A while ago it was only the celebrities who faced the pressure of always looking at their best. Having the perfect body, the perfect makeup, the one of a kind dress and when the paparazzi managed to get a picture of them, they had to look flawless. They were an example to the masses and could not afford to be regular humans. Women would give birth and 3 months later be on the runway, men would present their six-pack on the front pages of the magazines and, of course, none of them would show any signs of aging. Pictures of their amazing looking houses, families or vacations would make the home viewers dream about how it would feel to be in their shows.
And then the era of social media emerged. Applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr etc. transformed regular people into public figures. Real-time access to strangers lives, receiving immediate feedback on the information we are sharing and the continuous competition with the other users is now happening on a daily basis. Although it comes with a lot of benefits: liberty of expressing yourself, easy access to information, ability to be on the track of anything that is happening around the world, it also comes with a price: the pressure of always wanting your life to look picture perfect FOR OTHERS TO SEE.
We want to be special, we want our body to be one-of-a-kind, our love life to be epic and, of course, we want others to see it. If it is not on social media, it doesn’t exist. But at what cost? What are we sacrificing for the perfect images? Are those images a reflection of our lives or just a well advertised fictional product?
Picture perfect only from outside
We create profiles to match the ideal form of our lives, we carefully pick the best-looking pictures to represent us, we share our thoughts just to let the others know how smart and funny we are, we present the expensive items we receive as gifts or that we purchase and we let everyone know that we are traveling the world. But are we really living the moment?
The best word to describe what social media does to us would be anxiety. Humans are social beings, we are programmed to seek the acceptance of the others, our survival used to depend on that. Nowadays, it is only the mental health that depends on it. So we make it our quest to look perfect in the eyes on the others.
We travel to a foreign country only to see it through our camera, we go out with friends only to stare at our phones all night, we go to rock concerts only to make “a live” for the not so lucky ones from home. We are taking a million pictures, just to get that perfect shot that we can share. We are stressed by the fact that we cannot find the best candidate to post, we stress about finding it and having to put it in the eyes of the world. We are stressing about the feedback that we receive. Even when the feedback is great and we get a new record of likes, we start stressing about the new record that we need to beat with our next post.
Look better rather than feel better
We are wearing uncomfortable outfits when we travel, just to look good. We are having surgeries to correct our flaws, in order to have the perfect selfies. We have our phone build in our hands all the time. We are paying for photo shoots and reality shows about us to feel like a celebrity, forgetting that it should be the other way around. We are reinventing ourselves online, only to be disappointed when we meet people like us in real life.
Feeling disappointed when others do not meet our expectations
Before meeting someone new, we stalk them on social media to find out “who they are”. We create a profile in our mind long before we actually meet them and we get disappointed when they don’t meet our expectation. We feel cheated when this happens and we start having trust issues, but we forget that we are not exactly the same as our profile describes us either.
Adulthood is hard enough even without the pressure of always looking perfect. We design our world to resemble high school even after we long graduated from college. The picture perfect moment cannot always be caught on camera, sometimes it just has to remain in our minds.
Don’t let perfection ruin beautiful moments, learn to enjoy the experience and use social media to share the moments with your real friends, not to brag about them to your followers. Let the others see who you truly are, no filters, no editing and also allow them to show you their real profile, you might enjoy it more than the carefully selected attributes.