Social Media Envy – Facebook and Instagram can be dangerous places when you’re feeling under the weather, tired, stressed or overly sensitive. Checking in with our friends and acquaintances first thing in the morning, and then again every 20 minutes until you climb into bed has become the norm for many people, and as a result, we spend our days bombarded with images of our peers doing exciting things in exotic places, looking perfectly groomed and incredibly organised… and when you’re exhausted, wearing mis-matched pyjamas and waiting for your caffeine kick to hit, dreading opening your work emails for one reason or another, the impact of these carefully staged and choreographed images can be significant – and not in a good way.
Think about when you put something online; in the vast majority of cases, the image has been posed or staged, or is the best of a selection of pictures taken, and may have been cropped and filtered for aesthetic purposes. You post it because you are proud of something, or want to share an aspect of your day in a positive light. Particularly if you are posting to a business account, you want the image and text to convey success, experience and a wealth of knowledge. Few people use professional business social media accounts (or even their personal accounts) to give a ‘warts and all’ insight into their lives.
Take the image below – a picture of an outdoors business planning session…
I can GUARANTEE that this is not the norm. Why? Because I took it one morning when I was waiting for the local co-working space to open. The image suggests that I am well organised, neat and regularly take time out of my business to review and reflect on my business goals.
The reality? As I sat down with my coffee, I realised that the setting was ‘insta-worthy’. I had my notebook and pencil case in my laptop bag – both of which were birthday gifts and still in good condition compared to the rest of my stationery, which features well loved notepads that are torn, creased and often heavily sellotaped. In addition to this, despite the fact that my notepad and pens were out and poised for action, I didn’t actually use them during my coffee and pastry session… I didn’t even really think about work as I positioned the components of this picture, instead, I sat back, enjoyed the sunshine and proceeded to inhale my pastry and get crumbs and icing sugar all over my face, clothing and hair (though strangely decided not to visually document that!).
I know it’s easy to feel inadequate sometimes when everyone else’s social media feeds scream glamour, success and excitement. But think of me, covered in crumbs and pretending to work when you are struck with a pang of inadequacy. You are great as you are and are already doing wonderful things. Hang in there. This feeling will pass.