I’ve always been an “Instagram whore,” someone who’s always present on Instagram, and it wasn’t ever because I was addicted to seeing what was going on in other people’s lives but because I wanted to gain inspiration from the many creatives I follow and thus share my own creativity. Social media in general is a great outlet for expressing one’s imagination and ideals, but it can also be a pretty treacherous terrain.
At some point, the distinction between inspiration and comparison disappeared and I found myself comparing frivolous things like my skin clarity and lifestyle to those of strangers on the internet. What I didn’t realize though, was that while I was scrolling through people’s Instagram profiles and thinking “damn, I wish I looked like that” or “their life seems perfect,” the same people were thinking that of my Instagram. And I say “my Instagram” instead of “me” because people on Instagram don’t know anything about me as a person. They might know that I’m into fashion and that I really endorse VSCO grain but beyond that, I’m a romanticized figure in their heads. And vice versa ! A lot of the time we strive to maintain some level of authenticity without realizing that we are all in a subconscious (or conscious) cycle of comparing ourselves to one another, which to be blunt, is stupid.
Of course it’s way easier said than done to not compare yourself to others, but my understanding of Instagram being a feed of digitized highlight reels makes it easier for me to recognize one’s beauty or art without comparing myself to them. All Instagram pages (even finstas) are curated to fit into an aesthetic so it only makes sense that users would want to put their best foot forward. Though we’re all doing it ourselves, we tend to forget that what is posted online is simply that, an online post. It may show off one’s talents and fond memories but it doesn’t show us the other side of life, a realistic side. Despite what one’s Instagram page may suggest, no one’s life is as picturesque as it may seem. We all get pimples and shit happens, but that’s just life. What isn’t life though, is the glamorized version of life we see online.