Social Media is without a doubt the blessing and the curse of the 21st century. As a positive it has opened us all up to a lot more, it is a huge factor in communication, creates jobs and opportunities, and connects us with people all over the world. I think those are all very positive things that have come from social media, but the negative is something that I would consider to be very concerning.
I was talking to my brother Dale and his girlfriend Leanne recently and we got on to the topic of mental health and how social media is a lot to blame for the increase and how it has triggered anxiety and mental health in people that may never have had to deal with it if it wasn’t for social media platforms. Before anyone thinks ‘oh here we go another group of analysers and diagnosers’ – no! Leanne is currently working her way towards a masters in Psychology, and my job history includes one on one counselling, my current job is analysing people on a face to face basis, and also on top of that my main focus in theory work while studying at RAM was character connection which involved extreme lengths of behavioural studies and understanding personality traits. So with all of that in mind it’s safe to say we were able to contribute to this topic with a reasonable amount of knowledge – and as for Dale well he held the phone up for Leanne to FaceTime me didn’t he!
I won’t bore ye with the details of the conversation but Leanne said after it that I should write about it from my perspective because it’s something that the majority of us thinks about or struggles with these days. I also have a fair amount of followers and readers so I should use the platform I have and not just show you pictures of my brunch and waffle on about what I’m doing when topics like this need to be covered. So with that in mind I have decided to write about it.
I don’t know about you but for me the first thing I do once my alarm goes off and I move on from my daily morning bitch fit is I reach for my phone and open Instagram. I scroll through all the lovely and perfectly filtered pictures of people faces, the presentation of their food, and the amazing travel adventures that are happening. Am I jealous – not exactly! But I have to fix my bed head hair and make myself look presentable, I probably won’t be having eggs Benedict for breakfast, and I am about to get on the tube to work not play in elephant sanctuaries. So its automatic subconscious comparison.
I’m guilty of this
I receive comments, messages, DM’s, and emails every day from followers and blog readers that are always so sweet and complimentary about how I look, how what I am doing looks amazing etc. I really appreciate the comments and how I have been so lucky to have so many people support me but I know myself that I am only posting on Instagram what I want you to see so therefore I am just as guilty for adding to this toxic pool of unrealistic expectations and standards. On my Instagram you will always see a perfect selfie with flawless make-up - you don’t see the other 10 I took. You will see a perfectly presented brunch/dinner at a central London restaurant - you don’t see a picture of me on route to a rehearsal after a quick dash to Sainsburys to grab something I can eat on the way. You will see a picture of me holding a coffee saying something like “oh I need this” while looking like I've never needed a caffeine hit in my life - you don’t see that I am complexly exhausted, have been tossing and turning all night, and am barely functioning that day. You will see cute candid pictures of me at home doing a face mask and captioning it ‘self love’ - you wont see how the face mask is needed because my skin is taking an impact from living in London or that I’m taking 20 mins to myself because 20 mins prior to this I was probably crying with stress. None of us show this side to our lives because why would we show that? You will always present the best version of yourself and show what you want to show which is understandable but with millions of people doing it at once and showing no sign of the flaws it is really having an affect on peoples mental health, confidence, and causing major insecurities.
Everyone has a next level they cant keep up with
It is just a fact that everyone has a level they just cant reach or realistically have the time to make it look that way. Like when my own friends say to me things like “omg I’m obsessed with you” or “I cant keep up with you” don’t think for a second that I don’t ever feel that way when I look at others. Believe me there are times when I look at pictures and think I would love to take a picture like that or how is he/she so flawless. Its not jealousy its just insecurity and the cold hard realisation that I probably wont ever look that level of perfect or invest the time into making it look like I am. What I am trying to say is that there is always going to be someone you are in awe of you and that person has someone they are in awe of.. it just continues on and on. What I will say though is if you are in awe of someone then say it, comment on it, and let them know because you have no idea what is going on behind that picture, and attacking someone or being bitter because of jealousy is not the way to go. It's about building each other up not tearing each other down. Most people set a standard they cant hit no matter how perfect things look - so be kind, applaud, and show your admiration.
The image I portray
Do I like nice things? Yes. Do I socialise in nice places and seek out the Boujee? Always. But that doesn’t mean I am living that level of luxury and lifestyle just because its on my Instagram? The first time I realised I was guilty of portraying an image and standard was earlier this year when I was attending my friends wedding back home in Ireland. The wedding was on in an area that I had never been to so I didn’t know who the make-up artists were in the area and had to put up a post for recommendations. I had a few people get in touch and the links I was sent were INSANE!! Instead of sending me a link to a local make-up artist or mobile beautician I was sent links to the make-up artists who work in high-end fashion and working in television! One of the links was a make-up artist to celebrities who cost just over 2000 to do make-up. That is when it hit me for the first time that this was the impression people got from me that for some reason they believed that I would want a high end MA to do my face and this was the standard or level I was setting. I know its complimentary in some way that people think that’s what I am like but its just not true! I really just wanted a MA to come and do my face for the normal amount of 50 or 60 pounds like everyone else does. FYI in the end I did my own make-up and hair that day.
This is a topic that we could all go on and on about from so many angles and take so many different things into consideration. Years ago the constant phrase was “she’s airbrushed in that magazine” and we all accepted it and moved on but because today we spend so much time looking at perfect people and perfect lives we forget that its all just easy access air brushing and choosing top content. So the next time you look at a perfect picture and do an inner sigh please bare in mind its just a picture and people are showing you the best version of themselves. Its not necessarily fake what they are showing you, like all my pictures are real its just that they have a filter (obvs), its me doing my daily things and sharing the highlights and highs as opposed to the lows and not so glamorous moments - its me choosing to show the best version of myself from a positive perspective but my pictures along with anyone else's are definitely not something anyone should use as a comparison or a standard.
Be a little more you, and a lot less them!
Stay Boujee xx