The ‘success’-reel that is Social Media has been an ongoing topic (of complaints) for as long as Social Media have been a thing. The constant overflow of happy moments, with little (or no) attention to the failures, dark moments and ‘really seriously wrong’ things in the lives of those involved keep causing ruckus when it comes to our online intake. And I totally get that. All of it. Both the need to show off the successes, the good things and the happiness, AND the complaint that it’s stupid, unfair and unrealistic to do so.
It’s a mindset thing, obviously. One that, very paradoxically, we can’t really seem to pick a side in either. Because we’re taught to celebrate our successes. To revel in our wins. To be (overly) ambitious and to overachieve and and and. The rose-tinted glasses and the happy shiny sunny world are a big part of our personal path to paradise. But simultaneously we don’t think that we should be showy with these kinds of things. Simultaneously we think that people should be honest about how they got where, instead of just highlighting the end-results. It’s mindboggling really.
Take my LinkedIn feed, for instance. It’s generally got at least three posts on it from happy graduates describing their never-easy-path-to-that-diploma. Stories on how they battled the system, or themselves. On how they endured, persevered and struggled-but-overcame. Stories on how hard they worked, on how well they scored and on how proud they were. All’s great for them, obviously. In the end. Yet those victorious moments are very seldom enriched with the stories on how they also skipped school when they were younger, which is why they had to battle through three layers of education. They don’t detail how they fought their parents over not wanting to do homework. Or how they chose sorority parties over exam-crunching. They don’t show the frustration and tears over yet another failed exam. The corners cut, the C-sses that fill up the graduation sheets and the overall complete lack of reality in how-the-future-will look.
I take it all with a grain of salt.
Same goes for my Facebook feed. Man. It’s overflowing with weightloss or personal journey successes. Girls I know who lost 30kg in two years time (mad respect) and now look like shimmering happy stars in their own right. All the power to them. Yet their pretty-new-body pictures and cheerful power-posts and motivational speeches very rarely reflect the moments I personally KNOW they must have. The secret binges (and purges) when the crash diet just overwhelms. The tears when the scale AGAIN isn’t showing a decrease, even though you worked so hard. The moments in bed when you wonder why everything isn’t working out for you even when you’re doing everything right and the world is just horrible and you’re never going to reach that target goal and the fact that you’re even bothering is just insane so you just get out of bed and order a pizza cause fuck’all anyway. You know what I mean.
I take it all with a grain of salt.
Same goes for the happy parents showing off their precious new baby. With no mention of the bouts of anger and yet another period. The waterfalls of tears on yet another failed treatment. The intense horrors of a miscarriage, negative result or whatever-else-it-took to create that beautiful baby. Same goes for the loveydovey powercouples who got hitched in the most gorgeous locations, with the fanciest cakes and most beautiful dresses. No mentions of the nightly bitchfights and horrible inlaws. That one-time-we-cheated or the fact that they secretly feel that they’re just settling anyway.
Every journey to the top and every personal success has an ugly side. They’re all gritty in the down and dirty deep recessesses. The dark corners where failure and history and doubts and selfpity fester. And the fact that we don’t see them, that we’re not shown that they exist – doesn’t make their existence any less true.
Yet. I’ll admit. When people DO show their struggles. When they do get up close and personal, when they share all of their distress, and hardship and dark moments….I ALSO check out. I can’t take all of that. Shouldering all of those is a LOT harder when you know other people have had to endure them as well, and they’ll probably be in you future too.
Which is why one day I’ll resent the ones that showboat all of their successes. And the other day I’ll detest those who can’t get it done. Why I often find myself wishing I knew better, and sometimes I wish I didn’t know at all.
Because no matter what the topic – knowing that there’s a world outside your own personal bubble…that IS or ISN’T so much like your own…
Most often is not a comfort. It’s a weight that’s there. And honestly. I REALLY do want to lose some weight.
Wait. Maybe quitting Socials is just the simple solution here. HM!