Faking it till I make it...
Let's state the obvious: social media is a highlight reel - snaps of friends laughing, beachy views, #neature shots, flat lays, you name it. It's a rare occurrence (if ever) to scroll past a photo capturing a breakdown, loneliness, lazy nights watching TV/reading/hanging out with your pet, crappy workouts, sickness and everything in between. Numerous studies show the (often) detrimental effects of social media on self esteem because of this highlight reel phenomenon. On a purely surface level, it can appear that you are the only person having a bad day and/or that you are the only one who is going through "real" life with all its ups and downs...and frankly boring moments. I'll wholeheartedly acknowledge I flip-flop on both sides of the spectrum - I often admittedly use my social media feeds as a highlight reel (with this blog or a caption to keep it real), but I simultaneously find myself comparing my life to others and having FOMO over things I would never have even been interested in in the first place!
Anyways, a few weeks ago, I was advised by a friend to avoid social media, especially posting and acting like everything was okay...when truthfully, I was having the worst anxiety, dealing with a hard breakup and still trying to manage my ongoing identity crisis about not being able to run or workout at the level and intensity I had become accustomed to. I agreed with the point, acknowledging it would not have been authentic or genuine (which is what I hope this blog is) to post about how happy I was or to totally skirt around my emotions.
So, I refrained for awhile (which is really difficult when your job title is Social Media & Content Strategist...). But, eventually, I returned to posting photos and blogs again. In the midst of distracting myself from heartbreak and hurt and anxiety and stress, I was throwing myself into new adventures, seeing friends on the daily and staying out of my apartment as much as possible. I wanted to share these adventures and memories with friends who lived across the country, so I began to post my personal highlights. I remained decently honest in my captions and my blog, but I refrained from sharing any photos of me mid-three-hour-cryfest on my bathroom floor, me in the thick of crippling panic attacks and me in the midst of some pretty dark and lonely thoughts.
My Facebook and Instagram truly began to become a highlight reel filled with snapshots of happiness and adventures and friendship during an ongoing period of grief and sadness. I had some inner conflict because I knew deep-down that my social media feeds were not, in fact, an accurate representation of my current state by any means and were a little misleading. But, in some weird way, this skewed representation helped (and currently still is helping). It's helping me fake it until I really make it.
I believe in the power of faking it until you make it - approach things with confidence and learn along the way. My social media feeds - and real life adventures and distractions - were helping me do just that. Somehow, seeing my highlight reel of shots and moments gave me the hope that I could feel happy and confident and fulfilled again. If I'm having a bad moment, it's been helpful for me to look at a photo of my friends and I or a hike I went on a few weeks ago and acknowledge that even in the dark times, there's light and joy. I'm capturing and saving the moments of happiness and joy and clarity for myself. Not to mention, it's helped me start to look for a positive in the situation - moments of beauty, like a sunset, a view, a smile. So, I will continue to fake it until I make it. I will get happy, life will return to normal. I'm approaching it with confidence...and figuring it out along the way.
So, maybe I'm shattering the illusion of what you see on social media. Maybe there's other people like me...who just need to see and save the good in their life to look back on.
For now, I'll fake it till I make it...