Before I get started, I want to disclaim I am the proud owner of the iPhone app, a few iPad apps and actively post photos on Instagram.
A couple months ago I came across an incredibly honest post from Shauna Niequist that is starting to change the way I view a few things. Here’s how she opens things up:
Everyone’s life looks better on social media. And that’s the problem.
I don’t think I need to tell you how right she is — partly because I’m hoping you have the ability to look inward and admit your life on social media looks much better than your life not on social media. And then she goes on to say:
When you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, the majority of your friends probably aren’t doing anything any more special. But it only takes one friend at the Eiffel Tower to make you feel like a loser.
I think all of us are guilty of this in some fashion, and I’ll be the first one to admit it. I know for a fact there have been times where I’ve tried to find the right filter to make my photo look amazing.
Times when I went out of my way to snap the perfect shot, so I could share it with the world in hopes for a handful of “likes.” In the end, and when I’m truly honest with myself, there’s a reason that I’m doing this.
The Search for Significance
As a person who was clinically diagnosed with major depression years ago, and someone who shortly thereafter was admitted to a psychiatric facility and placed under suicide watch, I believe I have some credence here.
Back when all of this went down, I was heading in a tragic direction and sought out anything that resembled approval. I wanted to know others found value in me, and I was something special. It just mattered to me.
This all happened before the internet, but my longing to be significant was so deep it drove me down a path that nearly ended my life. Nowadays, this yearning we all have is amplified by the reach of social media.
Calling the Kettle Black
Before you pull the “hypocrisy” card on me, I’m going on record to say I will continue to post photos of my running trails and trips to Starbucks.
I believe most things in life are good in amounts of moderation.
For every Instagram I post looking for approval, I will post 5 to 10 more just because and without strings attached. In my eyes, they are just an extension of the things in life I love and want to share with you all. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
Life Without Filters
I will continue to share my photos, as I believe they help communicate what’s important to me. Perhaps I’ll post some photos with #nofilter just to stay true to myself and I hope you will do the same.
Maybe we can spend more time posting photos of our real lives, rather than our staged lives. Or when we’re crying, instead of smiling. Then we’ll be on our way to something.
In the end, I sincerely agree with Shauna when she says the very best things in life can’t be captured in status updates or filtered photography. Unfortunately, these are the things we don’t share often enough.