supporting others and making sure that you do not get triggered” – I felt a massive sense of relief. Because for ages I had felt terrible that, whilst blogging away, there was one person very close to me that I could not support with their mental health, because their behaviour would leave me trying to deal with my own anxiety problems. I felt ok about something, for a long time, I had felt was not ok.
Life will always throw problems at you – you don’t get any choice in that at all. It is simply a consequence of being alive and sits alongside all the opportunities that will come your way as well. Acknowledging, dealing and taking responsibility for problems, whether you caused them or not, is where you learn and grow the most (yes, you could make an inspirational picture / quote out of that!) – yet we continue to pretend and avoid.
So the next time you check your social media apps and think that just maybe you might be the only person who has problems and doesn’t have a perfect life – remember, whilst you might not want to tell the world (and that’s ok as well) – it is ok not to be ok.