Real Versus Ideal

Posted: Sep 19 2015

We can all admit that on social media we want to portray the best version of ourselves. Why wouldn’t we? We know we’ll have our friends, family and even haters scrolling through our pages at some point so of course we want them to see how happy and successful we are. But, where exactly does real meet ideal?

Recent studies show that social media usage that leads to envy is more than likely to lead to depression. When used sporadically social media is a convenient, entertaining tool. We get to see what all of our friends are up to, find our next holiday destinations, and make our wardrobe wish lists but where do we stop before we reach the envy engine?

Some say that we need others in order to define normality. Without others we couldn’t identify where we sit on the reality roller coaster. Are we hip or are we lacking the swag? Comparing ourselves to others is completely normal and even essential in bettering ourselves. Yet, we can’t help but forget, when on our stalking sprees, that these pages are only our friends (or foes) highlight reels. (And, we’ve all probably learnt by now that even our friends natural faces don’t look like the pictures they’ve posted on their Instagram accounts). It’s what they want us to see and it is their very best effort in capturing our attention.

Comparing ourselves to a carefully structured portrayal of someone is bound to do harm because that isn’t the real them. Society says that the ideal woman is an extroverted, size six, big bootied, perfect browed, white yet bronzed, fit food enthusiast and so we do our best to come off somewhat similar in our posts to get the nod of approval - the likes!

To be ‘liked’ is to be accepted and that’s all that anyone really wants. The question is do you want to put yourself out there and be accepted for what society has constructed you to be or do you want to be accepted for your individuality?

We seek to be accepted yet what are we being accepted for? Following the herd? Conforming to society? Sure! High fashion is a way to express our wealth and trendiness but unique fashion is a way to express our strength and self-acceptance. It takes more courage, and in return more respect, to showcase our individuality than it does following trends.

Social media is an excellent way to stay informed. We, as users, have to remember to use our critical thinking knowledge of deciphering between real and ideal. If we can determine a faux photo from a legit pic’ then we are less likely to get caught up in the envy engine. Leaving us feeling freer to take breaks from our phones when out to lunch with the girls instead of updating our next status and simply just be.

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