Life Ain’t Instagram
I was sitting in my car getting ready to go into work, and did one last face check in my rearview mirror. I noticed I had a breakout right between my freshly-threaded eyebrows.
As an observer of my own thoughts, I noticed that they started to spiral downward surrounding this breakout.
“Why do I have to be breaking out,” “I just got my eyebrows done,” “My skin was doing so well…”
I stopped myself.
Why exactly did my thoughts go DOWNWARD about something so small and natural? Why exactly do I think skin has to be smooth as porcelain? Who’s skin is as smooth as porcelain 100% of the time? Where did I ever see that for it to become a standard I set for myself?
Oh… that’s right.
Instagram, FaceTune, Snapchat Filters — all of the lenses through which our younger generations view themselves the most train them to only perceive perfection in Actual Perfection and not in reality.
When you have a pimple, it feels larger than life. Somehow, a teeny tiny spec on your face feels like the moon caught a lift on your forehead. When you look around, it seems like you’re the only one.
Guess what? Everyone else has breakouts, too. Everyone else feels like they have the moon hitching a ride on their noses, cheeks, chins, and foreheads.
And guess what? Nobody is looking at yours. Nobody is even noticing yours.
Just as you are overwhelmingly concerned with how you look, everyone else is equally concerned about themselves.
It’s a humbling and freeing thought. Nobody cares about you!
For each perfect photo of a model-esque looking girl on Instagram, there is a full-fledged iPhone XR photoshoot behind it. Think about it: the more perfect someone’s life looks on social media, the crazier they had to look in the real world to achieve that perceived persona. That kind of perfection is not real.
We have women (and men) looking ridiculous in the real world to look cool in the virtual world. Don’t fall for it! Often times, people will layer on makeup to the point that it is flat out caked on and unattractive, but do so because it photographs well. Who cares about looking good in real life? That’s not gonna get me Likes!
Same with photos that portray perfect, seemingly unattainable bodies. Do you know how many photos it took to get that perfect, flattering angle? Would you go that hard in public to get a flattering photo of your backside?
If your answer is no, then you are on the right track. While Instagram and other social networking sites may make you feel like you’re missing out, remember that a photo says a thousand words — it’s not a simple, “oh, it’s just me, just-so-happening to look perfect while I chill on the beach in a bikini”.
It’s more like:
“Get my angles. Take one from down low. What if I arch my back? What if I twist to the side a little bit? Which way should I look? Should I smile or not? Should I show me teeth? Should I look away? Ooh, ooh, there’s a breeze — take it now, quick! Get my hair blowing in the wind.”
Keep in mind that these kind of scenarios happen IN PUBLIC. And don’t forget about the poor soul who wanted to hang out with their friend and now has become their unpaid photographer.
You may think, why doesn’t my Instagram look like that? Why don’t I look like that? Why don’t my photos ever turn out that nice?
The answer is because you, my love, are too real for that.
You, my love, aren’t concerned enough with putting up a fake persona for the world.
You, my love, care more about actually living.
Not pretending to live. Not sacrificing your true self and enjoyment of life for an attractive persona that will get you Likes.
If you cared enough, you would have photos like that. If you really wanted to center your day around getting the perfect Insta-worthy photo, you would.
But you don’t. Let’s keep it that way.
There’s nothing wrong with capturing a moment with friends. It’s great to have photos that you can look back on, but there’s a difference between utilizing photography to capture a moment that was already there, and creating a staged moment that is centered around a perfect photo.
Rather than focusing on what’s going on in your phone, practice mindfulness by infusing joy into your daily experiences. Nobody else needs to know.
This is living.
And next time you feel insecure; next time you have a break out, you missed a spot while shaving, your hair is a little messy, just remember:
Life ain’t Instagram.
Have a blessed day.